Film producers have wide and varied responsibilities. For large-budget feature films, there are often many different producers who hold different roles in the pre-production, production, and post-production process. In smaller films, one or two people may be required to handle all of the work. Producer responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Finding locations and pulling permits, creating and maintaining a budget, producing pre-production and production schedules, and overseeing production.
Producers work very hard and are involved in nearly every aspect of filmmaking. The most important skills for a producer to have are management skills and personal communication skills. For this reason, it is recommended that rising producers have a degree in either Communications (specifically, film) or Business.
Below, I have listed some resources that anyone aspiring to be a producer in the industry should study.
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos093.htm : The Bureau of Labor Statistics information on jobs in acting, directing, and producing.
http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-2012.01 : the Occupation Information Network information on skills needed for a career as a producer.
http://www.skillset.org/film/jobs/production/article_3876_1.asp : Skillset thoroughly describes the attitude, personality, and skills needed to be a film producer.
Producer’s Guild of America (PGA): http://www.producersguild.org/
International Federation of Film Producers Associations: http://www.fiapf.org/
So You Want to be a Producer, Lawrence Turman : A book similar to Save The Cat (Blake Snyder), but for future producers.
The Independent Film Producer’s Survival Guide: A Business and Legal Sourcebook, Gunnar Erickson, Harris Tulchin, Mark Halloran. A book detailing the technical and legal side of filmmaking, which is often overlooked in film schools.
Film Production: The Complete Uncensored Guide to Filmmaking , Greg Merritt. A book that explains the most basic production terms and gives helpful tips about how to produce and sell a low-budget film.
Programs and Classes:
Preferably, a fledgling producer will have experience in all aspects of filmmaking, particularly screenwriting, editing, acting, sound, directing, lighting, cinematography, and even business. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, it is possible to take courses online to develop and fine-tune certain skills. It is also possible to continue education and earn a Master’s degree in Business, or even more specifically, Entertainment Business. These classes will help future producers learn about development, finance, marketing, management, and law, which are all key for working as a producer. Schools that offer such degrees include Full Sail University, New York University, and American Intercontinental University.
To begin a career as a producer in Los Angeles, one will need many starting tools. These include, but are not limited to:
– Professional business cards
– A resume fleshed out with film work
– Production software (such as budget and scheduling software by Movie Magic)
– A subscription or access to Variety magazine