Producers oversee all aspects of a movie, television, stage, radio or other performing arts production. They raise money for the project, set the budget, as well as hire the director, editors and other staff.
Producers coordinate and may contribute to the writing and editing process. They oversee the selection of actors, negotiate for workspace and shooting locations, and provide costumes, props and other needed equipment. They keep the project on schedule and help market the finished product.
Duties and responsibilities
- Select scripts, books, plays or other material to be produced
- Negotiate for rights to source material as well as copyrighted items, photos or footage to be used
- Hire directors and key department heads, and oversee hiring of cast members and other staff
- Arrange financing and negotiate with other producers, distributors and broadcasters for the project
- Negotiate performer and staff contracts, follow collective bargaining agreements, and resolve disputes
- Determine production size and set budget, production schedules and other management activities
- Write and edit news stories or scripts, or provide writers with a story outline
- Coordinate and oversee the work of writers, directors, editors and other personnel
- Review rehearsals, shooting, film or recordings for compliance with production and broadcast standards
- Conduct meetings with staff to discuss project progress and ensure deadlines and budget are met
- Obtain workspace, shooting locations, costumes, music, props and any needed studio equipment
- Monitor postproduction activities to determine that all production goals have been attained
- Perform administrative duties including operational reports and distributing script copies
- Coordinate with sales associates on marketing plans for finished product
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
Producers typically work full time and often put in more than 40 hours per week. Hours can vary greatly per project, and many productions only offer short-term employment. Some consistently running projects like scripted TV or news programmes will offer a more predictable schedule.
As a producer, you may travel with a touring company or to visit location shoots for films or TV. This could include challenging weather conditions and terrain. The long hours and pressure to meet deadlines and expectations can be very stressful.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in a related subject
Most producers have a bachelor's degree. Potential subjects may be related to their chosen medium, like theatre, film history, screenwriting or cinematography. Other options include communications, writing, acting, business or journalism.
Producers typically gain experience in another occupation in their industry. Some begin their career as performers, editors or cinematographers. You may also work your way up from assistant jobs in theatrical management or television and film studios.
Producers typically start on smaller projects like independent films and off-Broadway plays. Gaining experience and a positive reputation for diligent work and quality productions can land you bigger and more prestigious projects. The network of contacts you established in other jobs in the industry can help you progress faster.