Thursday, September 11, 2014

Producing for Dummies

I'd like to state for the record that producing is not actually for dummies. Nor is this an attack on you, Diana. If anything, the dummy in this situation is me. I found myself sitting in my room this afternoon, and the question popped into my head: "What exactly do movie producers do?" So, I did my research and actually found that it's a whole lot more than what I originally thought.

A producer's job begins in preproduction. Psh, I knew that. What I didn't know is that the producer is the person who pretty much gets the project off the ground. First, he (or she, of course) needs to find material for his next project from either a script or a book. Then he needs to get a script in good enough shape to attract the attention of a possible director (and even a studio if a studio wasn't the one who started the project). After that, the producer's job in preproduction is pretty much done. HAH! Yeah, right.

Once the producer has a workable script and a choice of director, all he needs to do is secure financing for the film, choose a director and other members of the creative team, work with the director to cast actors, determine shooting locations and budget, decide on a cinematographer, hire the rest of the production team (including other producers), develop a shooting schedule, and create a detailed plan of action for the entirety of production. PHEW! That's one demanding job! Oh wait, the producer isn't even close to being done.

Time to begin shooting! Now it comes to the actual production; the fun part! Or at least it's fun for some people. Sorry, producer, you're on the clock. Production is when the producer offers creative suggestions to the director, handles any and all problems with the actors and creative staff, monitors the production timetable and budget, and reviews the film shot each day. Essentially, the producer has to watch over everything. If something goes wrong, the producer better find a solution, and fast.

And now it finally reaches postproduction, the time for most people to relax and wait to see what they've worked so hard on for so many months. Postproduction is really only horrible for the editors, sound, and special effects guys, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, the producer's job still isn't done. To begin the final step, the producer sits down with the director over a nice cup of tea and decides the order and selection of scenes that will appear in the final cut of the film. After that, he reviews each cut of the film until it's satisfactory. NOW all the producer's got to do is secure a distributor for the film and review the distributor's advertising campaign. After this, and only after this, is the producer's job finally complete.

Never before today did I truly appreciate the work of producers. I honestly believed they were just the piggybanks of the production team. I know it's difficult to believe, but I was wrong. Oh so wrong. Here's to you, producers!

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