What Does a Producer Do? (With Average Salary and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 23 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A producer performs an important role in developing movies, television shows and theatrical productions. Those in this position collaborate with writers and directors to execute a show and manage the financial and administrative aspects of its production. If you enjoy working with people and are interested in the film industry, this job might be perfect for you. In this article, we discuss the duties, salary and skills of a producer, the different types of this role and four steps for how to join this career field.

Why is it useful to know the answer to "What does a producer do?"

It is useful to know the answer to "What does a producer do?" because it can help you decide if the position is right for you. Be sure to examine multiple factors of this job, including pay, requirements, responsibilities and skills, before deciding on this career path. In addition, consider that the more education, training and experience you have, the more duties you might have and the higher your earning potential might be.

Related: Top Jobs in the Arts (With Duties and Earning Potential)

What does a producer do?

A producer coordinates and supervises the production of a film, television show or theatre show from start to finish. They manage the logistical, financial and administrative aspects of a film and ensure that it is released on time and within budget. A producer serves as a quality controller who guides operations before, during and after the production process and ensures the project's success. Here is an explanation of a producer's typical duties in the different stages of production:

Pre-production

Before the beginning of a film's production, a producer conceives a marketable storyline for the film. They may have an idea for an original script or they may choose to adapt a book, personal story or historical event into a screenplay. If they want the film to be an adaptation of existing material, the producer obtains rights to the material. They then collaborate with a writer and other film professionals to help develop an official script and get it ready for production.

Another critical responsibility of the producer is securing funding for the movie. Once the movie script is complete, producers pitch their idea to a movie studio that might finance the film if they like the script. Producers might also raise funds independently by crowdfunding or gaining investors. They can use this money to hire and pay staff, including directors, editors, cinematographers, set and costume designers, actors, musicians, assistants and other crew and buy set space and props. It is the responsibility of the producer to manage their funds properly and make sure that production stays within budget.

Production

When filming begins, a producer ensures production aligns with their planned schedule and budget. They monitor expenses and revenue, approve purchases and manage other financial matters. They also conduct meetings with production staff to discuss progress towards goals and deadlines. The amount of their involvement at this stage may vary based on the type of movie or show, the number of producers working on the project and the executive producer's preferences.

Post-production

After filming is complete, the producer works with the director, and sometimes an editor, to revise and polish the film. The producer's role now is to market the film to potential distributors and audiences. Showcasing the film at a film festival is one opportunity to attract a distributor for the film. The producer then negotiates the distribution rights, creates a release plan and starts a marketing campaign.

Types of producers

There are different types of producers with unique titles and responsibilities, such as:

Executive producer

An executive producer leads the production and decision-making process. They supervise and manage any other producers working on the film. These professionals are in charge of production finances and business relationships. If required, they may delegate certain creative and technical tasks to other show staff. They constantly consider overall goals and ensure a show adheres to specifications concerning content, timing and budget. Sometimes, there may be more than one executive producer of a film, each leading a unique area of production.

Co-producer

A co-producer reports to the executive producer and assists them with their duties. They may complete high-level tasks such as hiring talent, developing show ideas and monitoring budgets. Co-producers also oversee post-production activities such as touring and marketing a show.

Line producer

A line producer oversees daily operations on a show set, including corresponding with crew and actors and managing minor purchases and financial decisions. They are responsible for ensuring that production is safe and efficient. Those in this role collaborate with other producers, writers and directors to ensure a project's success.

Associate producer

An associate producer functions as an assistant to an executive or other producer, completing tasks like organising scripts, running a teleprompter, making beat calls and conveying announcements to staff. This is a great option for those looking to gain entry-level experience in the film industry. Those in this role may seek to gain enough experience to become a producer or executive producer and lead their own shows.

Field producer

A field producer travels to the film's shooting location to supervise production outside of the studio. They are experts in setting up special lighting equipment and using graphics and editing software. Those in this role often work on documentary films, news and reality television projects.

Average salary of a producer

The average salary of a producer is ₹25,998 per month. In comparison, the average salary of an executive producer is ₹3,02,559 per year. However, salaries may vary based on many factors, such as an organisation's type and size and a candidate's geographical location, educational background, credentials and experience level. Producers who have more work experience and critical acclaim can typically negotiate for higher pay or charge clients at a higher rate.

How to become a producer

Here are four steps for how to become a producer:

1. Complete education

While not always necessary, completing film education can help you gain important knowledge about the film industry. Consider attending a college or university and studying film and production, theatre arts, arts management, acting, communications, business, business management or a related field. Adding a formal educational background to your resume can impress potential employers.

2. Explore extra-curricular activities

Consider taking part in extra-curricular activities to learn helpful film-related skills, such as improvisation or acting clubs. Even activities like debate teams or student government can help you hone your organisation and communication skills. You can also explore production in your free time by developing, filming, editing and releasing your own movies or shows.

Read more: Top Extracurricular Activities for a Resume

3. Gain experience in the film industry

A producer can learn about the entertainment business by starting in other areas of the industry, such as acting, casting or screenplay writing. Consider taking part in a low-profile project to see if you enjoy it, and apply for more advanced positions as you gain experience. You can also apply for a film internship or help with a student film production to learn a practical understanding of production processes.

Related: How To Become an Actor: A Complete Guide

4. Apply for a production role

Succeeding in a junior, entry-level or assistant position is typically necessary for a producer to move up to a senior-level producer job. Usually, producers spend several years in other positions before establishing a career as a producer. Before applying, make sure your resume and cover letter are excellent expressions of your qualifications and abilities.

Producer skills

Producers work in an exciting, fast-paced career field, and there are many skills that can help them succeed in their roles, such as:

  • Networking: It is important to network to be well-connected and well-known amongst actors, financiers, movie studio executives, directors and other movie staff so producers can find staff and funding for a show.

  • Leadership: An executive producer is the top leader of the entire project, so they have to delegate responsibilities properly. Interpersonal skills and an outgoing personality are essential leadership skills for connecting with other members of the team and inspiring motivation.

  • Communication: From pre-production through post-production, a producer has to convey information to each part of the team to make sure the project matches their vision. In addition, they may need to update clients and other stakeholders about a show's progress.

  • Decision-making: It is important that producers can make well-informed decisions about purchases, staffing and other matters that ensure a show's success.

  • Organisation: A producer needs organisational skills to follow the show's budget and adhere to a filming schedule.

  • Problem-solving: With a project as large and complex as filmmaking, problems and unforeseen circumstances may arise. A good producer can adapt to new situations and solve problems effectively.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Producer work environment

The work environment of producers is fast-paced, as it is driven by deadlines and budgets. For this reason, it is important that producers can work well under pressure. While they are performing planning and administrative duties, they typically work in an office. However, they also usually travel to different sets and places to monitor production or tour with a theatre group. Depending on the budget of the film or show, a project can take months to years to complete.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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