How to Become a Producer

Movie Producer
The Producer runs the filmmaking business as they help the screenwriter write the script, casting directors to find the cast, hire the crew for the production, and find the money to make the movie happen.

Become a Producer

  • Job Description – The Producer runs the filmmaking business as they help the screenwriter write the script, casting directors to find the cast, hire the crew for the production, and find the money to make the movie happen.
  • Producer Salary – Payscale says that the median annual salary for a Producer in TV and films is just $66,121. However, a producer can make between a million to multi-million for big movies.

How to Become a Producer

casting call
Smiling curly female holding movie clapper board, slate film.

Producer Job Description

The Producer is the leader and runs the filmmaking business. They are involved in every part of the development of TV shows and movies including helping the screenwriter write the script, casting directors to find the actors for a film, and hire the crew for a movie.

During development, the Producer focuses on creating an entertaining story. They identify what the movie will be about and how they plan on selling the film.

In pre-production, their goal is to hire talented people to make the TV show, movie or commercial happen. If someone is not performing up to par, the producer is focused on replacing that company or individual.

Producers also make sure decisions are followed through and making sure any problems that arise are solved. Most problems surround how the production is spending money. One of the goals of the Producer is to make sure the project stays on budget. The producer is the boss on the set of production.

During post-production, they need to make the best movie they can with the footage they shot. Usually, a Producer will receive dailies and give notes. These notes will require the Director to possibly reshoot a scene or tell how the Editor should edit the project. It can be difficult because the Producer could spend years working on a project, but their vision of the project must be flexible due to constraints such as a budget, filmmaking processes, and any other unforeseen challenges.

Career Advancement for Producers

Los Angeles Casting Calls
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 29, 2016: The Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles. The iconic sign was created in 1923. (Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com)

First Look Deals

Advancement for a Producer comes with working on bigger and better productions. Producers will build a production company, collaborate with a major studio, and have deals with a major distributor. A primary goal for any producer is obtaining a first-look deal. A first-look deal comes when a Producer produces a significant body of work. As a result, the studio would have the opportunity to review the project first and determine whether they want to make it or not.

Education and Training for Producers

Film School can be an excellent place for an aspiring movie Producer to learn the basics of filmmaking. That way an aspiring Producer does not have to learn on the job and possibly lose money in the process. The most important thing in becoming a Producer is to get involved in the movie business. Aspiring Producers should get involved in some capacity in the film industry and attend film festivals. By networking and working in the market will help build an understanding of the film industry.

Skills for Producers

The most important ability for a Producer is to be a leader. Since the Producer is involved in every step of filmmaking from the development to the production, to the post-production, the Producer must have a well-identified vision and be able to communicate it to others. The producers must also be able to find talent to make the movie happen.

Producers are entrepreneurs. They have a creative vision and focus on creating a sellable product. When filmmaking starts, the Producer needs to make sure that everything goes smoothly. If someone decides to become a Producer, they must learn the intricacies of the film business. Producers work with the Director, Screenwriter, Actors, Editor, and Crew.

Jobs for Producers

Producers are once again entrepreneur and to become a producer requires having money to make the production happen. Money pays the bills. However, aspiring producers can learn how to run a production company by working with existing production companies. Other ideas include creating a movie on a shoe-string budget. The most important thing is to get started in the film industry and focus on building a high-quality product. Also, with YouTube and other streaming platforms, Producers can experiment with film by creating a YouTube channel.

How much does a Producer make?

  • Payscale says that the median annual salary for a Producer in TV and films is just $66,121. However, a producer can make between a million to multi-million for big movies.

Unions for Producers

The Producers Guild of America is the union for Producers. “The Producers Guild of America is a non-profit trade organization that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The Producers Guild works to protect the careers of producers and improve the producing community at large by facilitating health benefits for members, encouraging the enforcement of workplace labor laws and sustainable practices, creating fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, and hosting educational opportunities for new and experienced producers alike.”

How to join the Producers Guild of America?

To join the Producers Guild of America, an applicant must have received PGA-approved credits (see the PGA Code of Credits) and performed the job functions under those credits, within the last seven5 years for feature films, or the previous years for all other formats. For more information click here.

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