The production department is the center of communication and planning for any film. Without a production department every single film, no matter how small, wouldn’t have been possible. The production department enviably makes everything happen. It is crucial to have a understanding of each role in order to create smooth production. Although, depending on the size of the production, one person may take on a few of these roles.
- Supervise the producer on behalf of the studio, financiers or distributors
- Raising finances for a film and securing rights
Often there are more than one Executive Producers on a film all with varying responsibilities. They are not involved with the technical aspects of production and usually take a creative for financial role ensuring the project goes to production. An Executive Producer will oversee the packaging of the film from securing rights and finances to seeing it through to distribution.
- Taking ideas for stories and turning them into profitable films.
- Pulling together a brilliant cast and crew.
- Overseeing and responsible for all aspects of the films production.
The producer is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the films production. Usually a producer is the first person to become involved with a project. They will take a script or idea and bring it to life seeing it through from the very beginning to the very end. In the Development stage, a Producer will come up with an idea or select a screenplay and secure the rights. They will supervise the development process, choose a screenwriter or script editing team while obtaining finances for the film.
In pre-production, they will bring together the key crew including the Director, Director of Photography, Production Designer and either a Casting Director to arrange the casting of the actors or will already have the key cast members in mind. When finances have been secured, a Producer will then bring on board the rest of the Heads of Department or allow the key crew members to bring on the team they usually work with. They will approve all aspects of the production from locations to budget.
While the film is in production, Producers will stay in close contact with the Director and Heads of Department to ensure everything on set is running smoothly.
During post-production Producers tend to leave the editors and director to it, however will continue to oversee the whole process. Meanwhile, they will liaise with distribution companies and help to plan marketing strategies ready for the films completion and release.
Producers will often work with a production team consisting of a Production Manager, Production Coordinator and Line Producer, however often on small budgeted films the Producer will take on these roles too.
- Running the daily operation of the production office
- Producing new versions of the script
- Organising or overseeing logistics of the film
The Production Coordinator reports to the Line Producer and the Production Manager. They set up the production office and resume control of it when the Production Manager is on set. They co-ordinate all the logistics of a film from transport and new scripts to production paperwork and insurance.
- Finding the perfect locations for the film
- Negotiating fees and acquiring permissions
- Managing the location during the shoot
The Location Manager’s’ main job is to find the perfect locations for a film shoot and acquire the rights to film there. They have to take into account the locations accessibility, the shooting schedule and budget of the film. In pre-production the Location Manager has to work out the logistics of filming at the chosen location including vehicle access, parking, power sources and catering. During the shoot they ensure that everyone knows how to get to the location and it is clearly signposted. They oversee the health and safety of everyone on location and the maintenance of the location. Location Managers are usually the first to arrive on set and the last to leave.
- Estimating what the production should cost for investors
- Supervising the preparation of the budget
The Line Producer is in charge off the business aspect of a film production. They assess what the below-the-line costs are. The Line Producer will break down the script and come up with an overall timetable for the whole film shoot from pre-production to production through to post-production. They work out how long it will take to shoot each scene and then estimate how much each day of shooting should cost. They will develop a provisional budget to show the total amount of funding needed. The Line Producer then oversees all pre-production elements and set up the production office. During production, the Line Producer will hand over the day-to-day business to the Production Manager but are responsible for overseeing everything. At the end of the shoot, they oversee the ‘wrap’ of the production undertaken by the Production Manager.
- Managing the production budget
- Overseeing the day-to-day production to make sure it runs smoothly
Production Managers are in charge of costs involving the crew and general running of the production. These are part of the ‘below-the-line’ budget. In pre-production they work with the Producer, Line Producer and First AD to create a provisional schedule. They help decide on a draft budget and then assist the Producer in hiring crew organising pay. During production, the Production Managers make sure that bills are paid, nothing goes over budget and oversee that everything on set is running smoothly. At the end of the shoot the Production Manager then ensures that all invoices are paid, locations signed off and any rental agreements discontinued.
Production accountants manage the money, make sure the production comes in on budget and ensures that everyone gets paid. They are usually assisted by assistant accountants, who are responsible for accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll.
Location Scouts will undertake most of the research, footwork and will document the different possible locations.
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