YOU WANNA PRODUCE? (OK, There are 5 Types… Which one are you?)
by Dov S-S Simens on May 20, 2016
What’s a Producer? The 5 Types.
So you want to produce? You have this great idea, but you don’t want to direct, and you’re not the writer, but you have great ideas and are sure they’ll be Box Office Boffo hits… so you guess you’re the producer.
Okay, but which type are you?
And do you even know the differences?
(Harvey Weinstein is the quintessential Producer, with a Dealmaker mentality)
There are 5 types of Producers represented by 5 OTCs (Opening Title Credits) which are usually single title cards (means no one else shares screen space with you when your name pops up on the screen… Single Title Card in the Opening Title Credits is very important to get to not only launch but maintain a career).
The 5 Opening Title Credits for Producers are:
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
- LINE PRODUCER
- ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
(1st) PRODUCER: No film ever gets made without a Producer. However, 95% of all producers have never gone to a 4-year film school. Why? They don’t need all that unnecessary technical crap. They have a business instinct, a common sense and a feeling for what is commercial or not.
The Producer, is a dreamer, a visionary, a businessman who wakes up one day and says, “I have an idea”. He/she then takes that idea and gets the treatment, then the script, attaches actors, gets a budget, and brings it to, or partners with someone for, financing.
Then he/she oversees the shoot, the edit, selects a festival and, hopefully negotiates with distributors.
(Oprah is also a Producer, who is obviously a Dealmaker but comes more from a Filmmaker mentality)
(2nd) EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Also an Opening Title Credit (OTC) is usually the person who the Producer goes to when he/she has a financeable package (Script, Budget, Talent commitments, Key crew, etc).
The Executive Producer, doesn’t write any checks, but knows how to navigate the world of movie money to secure the investors whether from a Private Placement, a Crowd Fund, a Studio Deal, International Pre-Sells, Government tax Incentives, etc.
The Executive Producer, is usually, but not always, an entertainment attorney.
(Johnny Depp can Produce but is usually an Executive Producer, for once he lends his name to the project it will secure financing.)
(3rd) CO-PRODUCER: Eventually the Executive Producer, with the legal work finished to solicit investors, according to SEC rules, introduces the Producer to investors and knows how to close deals.
Now, if the Producer is successful in securing a financial commitment (5%, 10%, 25%, 100%, etc) from an investor it is fairly common that the investor, with emotion, will ask “Do I also get any credit?”
What are you, basically-broke-Producer, going to say, “No”.
Of course not, you know darn well your answer will be, “Sure” and what the investor gets is a Co-Producer credit, after the Producer credit and the Executive Producer credit.
And remember, if you have more than 1 investor you can have more than 1 Co-Producer.
Big-Budget studio feature usually have 1 Co-Producer for Europe, 1 Co-Producer from Asia, 1 Co-Producer from Latin America and 2-3 Co-Producers from America, who are either wealthy individual or networks or studios.
(4th) ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: This is the credit that nobody in Hollywood wants.
For everybody knows that an associate Producer basically does “nothing”.
What does an Associate Producer do during Pre-Production, “nothing”?
What does an Associate Producer do during the shoot, “nothing”?
What does an Associate Producer do during post-production, “nothing”?
What does an Associate Producer do during marketing and at festivals, “nothing, nothing, nothing”?
So why do we have this credit? It’s the freebie credit, the giveaway credit that you give to someone who merely introduces you to money.
It is also for your girlfriend or boyfriend or for an investor who is not smart enough to demand a Co-Producer credit. You can have numerous Associate Producer names on your film and it will not dilute the credibility you want for Producing.
(Associate Producer is many times someone with merely an idea who does not know what to do with it)
(5th) LINE PRODUCER: Every now and then a savvy Executive Producer or Investor who knows that you, a first-timer, really doesn’t know anything about the actual physical making of a movie say, “You know what you need?”
You, of course will respond with, “what what?” And then you will be told “You need a Line Producer”.
In essence, the person is telling you to either associate with or partner with someone who knows how to make a movie.
Now, which one are you?
YOU ARE A PRODUCER…Maybe? Or Are You an Associate Producer…Hmm?
You’re not “the sugar daddy”, you’re not “the attorney”, you’re not the “line producer” and you don’t want to be just an “associate”.
Therefore you are the Producer.
Now get a great idea. Then get a great script. Then get actors that love it. You now own 100% of nothing.
Then partner with an attorney, give away 50%, (you now own 50%) who knows investors who also get 50% and you can now raise the money and you and your Executive Producer have each kept 25%, with you probably giving away 15% to cast & crew on deferrals and points, but you got the money.
Bottom-line is you received a salary for 4 months, own approximately 10-15% and have your first Opening Title Credit as a Producer.
Welcome to Hollywood.
Dov Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute
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2 comments on “YOU WANNA PRODUCE? (OK, There are 5 Types… Which one are you?)”
Which title credit gives you more bragging rights between Executive Producer and Co-producer? Executive sounds better even though Co provides all the money.