As I discussed in my last post, there are many mysteries surrounding who the producer actually is, and what it is that they do. You've probably noticed while watching television or a movie that there are many different titles that include the word "producer." So what does each different producer do? What do these titles mean, exactly?
The most commonly used producing titles include executive producer, producer, co-producer, line producer, and associate producer. You may also have seen titles such as supervising producer, consulting producer, or creative producer, as well as many others. Hypothetically, titles are awarded based on experience and the amount of work the individual actually does. However, these days, the title often reflects what the individual's agent or manager was able to negotiate. This is especially common in the case of the executive producer credit. For the purposes of this post, however, we will look at the traditional description of what these titles most commonly mean.
Beyond a producer's title lie variations in the job that the individual performs. As explained in the book Producing Animation, the producer's job description can be broken down into three different categories: "deal-maker," "facilitator," and "creative." The first type, the "deal-maker," gathers together the talent, the finances, and the material. They usually have little to no creative input. The "facilitator" is very hands-on during production, and with his or her staff, oversees the completion of the project. The "creative" producer is involved in the creative decision making, as the title suggests. These three categories can aid in understanding what the different producer titles mean.
While the executive producer title can mean many different things based on the type of production, they are almost always "deal-makers." They may be responsible for bringing together key players, securing or providing financing, monitoring progress of production, or liaising between a studio and a production. Many times, studio executives are awarded executive producer credits for identifying new material or talent. In some cases, especially television, the executive producer oversees the entire project from both the creative and the operational angles. Many executive producers are involved creatively, as well.
The producer title is most similar to the "facilitator." They are usually on their feet, making things happen. They are responsible for creating a budget, developing a schedule, and hiring a crew. The producer ensures that the vision of the director, the studio, and other key players comes to life, on time and within its budget. They are also usually involved creatively, especially in feature films.
The line producer also falls within the "facilitator" category. This person is brought on to a project once a production schedule is set and ready to go, to assist the producer in making sure the production runs smoothly and stays on schedule. They have no creative input on the production, but they are present and involved in the logistics of almost every aspect of the production. In the case of Burp's Christmas, there will most likely not be a line producer, as we are planning to have a small production crew that will be mostly self-sufficient.
Finally, the role of the associate producer can mean many different things. In many cases, the associate producer works solely in an administrative capacity, in a role similar to that of the line producer. In that way, they fall into the "facilitator" category as well. In some cases, the associate producer provides creative support. In our case, the associate producer (Kat) provides some of both, as well as her own unique knowledge of animation production.
So there you have it! The title of "producer" can mean many different things, but the end goal is always the same; to make the best film possible, on time, and on budget. Next time you see a film, keep your eyes open for the producing titles. Maybe you'll see one you recognize!