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Film producers

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Film producers

Film producers prepare and then supervise the making of a film before presenting the product to a financing entity or a film distributor.[1] They might be employed by a film studio or be independent, yet either way they helm the creative people as well as the accounting personnel.[2][3][4][5]

Responsibilities

Film rights

During the "discovery stage" the producer has to find and acknowledge promising material.[6] Often a producer must then retrieve the film rights or an option.[7] If the rights owner is worried about preserving the integrity, voice and vision of his/her work, the producer might have to comply with a variety of demands concerning the screenplay, the film director, the casts or other topics. [8] Thus it takes occasionally a lot of time and effort before the actual pre-production can begin. Late German producer Bernd Eichinger is said to have worked 15 years on convincing novelist Patrick Süskind just to agree to a film adaptation of his book Perfume.[9] However, sometimes all effort is futile. J. D. Salinger, for example, refused all film producers as long as he lived.[10]

Pre-production

Unless the film is supposed to be based on an original script, the producer has to find an appropriate screenwriter.[11][12] If an existing script is considered flawed, they are able to order a new version or make the decision to hire a script doctor.[13] [14] [15] The producer also has the final say on which film director gets hired.[16] [17] They also have the last word when it comes to casting questions. [18]

Production

Producers can't always personally supervise all parts of their production. The reasons are many. For example some producers run a company which also deals with film distribution. [19] [20] Also cast and film crew often work at different times and places and certain films even require a second unit. Consequently it is normal that the main producer will appoint executive producers, line producers or unit production managers who represent the main producer's interests. [21] The executive producer for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was George Lucas himself, the creator of the Star Wars Universe. [22]
Whether the person credited as "producer" or a person credited as "executive producer" has more input on a production is not always clear and is subject to change as the film is substantiated. Since filmmaking is a dynamic process, responsibilities can grow or shift in the process and to-be credits for producers can get adjusted retroactively. For example somebody hired as "line producer" might later be credited as "executive producer".
Because of these dynamics it is imperative that all involved producers agree on production standards right from the start. It is said that negligence in that matter can lead to a domino effect. [23]

Post-production

Among other things the producer has the last word on whether sounds or music have to be changed or scenes have to be looped. Even if the shooting has officially been finished, the producers can still demand that additional scenes be filmed. In case of a negative test screening producers might even demand and get an alternative film ending. This happened for example with First Blood. [24] Producers are also in charge of selling the film or arranging distribution rights.

Becoming a film producer

From the first draft script, through all stages of production, to the final dub, success or failure rests largely in the hands of the producer. Experience in this field does not come overnight. Rather it is born out of long years of creative and technical know-how, and above all a love for the job and all that goes with it, together with the ability to choose the right talent with which to surround himself.
 
Julian Wintle, [25]

There are different ways to become a film producer. Stanley Kramer started as editor and writer.[26] Other producers started as actor or director.

Film schools offer degree courses that include film production knowledge.[27] [28] Some courses are especially designed for future film producers, focusing on key topics like pitching, script development, script assessment, shooting schedule design and budgeting.[29] [30] [6] [3] The students can also expect practical training in regards to post-production..[31]

On the occasion of announcing his own film school "

PGA

In November 2012, three studios: Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures plus Screen Gems joined DreamWorks Animation and the Weinstein Company in Producers Guild of America certification program which designates those producers that request it "p.g.a." after their name if a genuine producer.[21]

Notes and references

External links

  • The film producer as a creative force (Widescreen Journal)

Further reading

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