executive producer, what is it ? Article and job profile

producteur délégué, c’est quoi ? Article et fiche métier

The executive producer

 

This week, I realized that I had never talked about the job of a producer. It is true that we discuss regularly the subject through various topics on ” How to Make A Movie “, but at the bottom, I’ve never written solely on this subject.

We can distinguish two kinds of producer(s): The producer’s delegate and the producer executive. I’m not going to be interested in this article only to the executive producer because it is the one with which you are most often to do for your scenarios or your achievements. I will devote another article/ card-to the executive producer at a later time.

I’ll still give you the difference between these two trades :

The executive producer is in charge of the project. It is at the source : it is he who finds the project, found the money and climbs the budget. The executive producer, he is ” hired “ by the executive producer to take care of implementing the film. It is responsible for assembling the team and shoot the film. It is very fast summary, but I’m not far from the truth ;o)

Executive producer

Don’t forget that the producer actually has two caps :

Artistic

Financial

He is the supervisor of the film. For this he has to collect the money (the funding) to be able to shoot the film. The producer has enormous responsibilities. It is responsible for overruns and agrees to finish the film vis-à-vis investors, strings, etc…

Business producer

It is necessary that you remove the image of the producer , eager for money and willing to spoil. Most often the producer is not there to rob you of your project, you steal all short or leave you with the crumbs ! Certainly, there are producers who are real managers and businessmen before anything else. But more often (I swear) these are people who are passionate by cinema and willing to fight for that project, your project of which he fell in love, get done !

I don’t know if you know but, it has been almost 13 years now, I started my own production company…I know how this profession is fascinating, mesmerizing…and at the same time extremely difficult and precarious for many. It is a business of all times.

Even if there are schools today that offer courses, diplomas for learning production, I really believe that the job of a producer is not taught at the school. Certainly, it is necessary to have skills or knowledge in the management of a company, it is necessary to know to undertake and well surrounded.

But beyond knowing how to manage a company, the job of the producer is of the nose, a fiber art, a vision of a project, a scenario, in short, a producer must first be able to detect the right project and that it cannot be taught !

A good project what is it ?

I will not dwell on the subject for too long because this is the kind of question that it is very complicated to answer. But I believe that a good project for a producer, it’s an alchemy between :

A good scenario

A good director

The capacity/ ability of the producer to finance it

It is this last point that, for me, is the most important. Because if a producer finds a script and its author/ producer extraordinary and that he did not “kidneys” are strong enough to produce it and well it doesn’t…

I know that this may seem strange : “How a producer can’t have “kidneys” are strong enough to finance a film ? After all it is his job to find the money. If he can’t do it is that he is not familiar with his job, no ?! “…

The cost of a movie and its financing, the nerve of the war of the producer

…And no ! Today, a first long film costs on average € 1 million…knowing that on this million : 60% (roughly) will just be for salaries and expenses, 30% for the costumes, the food, the trucks, the petrol, etc…, and 10% for the technique. In short, 1 million it is not under the hoof of a horse !

A reading ofa screenplay, the producer know if a movie will be expensive or not. And if he sees that the movie is going to require too much funds and that it will have trouble finding this, and that is not used for anything. The producer would spend too much time looking for money on this project and will take a too big risk if he does not find it. During all the time, or the producer is seeking financial partners, it is not paid. Like all of us, the producer needs to eat ;o) It is for this reason that when you mount a production company, it takes significant capital to the” working capital fund “ to take on the length.

Find 1 million euros is not simple and you do not have 36 solutions :

– The regions

– The CNC

– Banks

– The soficas

– Co-production

– Distributors

– Producer’s own funds

– Tv channel

– Crowdfunding (since recently)

 

The problem is that, very often, everything is connected. For example you can have a assistance of the regions. For this, you need to have a producer (it’s cool it’s you ;o)) and a distributor ! Ben yes, to have this agent it is necessary to reassure the regions and to prove to them that you will be released

The producer’s own funds , and yes ! Except that the producer is not going to bet his shirt. The act requires funding to the tune of 5%, 50 000 euros…we are far from the million, and at the same time they are not are benign ! I come back also to what I said above, it is necessary to have “a good back” because this money you are staking virtually everything on…to develop the project, options, copyright etc…

It is also possible to find co-productions, that is to say, other producers, with other networks to be able to increase the chances of finding funds (abroad for example) but because of this, you will lose units on the return on investment. The co-producer will also have its word to say about the team, the scenario etc, in Short, you run into other constraints.

