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Flim Experts: What's the difference between director and producers?

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Flim Experts: What's the difference between director and producers?

Old 02-03-03, 10:46 PM
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Film Experts: What's the difference between director and producers?

In terms of their job duties on set? In terms of pre-production stage and post-production stage? Also just any info that you think might be very interesting would be helpful too.

Would the expert fulfill my curiosity please.

Thanks

Last edited by SuperJim88; 02-03-03 at 10:54 PM.
Old 02-03-03, 10:55 PM
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I believe that the Producer is mostly responsible for raising the budget for a film and bringing all the parties together to make a film. He assembles the cast, crew and investors. It's his job to make sure the film stays on schedule and on budget.

Some producers have been known to help in writing the script and also editing the finished film. The producer can also be a part of the marketing of the film.

If I'm wrong on any of these, someone can correct me.
Old 02-03-03, 11:08 PM
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The way I understand it...
Director - the aesthetics, the design of the actual filming (actors direction, lighting, framing, etc.)
Producer - the mechanics of the filming (scheduling shoots, acquiring props, locations, equipment, etc.)
Executive Producer - puts up $$$ for the gig and sits on his patoot while others do the work
Old 02-03-03, 11:25 PM
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Director: Telling those that know how to do their job, their job.

Producer: Pony up the cash and get in peoples' faces.

Writer: Responsible for the quality of the flick.
Old 02-03-03, 11:47 PM
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Director: The one who handles the actors and collaborates with the art director and cinematographer for camera setups and placement.

Executive Producer: Does nothing except provide $$$.

Producer: Several different incarnations of this position, but they basically handle a multitude of duties, including handling casting with the casting director, hiring the director, the cinematographer, etc. They also deal with all outside vendors including catering and retaining permits and other permissions for filming outside a studio. They also are the liaison between the creatives (the director, etc.) and the money men (the Exec Producers and studio).

Writer: Contrary to popular belief, the writer, unless very powerful in the industry has little or no say on what appears on the screen. A guy like Charlie Kaufman doesn't have that problem, but several writers--especially of action and comedy films--take their money and run--they have absolutely no input in the final product, and most likely their script has been rewritten by a team of monkeys to produce schlock like Armageddon.

Writers don't receive hardly any credit, and it's too bad, but all the germs of the ideas come from the writer.
Old 02-04-03, 04:28 AM
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The director makes the movie. He's the artist. The producer is the businessman. He gets the movie made. The executive producer? Well, that depends. That title is given for many reasons, varying from people who actually work on the movie to people like Steven Spielberg who just stick their name on the movie to get the financing.

Of course these roles vary in many respects. For instance, a Jerry Bruckheimer is far more involved in the creative aspect of the film, oftentimes using the director to make the movies HE wants.

So in the end...it's really hard to say exactly how much influence the movie has from one end to the next. You have to look at who is involved and how much influence they have upon the works that are created. Someone like James Cameron brings in producers like Gale Ann Hurd, but quite frankly he's the one making the movie. She's there to run the production, run the financial and business side. He, while sometimes being the producer also, is very much in charge of the movie made. But the breakdown stated in the first paragraph I think is a good generalization of what differentiates the two roles.
Old 02-04-03, 06:12 AM
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Originally posted by CCGoldRush

Writers don't receive hardly any credit, and it's too bad, but all the germs of the ideas come from the writer.
You're right. My initial statement was simplified like crazy.

My favorite exception: Dave Stevens' involvment on The Rocketeer (wasn't he Executive Producer? It doesn't say on my DVD cover and my roommate's asleep so I don't wanna turn on my TV).

He was either that or Associate Producer or some such. This guy was the writer (not "screenplay by", but the story was his), costume designer, creator and... well It was his! (and he helped on the set.)

That's why this one turned out so good. Sometimes people in the production aspect actually give a flying **** about the movie and aren't just thinking with their calculators.
Old 02-04-03, 11:03 AM
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Producer and Executive Producer credits have been known to be traded for favors and services. Often, this involves Miramax. You'll see the Weinsteins listed as Producers of non- Miramax films, usually because it was initially set up at Miramax, then traded to another studio or they had first crack at the script but passed on it. I believe Kevin Smith got a Producer credit on Good Will Hunting because he read the script and gave it to Miramax.

