Sunday, March 27, 2011

Production Titles Explained!

By Anant Mathur (March 27, 2011)

While watching the credit sequence at the beginning or end of a film, you may have noticed the various types of producer credits listed in the mix. For those of you who have wondered what all these titles mean here is an explanation...

The chief of staff of a movie production in all matters save the creative efforts of the director, who is head of the line. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors.

Producers are highly self-motivated individuals, who have the final responsibility for all aspects of a film's production. He or she is frequently the first person to become involved in a project; they participate directly in all the main producing phases; and see the project through production, to post-production, marketing and distribution. The Producer's is role to turn story ideas into profitable cinematic entertainment, and to persuade others to share in his or her commercial and creative vision. Producers usually report to the production company, or to the Executive Producers appointed to supervise the production on behalf of the financiers and Distributors.

Associate Producer:
An individual who performs a limited number of producing functions delegated to her/him by a producer, under the direct supervision and control of that producer. The term may also refer to a person who would qualify as an executive producer of a project, but for the fact that (s)he acts on behalf of a production company which is subordinate to another one on that project.

Associate Producers carry out significant functions in the production or post-production process, which would otherwise be performed by the Producer, Executive Producer or Co-Producer. These responsibilities may range from helping to raise production finance at the beginning of the production process, to supervising the final stages of post-production. Associate Producers in Film are usually individuals within production companies who have played a particularly significant role in the development of the script or screenplay, or in the packaging process, or who have contributed important creative ideas to the production. They may be another producer; or a senior Script Editor who helps to shape the direction of the final drafts of the screenplay, and without whom the film may not be financed; or the Producer's Assistant who supervises development or post production for the Producer in their absence. The term Associate Producer is also sometimes used to describe a Producer from a smaller production company which is co-producing the film, who has typically raised a small amount of funding for the project, but not enough to warrant an Executive Producer or Co-Producer credit.

Executive Producer:
A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues.

The traditional role of the Executive Producer is to supervise the work of the Producer on behalf of the studio, the financiers or the distributors, and to ensure that the film is completed on time, and within budget, to agreed artistic and technical standards. The term often applies to a producer who has raised a significant proportion of a film's finance, or who has secured the underlying rights to the project. Typically, Executive Producers are not involved in the technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but have played a crucial financial or creative role in ensuring that the project goes into production.

Line Producer:
A producer who is responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line producers only work on one film at a time.

The Line Producer is one of the first people to be employed on a film's production by the Producer and Executive Producers. Line Producers are rarely involved in the development of the project, but often play a crucial role in costing the production in order to provide investors with the confidence to invest in the project. As soon as the finance has been raised, the Line Producer supervises the preparation of the film's budget, and the day-to-day planning and running of the production. Where a Line Producer has a creative input to the production, he or she is often credited as a Co-producer.

A producer who performs a substantial portion of a creative producing function, or who is primarily responsible for one or more managerial producing functions. A co-producer has less responsibility than a producer for the completion of a project.

A Co-Producer is typically a Line Producer who has also performed a substantial portion of the creative producing function. Alternatively, they may be the lead Producer from another production company that is co-producing the film, or a partner or corporate officer from the production entity producing the film. In rare cases, a Co-Producer may also be the person who optioned, developed or packaged the project. In all instances, Co-Producers are subordinate to the Producer. Occasionally, the title Co-producer is accorded to a producer who finds, options, develops, or packages the project, but does not own the rights, and who plays a less significant role in the physical production of the film. For example, Co-Producers may be relatively new Producers who need to work with a more senior Producer in order to package, finance and deliver the finished film. It should be noted that if a project has more than one Producer, it does not mean that these individuals are "Co-Producers" in the technical sense ofthe term.
Production Manager:
Reporting to the film's producer, this person supervises the budget, hires the crew, approves purchase orders & time cards, and generally makes sure all departments are doing their respective jobs within the parameters of the budget.

Production Managers run productions on behalf of the Producer and Line Producer. They help to determine the most efficient and economic way to schedule shoots, negotiate business deals for crews, locations and technical equipment, and make day-to-day production decisions to ensure that productions proceed smoothly.

Production Co-ordinator:
The person responsible for overseeing practical matters such as ordering equipment, getting near-location accommodations for the cast and crew, etc.

Production Co-ordinators are directly responsible to the Line Producer and Production Manager for scheduling and co-ordinating the communications and day-to-day workings of the whole production team. They co-ordinate the crew, maintain the purchase order log, make sure paperwork is completed and filed, answer the telephone, and ensure that nothing is overlooked. Production Co-ordinators also produce new versions of the script as changes are made. Because they are most responsible for the day-to-day workings of the production office, Production Co-ordinators must work very long hours, particularly in the final week before the start of principal photography.

Assistant Production Co-ordinator:
An assistant to the production co-ordinator.

The Assistant Production Co-ordinator acts as a general assistant to the Production Co-ordinator, performing duties relating to the preparation, distribution and filing of paperwork, both within the production office and on set. Assistant Production Co-ordinators are almost always self-employed, and must be prepared to work long hours, particularly during the final week of pre-production. Most films employ one Assistant Production Co-ordinator; however, larger productions may employ two or more.

Producer's Assistant (Production Assistant):
A person responsible for various odd jobs, which could include such disparate tasks as running errands, stopping traffic, acting as couriers, fetching items from craft service, etc. Tasks and levels of responsibility can vary greatly, depending on the film, the needs of the rest of the team, and the skills of the individuals PA themselves.

PA's provide administrative support to the Producer and are involved in all stages of the production process from pre-production through to post production. Their responsibilities are defined by the Producer, on an almost daily basis, throughout the production of the film. Duties may range from writing coverage on scripts, drafting letters, making phone calls, running an office, interviewing personnel, co-ordinating the fundraising process, assisting with duties on and off set, liaising between the producer and the post-production team, and helping to prepare publicity materials. Producer's Assistants may also be asked to assist with securing clearances for copyright materials, arranging business meetings and social events, as well as handling floats and petty cash. They may even be asked to contribute to strategic thinking in relation to projects in development.

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