When watching awards shows like the Academy Awards or the Emmys, it is difficult to know what the movie producers actually do on a movie. An award for Best Picture at the Academy Awards gets awarded not to the director, but the producers. Who are these people?
There are different kinds of movie producers. Not all roles are the same. A good example is the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which had one producer, a couple of executive producers, a co-producer, two more co-executive producers, a line producer, and an associate producer. Phew!
It is useful to consider the roles that various producers perform and what various producer credits actually mean. Let’s take a closer look.
The Associate Producer
The Associate Producer is a credit given mostly as a thank you to a person involved. It is essentially a pat on the back. The person in question may have rewritten a bad screenplay during shooting, helped out getting access to a location for shooting purposes, or done something else that was helpful to the director.
The Executive Producer
An executive producer is usually someone who is involved at the story level through a book or a screenplay. Sometimes, they’ve helped raise a substantial portion of the movie’s financing. Quite often, the executive producer is managing a handful of different projects simultaneously. Therefore, they are not directly involved with the production of the movie on set, casting of actors, etc.
Co-Producer and Line-Producer
The co-producer is an active role, reporting to the producer. They are involved with financing, casting, and post-production in many cases. The person must be organized, thorough, and ambitious. Again, they’re unlikely to be on-set during filming as their role comes mostly before and after filming has taken place.
The line producer is one of the producer roles for someone who remains on the set during film production. Their involvement is in keeping the movie on-budget by liaising with the director and other people that affect cost overruns and staying within the financing allowance. They are not usually creatively involved.
The producer of a movie is directly involved with its production from the beginning right through to its completion. Ideas for movies come from pitches, spec scripts, completed screenplays, novels, published articles, and real-life events. They secure the rights to the story for it to be made into a movie. The producer hires the director, is involved with casting to a minimal degree, and organizes a crew. Their involvement also includes the budget and arranging post-production editing, special effects, soundtrack, and publicity.
This is what movie producer Michael Palance does. He works with novelists and screenwriters, develops interesting stories, seeks finance, and puts together movies or TV projects that hopefully go into production. For Michael David Palance, the process is a time-consuming one that requires passion and patience to achieve the goal of a finished project.
While the directors and the actors receive all the praise for a finished movie that the critics and public love, the producers are the unsung heroes of the movie world. Rarely seen or praised, without them, no movies would ever see the light of day.