A lot of people think they know exactly what a movie producer does. The reality is very different, however. Yes, producers like Marc Hagins have some clearly defined roles, but their tasks are so wider and varied that it starts to get confusing. They do everything from raise money to choosing a script, and from recruiting the cast to communicating key decisions.
Because cameras and photographic equipment is now so readily available, and because everything is online, including fantastic academic resources, people think they can “just do it”. In reality, however, being a movie producer is about more than having the theoretical knowledge and knowing how to use a camera. It is about getting real experience from real people, and it often means beginning right at the bottom. In fact, many famous producers, including people like Marc Higgins, had to start by being the gopher on a set, usually working for free.
Opinions Remain Divided on Roles
Should you, like many others, decide that you can be a self-taught director, you should at least gather your knowledge from many different sources. And when you do this, you will instantly see that nobody seems to agree on what producers really do. The core is pretty similar – mainly to be responsible for everything – but exactly what “everything” is seems to be a lot less clear. This is because there are so many different elements to making a movie, and how much of that has to be done personally by the producer depends on the budget. A budget, by the way, that they have to finance and then set.
There are two key schools of thought, however, and that does make sense. The first is the producer who directs multi-million dollar films that are Hollywood blockbusters. The films that attract the greatest stars and that people eagerly anticipate. The second is the independent film maker, who works on low budgets with unknown actors, but tries to create something unique, artistic, and never been done before.
Generally speaking, producers start in the independent film industry. There are fewer regulations and more people who want to work with them, although it is more difficult to get the money together to turn a full production around. Of course, less money is also needed. Most of the time, these producers hope that their movie gets recognized once it is completed, and that they therefore start to make a name for themselves, so they can work their way up to the huge Hollywood producer. Unfortunately, what happens more often than not is that the movies are classed as B-films and become complete flops. The reason for this is that there is one thing that a producer has to have, and that cannot be taught by reading books, by going to college, or even through experience – and that is artistic vision. You either have it, or you don’t and if you don’t have it, then it is unlikely that you will make it in this industry.