It is therefore necessary for the producer to know if he will be able to produce actually the scenario or not. I’ve discussed this with a screenwriter friend who told me that production had not taken his scenario, 10 years ago, because the film was too expensive for the producer. By this is meant that the producer did not feel able to fund it, but that after 10 years, the company had been recalled to discuss !

 

It is thus necessary to retain two things from this story :

– The film that you write today can be done in 10 years!!! lol

– A producer who says no for reasons of budget is a wise man ;o). That’s not to say that you don’t produce a day.

For the production of a short film, you will understand that it is a bit like that, everything is related to a problem of financing capacity. A film that is going to have a lot of special effects will be more hard to finance. But the advantage is that the short film can be made with little means but a lot of investment of time. We may falsely think that the financing is also easier for amounts of less important, of course, that it is nothing. In addition, produce a short film for a producer, it is certainly not to make money.

The executive producer in a trade H24

Once we took the ” costume ” of a producer and wants to do his job, as much as to say that he should not count his hours. It’s a job that never stops. I remember that once my day started between 8 hour and 9 hour, I knew that I was going to, most of the time, staying out late…very late..in the night. It takes an incredible energy. You spend time to set up folders, read screenplays, take rdv with the writers/ directors, send films to the festivals, participate in committees, going to meetings of producers, go on a shoot etc…to such a point that in your day you find yourself at a lunch meeting of the directors, or to talk about projects. Then in the evening, you go to screenings, festivals, in short, of the events where you find people in the cinema. Because as a producer you have to be on all fronts. You have to show up, be present and know how to listen.

 

Curriculum of the executive producer

To become a producer, not necessarily need to get an education…I see them launch into the adventure every day. It must first of all think about what we want to do and identify financial means to be able to “survive” a certain amount of time. There are structures, schools that provide training over several years or several months. The training courses are usually expensive, very expensive. It is surely possible to pay a part of some of these training courses through the Dif (individual right to training) or that sort of thing.

 

There are the ESRA, ISCPA, EICAR, CEFPF, LOUIS LUMIERE, CINECREATIS, 3IS, etc…

 

Actually these courses revolve around the director of production…

I know that DIXIT organizes training courses of 5 days around the profession of the producer, but training costs 3000 euros !! Frankly… don’t push it granny !

There is another solution by doing a Master 2 : business of cinema Production and audiovisual. I don’t know what it is worth, but to get the basics, I think that it can’t do harm.

If you want to start, I advise you to try to integrate a production, even small, to ” see ” how it happens. Do an internship, observational internship, meet producers, young and less young people and ask them questions. Go to the festivals, it is also a good way to meet some.

Don’t start without giving it some thought. It is a business network. For a network it is necessary to mix the middle. It is therefore necessary move. ;o) Try to produce a film in an association, find the money, the team around you and manage the project to another. Nothing that this experience, will make you make progress and you learn a lot. ;o)

 

Salary of the executive producer

I’m not going to hide the fact that some earn a lot of money. But they are very, very rare. The major part of the executive producers, who are also executive producers on films with budgets normal, do not earn millions. Sometimes some producers are, in a first time, their salary participation for the film to see the light of day. Then, based on the management of the money on the filming, they could withdraw a salary. Often at the beginning the producers do not pay wages.

There is an average, a percentage specified for the CNC. The percentage of compensation to a producer would turn around 4,8%, for an average budget of a movie to 3.3 million euros,a 158 000-euro salary. This may sound like a lot…But you should know that a movie does not go up in 2 months ! (Well, usually !), sometimes it takes several years…and, therefore, funds to invest on the development.

 

We found prices ranging from 1 900 to 4 000 euros per month depending on the sector : cinema or tv…

There are always exceptions…producers who earn more…the truth is that if you want to become a producer to become rich…go your way ;o)

 

That’s it for this article on the job profile of the executive producer. I hope it has enlightened on the opportunities that you have and this exciting profession. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to post them at the bottom of this article.

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Thank you to those who do, and who already are ;o) Just a last word about the Masterclass d’avignon : I’m sorry, but I have not had the time to finish the editing…I was taken on a project movie. I hope you do not mind. I try to do that this week…

 

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Soon,

Tom Weil

 

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