Starting your career in film isn’t always easy and the path isn’t always super clear. There are many roles to fill on a movie production, one of which being a producer, an important leadership role on a film. Knowing what a producer does is key to knowing if the role is right for you. Here are some tips on how to become a film producer.
What is a movie producer?
Think of a movie producer as a project manager for a film. They manage business decisions, budgets, and planning for productions. They may choose what projects to work on, secure funding for productions, determine production timelines, and hire certain members of a crew, such as a director. These duties vary based on the production’s needs and size.
Movie producer tasks may include any or all of the following:
- Finding projects to work on or hiring writers to create them
- Providing creative input when needed
- Securing financiers to provide funding for projects
- Working with vendors, directors, and other producers to determine production needs
- Determining marketing and distribution needs
- Securing distribution and production deals with other companies
- Establishing budgets for all aspects of a production and managing spending
- Communicating timelines, budgets, delays, and footage to investors and other executives
Types of movie producers
There are different types of producers with varying levels of seniority and duties. A smaller, independent film may only have one or two producers while large studio films may have many of each. Here are some movie producer titles:
- Executive Producer
- Associate Producer
- Supervising Producer
- Coordinating Producer
- Line Producer
- Segment Producer
- Visual Effects Producer
Steps to becoming a movie producer
1. Consider an education
Not everyone needs to have a film degree to break into the business, but it can help. Hands-on classroom and film set experience at an accredited film school or film certification will give you insight and contacts to get you started.
2. Look for an internship
Production companies, animation studios, local television and radio stations, independent studios, and more offer internship opportunities for students and graduates. You won’t start out with a producer title but can raise your cred with production assistant roles for a few years to get started.
Make connections, network, and get as much hands-on experience as you can.
3. Look for fellowship and grant opportunities
Guilds like the Producer’s Guild of America offer certain opportunities, especially for those with graduate-level degrees. Seek out opportunities like the Debra Hill Fellowship to gain access to producing opportunities.
4. Get into independent filmmaking
Build your portfolio by joining the crew of a short film. Many independent creators and smaller companies produce short films that need production assistants and other roles. Short film festivals can offer networking and exposure.
Companies like Sizzle Pitch can also provide the opportunity to get your foot in the producing door with a low barrier of entry. Becoming an investor in an independent film can provide networking opportunities, real-world experience, and insight into budgeting, timelines, and production needs. Learn more here.
5. Network, network, network
Considering looking into professional networks like the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, and Producer’s Guild of America.
But even before that, you can join local Facebook and other social network groups to find films in your area. Consider attending local film festivals and networking events to find like-minded creators waiting to collaborate.