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Producers are the main decision makers in both film and television productions. It is the job of a producer to turn original stories and ideas into marketable and profitable viewing. Producers will have the final responsibility for pretty much every aspect of a film or television programme production, and will often take the credit if the production is successful, or the blame if it is not.
In film, it is the producer that transports a film from paper on to the big screen. They are involved in pre-production, filming and post-production, sometimes even helping in the distribution of the finished product. Therefore, it is important that producers have experience and knowledge of all aspects of the film production, and relevant contacts.
Film-makers will often choose to work with people that they have had a good experience with previously, which means that it is all important for a producer to gain the respect of their peers and to build a good reputation.
Producers will often pick their own crew, deciding on who will be the heads of departments, and can often assist in the casting and approval of locations. As well as being a creative visionary, a producer must also supervise the project on behalf of the financiers and distributors. Producers will usually have the final say on any changes to the script or location but will answer to the executive producer, who is involved in the more logistical, legal and financial parts.
In television, producers have a similarly important role. Producers working in television will often work on many projects simultaneously, for their employer. They are ultimately responsible for the success of the company, and must pick popular and profitable programme ideas to take into production.
Producers must bring their talent, skills and extensive experience together to oversee the many productions in progress at one time. It can be a very demanding role, as it can require developing scripts, hiring crew and cast and deciding on layout and structure of a show. TV producers will often have to work in many different genres, and can sometimes have a very hands-on approach.
All in all, producers must have a good business mind as well as being great motivators and visionaries. Most will have worked their way up through the industry, maybe having dabbled in writing or directing, as they are usually a ‘jack of all trades’ within production.