Being a film producer is probably the hardest and most stressful work in the film industry. The producer is the first person who starts working on the film and most of the times they keep working even after its release. During all this time they have to: find a story, find a screenwriter to adapt it, look for funding, hire the cast, crew and director, and a lot more stuff. This, for real, is a lot of work and a lot of stress to go through. However, the beautiful thing about being a producer is that the film is your baby. The director, the screenwriter and other crew members may be the ones who give it its shape and identity, but you are the person who made it happen and brought that story to the light. You should really consider if you want to become a film producer. It´s a hard work with a high reward, but the decision of if the reward is worth it is up to you. If you decide it is, this post will try to help you with your career.
What skills do I need?
To become a good film producer, you need creative, business and communication skills as well as a broad knowledge of the film industry and some experience in making films. To start, you should get a degree on film, producing, acting or something alike. Your goal here is to learn and understand how movies are made. You need to know: some film colleges don´t have a producing program and instead have it as an extensive course. Going to a film school is also a good chance for networking and working on student films. Student films are great for gaining experience, and you really need experience if you want to become good at this. What I´m saying is you could have all the knowledge in the world, but you´ll never become good at something if you don´t apply that theory into practice. You should also aim to strengthening your business and communication skills by attending a course (maybe doing a degree if you have time). These skills are necessary for negotiating budgets and salaries, hiring crew members and other stuff.
Before you start producing…
The professional film producers everyone knows didn´t start making films right away. These producers have a wide variety of backgrounds in the film industry, such as acting, screenwriting, production assistance and many others. You should look for a job in a film production before you start making your own films. The reason being that these jobs will give you a good knowledge of how the industry works and how a film is made. If this isn´t enough, working on a studio will help you build a network. With a few years of experience working on studios and maybe making student films, you´ll be ready to produce your own film.
How different is producing from other film careers?
The fun thing about starting a career as a producer, is that it´s a lot different from starting any other career in the industry. In careers like, acting, directing, screenwriting or others, you act like someone talented who´s looking for another person to recognize his skills and offer him a job that will help him build his career. In producing, you act like an entrepreneur, you are a talented person who looks to use his talent to build something big that will help you build your career. In other careers, after you are hired it´s almost all over, you can relax, you only need to lend your unique skills correctly and your job will be done. However, in producing your job is to make a success out of that film, meaning that you have a lot of responsibilities and everything could fall apart at any moment during the production. You only get to relax a few months after the release. This is what makes producing so fun, but also terrifying and stressing.
How do I get to make a film?
To start producing a film, first you need to find a story from anywhere you like. Second, you need to find a screenwriter to adapt the story to the screen and a director to make the production move (this is where your network will be useful). The most important step before starting the filming is to secure funding. To do this, you need to convince a studio or some investors to give you a budget (however there are other ways like crowdfunding or using your own money, but I don´t recommend them if you are just starting). Here is where you´ll need your business skills, if you want a budget, you need to convince the studio or investor that your project will give them profit. You can do this by making a film based on a trending theme or showing them that the audience will love your story. If they agree then your next tasks will be to hire the cast and most of the crew, watch over the filming process, editing, distribution and it´s box office. After all this months of hard work, you will be able to see if your entrepreneurship was a success or a mess.