The Producer's Guide: How to Produce or Become One If You Want To...

person holding black dslr camera
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Before we get into the guide, I want to recommend the most comprehensive weekly email on Filmmaking & Producing: My tri-weekly newsletter The Elements of Producing. 

Packed with clear concepts, three action items, and evidence-based strategies, The Elements of Producing will teach you how to build a career, or film that will deliver remarkable results.

What Are Producers?

Producers play a crucial role. They make shit. They are the executives of a project. Responsible for oversight of all aspects of a film's production. Think securing funding and contracts to managing budgets and schedules. Without producers, films would not be able to get off the ground and make it to the big screen.

Three Ways to be a Producer?

Being a film producer is more than just putting together a budget and hiring a cast. It requires a unique combination of creative vision, business acumen, and organizational skills. Filmmaking is a collaborative art form, and the producer plays a crucial role in bringing together all the various elements – script, cast, crew, budget, schedule – to create a cohesive final product. Take, for example, the film "La La Land." The producers were responsible for securing funding, hiring director Damien Chazelle and actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and managing the production schedule and budget.

  • One way to become a film producer is to start by working your way up the ranks on film sets. This could involve starting as a production assistant or intern, and learning the ropes from more experienced producers.

  • Another option is to gain business experience in a related field, such as entertainment law or finance, and use that expertise to break into producing.

  • Alternatively, you could try to get your own projects off the ground by writing and/or directing your own short films, and then pitching them to studios or production companies.

Best Books on Film Production:

  • "The Filmmaker's Handbook" by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus

  • "The Five C's of Cinematography" by Joseph V. Mascelli

  • "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch

  • "The Visual Story" by Bruce Block

  • "The Art and Craft of the Director" by William Froug

  • "The Filmmaker's Journey" by Christopher Vogler

  • "The Gaffer's Handbook" by Harry C. Box

  • "The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers" by Thomas A. Crowell

Development in filmmaking is the early stage where ideas are formed and initial financing is sought.

Articles on Development:

Pre-production is the planning and logistics stage where filmmakers finalize the script, cast the actors, scout locations, and create a shooting schedule.

Articles on Pre-Production:

Production is the stage where the film is shot and the director works with the cast and crew to bring the script to life.

Articles on Production:

Post-production is the editing and sound design stage where the film is assembled, music is added, and special effects are created.

Articles on Post-Production:

Distribution is the process of bringing the finished product to audiences through theatrical releases, streaming, DVD or Blu-ray releases, or other means to recoup a profit.

Articles on Distribution:

All Film Production Articles:

This is a complete list of articles I have written on film production. Enjoy!