What is a Producer?

Mary McMahon

A producer is someone who works to create the conditions required to make a film or television series. Producers are typically involved in a production from the early development stages through to the completion, and their roles in a production vary, depending on the industry and how the production crew is structured. Producers are extremely important in the filmmaking hierarchy, and a number have become notable in their own right, thanks to their efforts on major films or on behalf of major studios.

Producers oversee the making of movies and TV shows.
Producers oversee the making of movies and TV shows.

Producers are often heavily involved in the finances of the projects they work on. They are responsible for securing funding and managing the finances. As a result, producers are typically included in major hiring and firing decisions, and they may pick out some of the personnel who work on the production, ensuring that the production has the desired cast and crew.

The 1959 classic "Some Like it Hot" was written, directed, and produced by Billy Wilder.
The 1959 classic "Some Like it Hot" was written, directed, and produced by Billy Wilder.

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Many producers participate in the day to day operations of the production, especially in the case of line producers, who actually supervise daily operations and manage budgets. After the director, the producer is a crucial part of the artistic team, making decisions about the ultimate look and feel of the piece. At times, relationships between directors and producers can become strained, especially when they come into creative conflict.

Executive producer credits are often given to major sources of funding, studio heads, or creators of the production. Associate and assistant producers report to either the executive producer or the producer, helping to manage the myriad tasks involved in production, from arranging screenings to organizing contracts. Many producers like to establish good working relationships with key members of their support staff, taking them from production to production to create a familiar and efficient work environment.

Sometimes, actors join in on producing a piece, to retain more creative control and to explore the world of production along with the world of acting. Producers may also be writers or creators, especially in the world of television. In these instances, the work of a producer can be extremely complex, as he or she will have producing duties in addition to creative duties, and assistants may be crucial to ensure that the producer does not become overloaded with work.

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