It's gotten so bad that the Academy has now limited the number of producers who can appear on stage for the Best Picture winning film. I think this was due to Shakespeare in Love having something like 7 or 9 producers go up to accept the award.
Old 02-04-03, 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by RevLiver
Producer and Executive Producer credits have been known to be traded for favors and services. Often, this involves Miramax. You'll see the Weinsteins listed as Producers of non- Miramax films, usually because it was initially set up at Miramax, then traded to another studio or they had first crack at the script but passed on it. I believe Kevin Smith got a Producer credit on Good Will Hunting because he read the script and gave it to Miramax.

The unreleased "Legend of Zu" comes to mind. Saw the opening credits and saw their names listed and was like WTF?
Old 02-04-03, 01:51 PM
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There are as many ways to be a producer as there are producers

It is a very undefined job. Really powerful producers bring their asthetic on to the screen (O'Selznik, Simpson&Bruckheimer) You can actually see their contribution on the screen. Other (most) producers are entirely behind the scenes and hire the director, and leave the asthetic up to him.
Old 02-04-03, 02:25 PM
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A lot of indie films give producer credit to people just for letting them use their house as a location, for example.

Most of these are "executive producers".

Spielberg exec produces a lot of movies, but he really has no creative input at all. Most of the time, it's because it is through his production companies, i.e. Amblin and Dreamworks. Spielberg doesn't do anything with it. You think he had anything whatsoever to do with Jurassic Park III except for saying, "sure, go ahead and do it--I don't care."
Old 02-04-03, 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by CCGoldRush
Writers don't receive hardly any credit, and it's too bad, but all the germs of the ideas come from the writer.
If writers want credit for doing something useful they should do something useful, like direct.

Many of the best films come from improvisation. IMHO the role of the writer is exaggerated.
Old 02-04-03, 03:23 PM
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Yep Executive Producer, does nothing except making sure the movie will get released, does not run the production or nothing, Its like, here put my name on it, and Ill make sure it will get money and release date, Sort of like TOM CRUISE being executive producer on THE NARC
Old 02-04-03, 03:26 PM
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Director: (Usually) has to bend over for the actors
Producer: (Usually) gets to sleep with the leading ladies(or men).

Last edited by bhk; 02-04-03 at 03:28 PM.
Old 02-04-03, 04:03 PM
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Actually, Associate Producer would be the most loosely attributed of these credits. The Producer credit is absolutely not tossed around lightly in a professional setting.

Referencing some of the major names here as an example of trivial Producer naming is out of context, as a few calls by these people may in fact result in the film getting off the ground, and while not babysitting the production they are nonetheless directly responsible for it's creation.
Old 02-04-03, 04:24 PM
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From Joseph's Glossary of Film Terms

director:
the creative artist responsible for complete artistic control of all phases of a film's production; the director's role always involves interpreting the script and communicating this interpretation to the actors by directing how to act a particular role and/or scene. Sometimes a director's duties also include casting, and editing.

producer:
in Canada and the USA, a producer is the person responsible for the financial and administrative production; the person who exercises general supervision of a production and is responsible chiefly for raising money, hiring technicians and artists, etc. required to make a film or stage a play


From IMDb

Director:
The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.

Producer:
The chief of a movie production in all matters save the creative efforts of the director. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors.
Old 02-04-03, 05:35 PM
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reverb:
You've fulfilled my curiosity. Thanks a bunch.

Also, another for all above attempts in fulfillment.
Old 02-05-03, 05:31 PM
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A lot of what has been said here is true, but a lot of it is untrue as well.

The director is mainly creative control during a film's shooting, with some responsibilities before and after. He composes shots (where from, what angle, the general look). Once he decides on a shot, it is up to the Cinematographer and the Director of Photography to make it happen. The director determines how many shots to film, for coverage and stuff. He directs the actors (but should not over direct them, after all, they are actors, they should be able to act), and he decides what film will be printed. After the film is printed, it is turned over to an editor who cuts it together. Rarely does the director determine what you see as a finished product. All the footage is given to the editor to make sense of it. Once the editor is done with the film, the director may then go back and give his approval, ask for changes, etc. This is the Director's Cut (not like an elongated version of a movie, this is a REAL director's cut). The director (with the exception of a few) is by no means the top of the hierarchy. Rarely will a director have "final cut" on a project.

