In this article, I will share with you what a movie producer is and what their job role might involve. Plus how to become a movie producer, with tips on starting out and getting hired.
It is said that if the producer makes detailed, well-prepared work in the pre-production stage, the film days are a party for them.
What Is A Movie Producer?
A movie producer is a person who oversees a movie production. The producer is hired by either a production company or works independently. They will plan and coordinate multiple aspects of the production. This includes arguably the most important task of hiring the director, choosing the script, arranging to finance and much much more.
How Do I Become A Movie Producer?
Like the sound of the job role and thinking, ‘I want to be a movie producer’. There isn’t really one straight path to becoming a film producer. As with many roles in the film industry, working your way up is often the easiest way. Not to say that it’s easy! Getting yourself onto a film set is one of the best things you can do. You meet industry professionals, you’re around these people daily even if you’re working as a runner. Having your hard work recognised can be a great way to work your way up in the ranks.
As well as great experience working in different roles, it is great for building your contacts. It’s not always what you know, but who you know!
Get Experience in Film or Theater in High School
To excel in this industry, having experience is crucial, and producers must possess knowledge of all aspects of film production. Taking drama, film, and theatre classes in high school and working in film or theatre at the community or high school level, preferably as an actor, writer, or producer, is advisable.
Find a School of Filmmaking
When in high school, search for a bachelor’s program in film or cinema, preferably one that teaches film history, production, cinematography, storytelling, screenwriting, and editing. The College Board lists all colleges offering film production majors, while The Hollywood Reporter has a list of top 25 film schools. Apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA and state grant applications if available.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s program in film production or a related field equips you with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to perform all professional functions of filmmaking, including the use of tools such as cameras and film editing software. Completion of internships or fieldwork is often a requirement, with schools in areas of high demand for filmmakers being more likely to provide such opportunities. Students in areas without a concentration of filmmaking opportunities may have to seek internships or fieldwork elsewhere.
Gain Experience – How to become a movie producer
Getting a job as a producer right after college is unlikely due to the industry’s preference for experienced candidates. To gain experience, one can look for internships and entry-level positions such as film editors, actors, cinematographers, production assistants, and camera operators. It’s important to find niches within the field that offer opportunities to learn and earn good pay. Gaining industry experience in lower-level positions is the usual path towards becoming a competent film producer.
Complete a Graduate School Program (optional)
While not required, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree or graduate certificate in theatre or film production can offer valuable knowledge and expertise for your career. A film production master’s program covers both the creative and financial aspects of producing films, and may include courses such as commercial production, advanced script editing, and documentary production.
Alternative paths – How to become a movie producer
Film producers can come from a variety of educational backgrounds, including business, non-profit management, arts management, writing, journalism, acting, or communications. While these degrees provide some training relevant to producing, practical experience through internships and mentorship is essential for success in the industry.
Types of producer jobs
Film production includes movies, documentaries, commercials, and live performances. There are different types of producers, such as head, executive, associate, line, visual effects, and co-producers, each with their own responsibilities.
The producer wears various hats during the course of a film’s completion. Overall, a film producer can have two essential duties:
Long before pre-production can start, logically there is something which needs producing!
It’s up to the producer to find and discover a story worth committing to. Whether in the form of an original screenplay, a novel for adaptation, or even a life story from an interesting subject.
It isn’t as simple as just reading a book, and then wanting to create a film of it.
A film producer needs to initiate negotiations with whoever is liable for the source material. With an aim to attain the rights on their terms.
Financing– How to become a movie producer
When the film rights have been bought, managing financials doesn’t stop there.
Producers need to pitch the movie to studios in order to secure finance. They also need to manage these finances throughout the production to ensure everything is delivered on time and within budget. Even once the movie has wrapped the producer has to consider the distribution of the product.
Tips For Getting Hired
One of the easiest ways to start in the movie producer path is to work as a runner, and then move into the assistant producer role. Do your best work and show your abilities with the crew, let your work speak for itself.
Once you start working as a production assistant you will be learning from your production manager and line producers. Once the time comes and you are ready, surely you will move to the next level. Every production is different, and some of them have all the roles covered. Some others are small productions and not have specified each production role if you see a chance show that you can do it and let them know you can help.
Best Ways To Start And Get Into The Movie Producer Role
- Networking: Attend local events and introduce yourself to companies and people who are working in film. They may have an opportunity for you to work on their film productions. It is also important to attend film festivals. Many of them offer film market events where you can show your projects and screenplays to potential producers.
- Collaborate and invest in low-budget films: Ok, I know that investing sounds shocking when you are starting your career, but you don’t necessarily have to invest money. If you have some gear like a good camera, lighting equipment, audio or any other you can offer to make a kind contribution by offering the gear to an independent film. When you invest or collaborate in this way you may have a credit as an executive producer, or you can negotiate to participate creatively.
- Showcase yourself: If you have the ability to write, or have some colleagues with screenplay work you can start by producing those films. There can be short films, documentaries, mini-series, music videos or other. The important thing is to practice your abilities as a producer. Build a portfolio that you can show to production companies to get hired.
- Prepare folders and documents: One of the things I have been doing lately with my screenwriting group is to prepare all the production documents that a film production needs. For example; budgeting, financial scheme, director’s vision, one-pager, etc. We work on all the necessary documents that we need to apply for film grants and to present movie productions to possible investors. That way you start working as a movie producer yourself.
How To Be A Successful Film Producer
Now you know how to get your first job as a producer. The question now is, how to be a successful film producer?
A successful film producer is a great listener. You have to develop the ability to listen very carefully to every need of the crew, the creative needs of the director and the needs of the actors. This is so that you can come up with the best solutions that make everyone feel comfortable and achieve the director’s vision.
Also, you will need to gain negotiation abilities. Salespersons or people who have worked on client attention are great with these skills. If you have never done something like this try talking to someone with this profile or read some negotiation books. Producers are in charge of selling an idea, a movie, you must know how to convince an executive or investor to put their money on the film you want to produce.
In Your Own Time…
Take a look at some behind-the-scenes videos, there you will find what the struggles of making a movie have been, how the producer has solved it and get a general idea of the things you have to be prepared for and how to fix them.
Read the production annuary of your country or the ones that have co-production arrangements with yours. Analyze which kind of movies are being produced. Take a look at the award-winning movies, and investigate how they are financed and their box office to know if the movie you want to produce will have good revenue and acceptance.
Write or look for screenplays that can be low-budget movies and look forward to producing them yourself with a small crew. This kind of work gives you the experience and also the opportunity to do things your way. It helps you learn to produce in a safe space with a crew that you trust.
There’s No One-Way Path To Become A Film Producer
There’s no one way to become a successful film producer. You can use this advice to have better possibilities of producing successful films and getting hired as a movie producer.
Remember everyone starts small, and every experience is a great opportunity to make connections that lead you to other film productions.
Don´t forget to take a look at the best movie franchises to understand what kind of movies the public adores and have become classics.