What Does an Executive Producer Do - Header

Maybe you work in the industry, or you want to, but you’re not entirely sure how it all works. The terms “executive producer” and “producer” confuse you. You think you know, but you’re not as comfortable with who does what as you’d like to be. No worries! This post answers the question what does an executive producer do? We’ll go over the fundamentals so you can gain some confidence, and aspire to something other than some assistant on a one-time production gig.
Let’s jump in.

What does an executive producer do?

Defining the executive producer

Executive producers typically sit at the top of the food chain. They often work at the highest level of the production. They may have even raised the majority of the film’s money. This part you may already know, so let’s take a look a closer look.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DEFINITION

What does an executive producer do?

An executive producer (EP) is the head producer who supervises other producers in the creation of a film, television show, web series, commercial, or theater performance. They may work independently or on behalf of the studio, financiers or the distributors. 

They will ensure the film is completed on time, within budget, and to agreed artistic and technical standards. 

In television, an Executive Producer may also be the Creator / Writer of the series.

Bottom line: An executive producer is usually a financier of the project. Typically, this person may assemble the core team, but will not physically produce the project.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES:

  • Introduce new concepts and ideas that may align with brand initiatives of the project.
  • Ensure production meets competitive goals and projects the intended brand image.
  • Supervise other producers and ensure they, and the production, work within union regulations.
  • Oversee and approve the hiring of marquee talent.
  • Maintain the budget and approve schedules.

It is often thought that EP is like the CEO of production. In major productions, the EP may actually be the CEO of the studio. 

But in smaller companies, or even independent films, the executive producer could act as a creator or writer. Other times, the EP may just own the material and have no actual hand in writing any of the scripts. 

EPs from Netflix, HBO, AMC, and more

The main takeaway of the executive producer is that they’re usually not involved in the actual filmmaking process. It’s their financial role that is their primary focus – whether they’re raising money, or just staying on top of the producers to ensure timely completion.

Attaching major stars is also a major component, and any other negotiating that might be required.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER VS PRODUCER

The differences between producers

So what’s the difference between producer and executive producer? While there are many types of producers, we won’t get into all of them here. We have a separate article, entirely devoted to the differences between them. And there are a ton of them. So make sure to check that out to gain as much clarity as possible. 

But we can outline the basic differences between the EP and the producers. We’ll do this by giving a basic definition of what a producer does. Again, don’t forget to read more about what each type of producer is responsible for.

So what does a producer do?

Film Producer Definition

What does a producer do?

A film producer is a person that supervises and manages the creation and production of movies, tv shows, web series, and commercial videos, amongst other productions. Typically a producer is the on-set supervisor. All departments report to the producer. He or she also collaborates with the director, or other creatives, to ensure the vision is realized. 

A producer may be a self-employed contractor, or subject to the authority of an employer such as a production company or studio. They are involved throughout all phases of production from inception to completion.

Note that the key difference between a producer and an executive producer is that a producer is more hands on, and makes decisions at the ground level. 

They are considered the supervisor on-set, and are involved in all phases of production. While producers are also focused on the technicalities of production like an EP, they have more of a creative hand than the EP.

Up Next

The Various Types of Producers 

You now know what the executive producer does, but what if you’re not ready for that role? If you want to know more about the other producers who create the films and tv shows you know and love, check out our next post. See how they got there. Learn what you need to do to become a producer. 

Do you know all of the different types? The article takes a deep dive into every kind, so you can confidently decide what role is best for you. 

Up Next: Various Types of Producers in Film & TV →
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