If you’ve gone through the rigors of film school and are ready to break out into the world, you may find yourself a bit taken aback at how hard it is to get your foot in the door. Most everyone wants to be a film director, yet it doesn’t always work out that way. There are many important positions in making a film; one which has a lot of clout, is that of the producer.
Producing isn’t easy, but it can have its rewards and help boost your career. Look at someone like Steven Spielberg, who’s a highly regarded film director, yet he’s also produced scores of films, which have also helped many budding filmmakers get their start in the industry.
In film school, you learn about all facets of film production and that producers tackle many parts of a film production. In some ways they’re the overseer of the whole thing, making sure that the film is on schedule and not running over budget. As most film schools will tell you, producing can be expensive as they often put up their own money to fund a film project, primarily during the pre-production process. This also can be an issue especially if a film runs over budget and the producer has to cover the costs.
If you’re directing a film and working on a small budget, you’ll probably be producing the film yourself, yet if the combination of both is too demanding, it sometimes helps to work in conjunction with a producer. Most low budget films tend to be done in a guerrilla style, where everyone builds props, helps on the set, but most of the money comes from the producer, director or both. When Stanley Kubrick embarked on his first feature, Fear and Desire (1953), he borrowed money from his family and friends to fund the film at a cost of $10,000. The rest is history, as Kubrick became one of the most important filmmakers of all time, who also produced the majority of his films, after he managed to establish complete control over his productions.
In terms of raising money, fundraising often comes into play. Benefits can be held or appeals to potential benefactors are some ways to raise funds. There are also several websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo that allow you to post information about your film and create a way to accrue funds for it.
There are also different kinds of producers: for example, the Executive Producer is usually responsible for investing finances into the project, but in many cases has no real involvement with the actual production. Co-Producers and Associate Producers work in tandem with the producer, but it’s more of what you’d call an assistant position to some degree. The line producer works on set and manages the financial and production elements while also assisting the director.
In the movie industry, some actors actually serve as producers or executive producers on their films or other films full stream that they have an interest in. Warren Beatty, Richard Attenborough, Jodie Foster and George Clooney, are just a few who have invested in specific film projects which gives the project an extra edge.