What is an Executive Producer?

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  • Originally Written By: R. Kayne
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2019
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In most cases, an executive producer is someone who has either personally funded or arranged the funding for a motion picture, television show, or musical album. Executive producers, sometimes just called EPs, are usually different from regular producers who often have a more hands-on role in creating the end product. Executives typically see the film, show, or album as in investment, and most of their actions and decisions are driven by the desire to protect it and ensure its profitability. Though some executive producers have extensive artistic experience, others are in the business purely for financial reasons and may have no recording or on-camera expertise whatsoever.

Funding Responsibility

The main role of any EP is to foot the bill for a given project. Most movie, television, and music productions are very costly, at least at the outset. The EP essentially acts as a financial backer, investing in the creative team upfront with the expectation that the overall product will make a profit. Executives usually stand to collect a significant share of any profits that are earned, though the specific amounts often depend on how the parties drew up their original contracts.


A person need not be personally financially responsible in order to claim EP status, and in many cases he or she simply acts as a representative for a larger company or entity that is actually making payments. In some cases, a person can be given EP status on account of fundraising activities. This is often the case when an actor of featured artist is named as the executive producer of one of his or her own projects — this does not usually mean that the project was self-financed, but rather that the artist in question was responsible for raising the funds and convincing others to invest.

Oversight and Direction

On a film set, the EP’s main job is usually to ensure that the project is proceeding according to schedule. The executive rarely has any control over how a movie is actually being executed, but he or she does have an interest in any changes to the script or plot that may have an effect on the film’s marketability. The executive usually engages directors and producers in regular dialogue to ensure that the investment is being properly managed.

Writing and Scripting Duties

Executive producers may have more of a hands-on role when it comes to television work. As in film, the title is often given to those who provide or procure the basic funding — but it may also apply to the person who bears the most of the writing and scripting responsibilities. In some settings, this person is referred to as a “head writer”; modern television production tends to assign an executive producer title to this position today, though. As such, it is not uncommon to see two or three names listed as TV show EPs, though it is fair to assume that each may have slightly different responsibilities.

Nuances for Musical Albums

In music, particularly for small releases or new artist albums, an executive producer may also act as a director. He or she often funds, oversees, and even arranges albums or musical collections. This person often represents the entire business side of the album production process, often even going so far as to negotiate marketing and sales pitches.

Required Experience

Executive producers who are also writers or album managers usually have to have a lot of experience in their chosen field in order to find success. This is not usually the case when it comes to films, though. In the movie making business, access to funding and business savvy enough to negotiate and represent financial interest is usually all that is required.


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Post 7

An executive producer means different things on different projects. An executive producer on a film is very different from one on a TV show.

In movies, an executive producer is responsible for financing the production of a film - this does not necessarily mean they invest their own money. Usually, they find and negotiate the funding from one or more investors. This can be why you see a movie star credited this way, because they've helped convince investors to fund the film.

There is no set percentage or fee for an executive producer; it's up to all the parties involved (executive producer, other producers, any investors, etc.) to negotiate a rate before any work is done.

If the executive producer successfully

raises all the investment and the film goes into production and is distributed, the executive producer (along with most of the above-the-line team and investors) participate (i.e. receive) any profits.

If the film does not make any money, nobody owes anyone anything. Usually a production company or LLC is formed in order to protect any and all assets and people involved in the production of the film.

So if I were making "Godfather 4," I would form a company with the other producers and investors called Godfather 4, LLC. And all profits and losses would be through that company. Nobody would 'owe' anybody anything. If Godfather 4 doesn't make any money, then the investment is considered a loss.

Post 6

how much is the executive producer paid? What percentage of the budget does the executive producer receive?

Post 5

My understanding is that sometimes an actor will be given an "Executive Producer" credit not because they contributed money but rather because they spend their free time on the set and help oversee production even when their character isn't in the scene.

For example Kiefer Sutherland on 24 and Richard Dean Anderson on Stargate SG-1 have both received Exective Producer credits, but I don't think either of them has financially backed the show they're on.

Post 4

I want to know what happens if a film don't sell. Does the producer owe the executive producers or is both their loss?

Post 3

I am new in this industry but given the title "Executive Producer" would carry I think, the same responsibilities as a "Music Producer". The "Music Producer" is responsible for gathering the musicians and charting all materials for the recording session along with scheduling the studio time. In my mind it only stand to reason that the Executive Producer is one who would act as a broker if you will, producing the monies needed to get the project completed and marketed, through pooling investors together. The fee of the Executive Producer varies per project.

Post 2

What percentage of the budget is the Executive Producer fee ?

Post 1

how much is the executive producer paid ie what percentage of the budget does the executive producer receive?

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