This is my research file for my third year studying Film production (B.A Hons) at UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire). It details the ins and out of what a producer is, what disciplines and strengths they just have, what roles they undertake and the different journeys from the accounts of different film producers in the industry, both high and low, and how they themselves entered the industry. It also explores their differentiating opinions on what a producer is and what it takes to be a successful producer. As well as contacting various producers, i am also using secondary research sources too assist in my research, including videos, articles and books. This blog will also feature my personal experiences working in a production role, and what challenges i faced when working in such a demanding and crucial role and why i have decided to pursue a career working as a film producer. This blog will also feature my personal experiences working in a production role, and what challenges i faced when working in such a demanding and crucial role and why i have decided to pursue a career working as a film producer.
- What does a producer do?
- What traits should a producer have?
What does a Producer do?
A film Producer is a highly logistical and very demanding job role to go for the in the film industry and can be the backbone or the downfall of any production and it is therefor crucial to always ensure that any team has a good producer with plenty of experience and motivation to the project. A good producer should be able to work around the problems and find solutions to any logistical issue that may arise towards the pre-production stages, and throughout the production into the post and edit. A film producers roles are ten fold right the way through the production. These responsibilities include:
- Managing budget + expenses- Controlling how much budget is dedicated to which department and making sure the production does not fall over budget which is the killing blow for a film. A good producer should secure enough funding and have a suitable expenses plan in place for the shoot.
- Working closely with directors and crew-Being able to effectively and clearly liaison with your crew is crucial. Bouncing ideas off one another, learning from each others strengths and being able to work effectively regardless of you personal relationships is important. Obviously, maintaining a healthy professional working relationship shows the ability to act and work professionally even if you do not necessarily like those you're working with as a person. It also keeps crew and others in a loop so that no detail is missed and clarity is gained. This is important between the producers, directors, camera light and sound departments as they will need to ensure they communicate everything clearly to one another.
- Handling recruitment- Employing the right crew is critical. The recruitment process needs to be focused on and not rushed into as hiring the right crew for the right roles will also make or break a film. Primarily the central roles like Directors, DP's (Directors of Photography), Editors and so forth have to be recruited based on their merits, and their experience with film. There is no room for dead weight on a set where your professional image and the success of your film are dependent on its effective running.
- Scheduling and general time management- Obviously scheduling and time organisation should be a primary focus. A good producers has schedules done for actors and crew in the form of call sheets which should be thoroughly detailed with a step by step breakdown of each shooting day that includes, times, location, duration of each scene, transport details and so forth. It needs to be water tight.
- Resource organisation-ensuring that each department has what they need. Props and Production design have their props, cars have their fuel, crew have their necessaries. Typically, depending on the size of the shoot, most departments will source their resources accordingly but the producer needs to keep a tab on it and ensure that their jobs are being done and they have the appropriate budgeting for this.
- Rights securing for content ( audio, stock footage etc)-another big thing in the media industry in particular, is securing rights to content. Whether it be audio, soundtracks, book to screen adaptations etc, the producer needs to ensure that they have full rights to whatever they want to source that is not theirs. If they do not, the run into issues with copyright and it can lead to court, fines or heavier consequences. A producer can secure rights through contacting the source of the content directly and ensuring they have written consent in a release form or contract that states they have full use of the content. according to "www.wipo.int" these process's are often time staking and complex as there is a lot of red tape to cut through.
- Securing Locations-most productions have location managers to handle the heavier details of location securing but the producer should play a big part in the actual communication with locations and the managers in charge of securing them. Location release forms need to be sent out to the property owners and a full crew address of the do's and do nots are a must. You are under the property owners roofs and you are liable for any damage or destruction done to their property. Ensuring that the crew are fully proper on the fire exits, "wet area" (Food and drink and general lounge area) is identified. Also producers should ensure that health and safety assessments are filled out and given to the unit managers and location managers. In order to show the sincerity, professionalism and dedication of the shoot the occupant or the lease owner should have full details about whats being shot, what rooms or areas required, the duration of the shoot and an agreed fee. All this can be covered in a single form and is shown via this template: