What is a Film Producer?

Sheri Cyprus

A film producer is generally involved in a movie right from its beginning, as it's often he or she who initiates the project. Film producers may get an idea for a movie from a book and then find a scriptwriter to write the motion picture script. The producer may work with the director in choosing movie ideas as well as in hiring the scriptwriter, cast and crew. Movie producers are filmmakers who must be focused on getting sufficient financing as well as on distributing the finished feature to theaters. Basically, a film producer makes the finished movie happen by taking care of the details behind the scenes.

Film producers rarely need to be on set while a movie is being filmed.
Film producers rarely need to be on set while a movie is being filmed.

Although film producers oversee the production of a movie, they aren't involved in the day to day interaction with cast and crew like the director is. Movie producers don't work primarily on the front line. Rather, a line producer usually reports to them and interacts with the cast or crew on their behalf. Line producers may handle contracts, budgets and schedules as well as make sure that the actors arrive for filming.

Film producers are not as involved in daily production duties as their television counterparts.
Film producers are not as involved in daily production duties as their television counterparts.

Executive producers are mostly responsible for the financing of a film. An associate producer may help with research or scheduling. On many films, a wide range of assistant or co-producers work under the main film producer. The main producer of a movie provides leadership of the film project and must convince people that the idea is worth following through on in order to create a finished motion picture.

A film producer must be an excellent problem solver and give his or her attention to problems that may occur in many different areas of the movie project. The producer doesn't usually appear on set during filming unless the director needs him or her. The film producer holds meetings with production staff and meets with people outside the company such as distributors that will get the finished movie to theaters. Producers approve advertising campaigns for print ads and film posters as well as television commercials to promote the film's release.

Film producer training courses teach movie marketing, how to locate funding sources and what qualities to look for in a script. Producer training also usually focuses on the insurance and legal issues involved in film making. Those interested in becoming a movie producer should take film training as well as learn to network and form good business relationships in the movie business.

Film producers oversee the distribution of movies into theaters.
Film producers oversee the distribution of movies into theaters.

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Discussion Comments


The problem with the perception of film producers and their role in film producing companies is that they vary quite a lot in what individuals actually bring to the table.

The best film producers I have ever met are in fact the great motivators. Sure, some people think that the producers are just the people with cash but that is just not true.

I have met many great producers that did not become film producers simply by having money to throw at a project. The great film producers are the individuals that can kick a door down that stands in the way of finishing a project.


Film producing has been a past time of mine for a very long time. Even when I was a child in the 1950's I longed to be someone who could make the movies happen. Their absolute allure and the Southern California fantasy of being in Hollywood took over my senses and changed my life forever.

I would encourage anyone who might be slightly interested to look into how they can become a film producer. If you love the cinema and can't stop quoting your famous actors then maybe it is for you. While talent will act and photographers will film, there needs to be a backbone to these projects and a motivating force that will drive the group of talented individuals into a full fledged movie production group.


@ronburg44, I think that you are correct in your analysis of what a film producer actually does on set. The truth is that for many independent film producers, there is a need at every level of making a movie for them.

A good example of this is when I was working on a project recently and as casual talk goes, I started up a conversation with the man who was catering the food and actually cooking it on set for the cast and crew.

To my surprise, this man was actually the executive and main producer of the project. It was amazing to me that there he was, elbow deep in BBQ sauace and cooking up some tasty food, that he was in fact a very rich person and solely responsible for making it happen.

He needed a caterer for the food service and he decided to do it himself. I have to give it up for the man and say that a film producers job description is far from defined.


I think that the term "film producer" as described in this article is actually a very big word that Hollywood has actually created in their system of making movies.

Many independent film makers actually create films and features without any specifically defined role such as film producer. Movie makers on different levels have to utilize any possible means that they can in order to get a finished project.

This means that often the person who is considered a "film producer" is actually wearing many different hats in the film production process.


This is a good description of the many hats a film producer must wear. An experienced movie producer creates detailed and accurate movie budget for other film professionals.

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