Explainers

What Does a Movie Producer Do, Explained

June 24, 2018
5 min read

What do movie producers do?. I know it’s a simple question and a bit self-explanatory but I’ve often found that people struggle to provide a satisfactory answer. Let us take an example of a beast of a film known as ‘The Revenant‘ which was written and directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. As much as 19 different producers are credited for this epic Masterpiece including Mr. Alejandro himself.

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The Revenant was shot entirely on real locations.

What does this tell us? Does a movie requires more than one producer for its production?. The answer to that question is: it depends. But in almost all films you will find more than one producer on movie credits. Film making is a massive task and to manage the scale and scope of it all, you require many people who are managing and overseeing the various tasks such as Casting, Screenplay, Marketing, distribution, etc . These people are collectively known as Producers.

Have you ever wondered while watching the Academy Awards that the people receiving the award for the best picture are the producers of the film, not the director or any other member of the cast.

Let’s do something old-fashioned and try to find the term “Movie Producers” in a Dictionary . “A Movie producer is someone who oversees the production of a movie, they could be independent or appointed by a Large production house ”. Well, that doesn’t really explain anything, does it? . Let’s first look at various types of titles credited for a film’s production work.

Producer: Someone who manages the entire pre-production(hiring of the entire cast and crew), production (filming), and postproduction (editing and marketing) of a movie. He or she is the shepherd who watches over the entire production of the film.

Executive Producer: Someone who provides at least 25% of the film’s budget and may or may not be involved with entire production of the film.

Co-producer: Someone who is appointed by the producer for providing help in the production of the film. A co-producer manages separate parts of a film production since the entire production would be difficult to manage for a single person.

Associate producer: Associate producer is an honorary credit given to someone who provides assistance with casting, screenplay improvement etc.

Types of producers

As far as I’m concerned there are two types of producers a Business Producer and a Creative Producer. Business producers work on collecting money, marketing, and the distribution of the film. Whereas Creative Producers work on the script, casting, and are generally more involved with the story of the film. They focus on ‘What the Audiences will be watching’. Although a lot of producers will tell you that they can handle both. Well, “modesty” isn’t exactly the adjective often used to describe a Producer.

What do they actually do?

Producers are the one who sees the entire production from Script to Screen. In some cases, a producer could be the one who reads a certain screenplay written by someone else and then appoints a director and other cast member for the production. Or in some cases, a director may reach out to a producer for producing the movie.

In layman’s terms, Producers are the boss on set. They can hire people they like or fire them if they don’t. Once the movie is completed the producers can have it edited in any way they want. They have the last word when it comes to the distribution rights, music, editing any scenes they want. It’s their product to sell now and a producer often appoints a marketing team so that it reaches its target audiences. Producer work doesn’t finish after the movie is released but it stretches to distribution, TV and CD rights.

Famous Producers working today

In case of Large Production houses, things are a little more tricky but the entire process works in a similar manner. It’s often the Head of the production house who manages the entire production, for example, Kevin Feige who is the President of Marvels Studios himself produced many of the Marvel films including the highly successful ‘Avengers Infinity War‘.

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Kevin Feige has produced a large portion of Marvel Movies including Ant man ,Guardians of the Galaxy and many others.

There are a large number of actors who have become very successful film producers. Ben Affleck produced ‘Argo’ and won an Oscar when it was declared the best film of 2012. Tom Hanks has produced movies like ‘Cast away’ and ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’. George Clooney also has many production credit to his name including the critically acclaimed ‘Gravity

Film directors such as Christopher Nolan often produced their own movies. Example, With ‘Interstellar‘ Chris Nolan not only wrote and directed the film but also produced the entire movie along with his wife Emma Thomas.

Some of the other major producers working today are Ron Howard ‘A Beautiful Mind’, Michael Bay ‘Transformers ‘ and Dana Brunetti ‘The Social Network‘ and ‘Captain Phillips’.

Read More: How Are Best Picture Winners Selected, Explained

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