The producer is the say so in the film production. He recruits talent (oftentimes with the director as a collaborative effort). He budgets the film (or at least approves the budget) and determines if any budgetary changes will be approved. If he is active in the production, which he should be, he will be on set for at least part of the shoot. He is essentially the foreman when he is. He oversees production and makes sure everything runs smoothly. Basically, he is there to yell at people; he's the bad guy. After the film is finished and the director's cut is made, it is given to the producer, who then gets to make the producer's cut. This is generally the final product. Basically, if a producer determines something in a film needs to be changed, it is, even if it against the director's wishes. The producer, in addition to the final cut, does have a lot of creative control during filming, if he wants to. If something is not done to his liking, he can just change it later.

As for the writer (even though you didn't ask, some people brought it up), don't underrate them. While their script may be changed often, and they don't have much, if any, say in the production, they still are responsible for the film being made. They were the first one's connected to the project and usually they are the creative mind behind it. A lot of what people attest to the director is often in the screenplay.

Of course, all this varies from film to film, but generally speaking, this should be accurate. If anything is incorrect, I would be more than happy to know and possibly continue the discussion.

Dan

Last edited by cokeguy; 02-05-03 at 05:36 PM.
Old 02-05-03, 06:09 PM
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A lot of what has been said here is true, but a lot of it is untrue as well.
With all due respect, some of what you just wrote is untrue as well and includes a couple of subjective comments (such as "over directing"). But as you indicate, some of the collaborative components of particular jobs will vary from film to film.

For example, note that the Cinematographer and the DP are one in the same. And it is certainly not a standard practice for the director to compose the shots (a matter of selecting position/angle/blocking, field of view, focal length, depth of field, etc). Thus the title Director of Photography. Of course, this collaboration will vary among different teams on different shoots. Some directors are very proactive in composition, others are almost totally hands off.
Old 02-05-03, 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by reverb
it is certainly not a standard practice for the director to compose the shots (a matter of selecting position/angle/blocking, field of view, focal length, depth of field, etc). Thus the title Director of Photography. Of course, this collaboration will vary among different teams on different shoots. Some directors are very proactive in composition, others are almost totally hands off.
Generally speaking, isn't it the director who selects the "position/angle/blocking," while the DP/Cinematographer takes care of the "field of view, focal length, depth of field, etc."?.

Dan
Old 02-05-03, 11:18 PM
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Generally speaking, isn't it the director who selects the "position/angle/blocking," while the DP/Cinematographer takes care of the "field of view, focal length, depth of field, etc."?.
As you quoted me: This collaboration will vary among different teams on different shoots. Some directors are very proactive in composition, others are almost totally hands off. However, understanding that composition is far more than general camera angles and blocking then the manner in which you broke it down is fair.

If you are seeking a definitive answer regarding the technicalities of composition, the closest I can provide that would be accurate is that this is usually handled in consort but typically the DP's influence can't be overstated.

And not to get too technical, but position and angle are often a direct result of preferred focal length and field of view. Conversely, those preferences may be conceded due to available camera placement.

Last edited by reverb; 02-05-03 at 11:23 PM.
Old 02-06-03, 12:21 AM
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To confuse you even more, most big name directors also produe their own movies. They may not be the sole producer (and I'm talking producer and not execuitive producer), but they'll be listed as one. This obviously gives them more control.

Ironically, even though films are viewed as a director's work so to speak, when a film wins Best Picture, it's the producers that get the awards (Oscars).
Old 02-06-03, 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by Jericho

Ironically, even though films are viewed as a director's work so to speak, when a film wins Best Picture, it's the producers that get the awards (Oscars).
That's because the Academy has an outlook on filmmaking that causes it to see the producer (the guy who "pays" for the movie) as the person responsible for the film, instead of the director (the guy who "makes" the film). I know that's a very crude approximation of what the roles are, but it's telling that the Academy does have such a commercial mindset.

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