The Producer’s job stretches from the widely undervalued discovery stage, where they find strong material and corral together those who will bring it all to life, through production to sales and delivery.
Through each stage the producer has a mission: the effective, creative and collaborative management of priorities. Every film is a prototype, and every complex decision in film production, however familiar-seeming, is strangely individual. Producers have the duty and privilege of managing filmmaking decisions from conception to presentation. We know that they are the producers partly because they arrive in this process first and quit last.
Film school units, with their overwhelming flavour of creative ferment and their limited resources, tend to call people Producers who in fact have the limited creative power of Production Managers. Production Management is a key part of the whole production role, which takes its place alongside Script Editing, Crewing and Casting, Contracts and Distribution and other key areas. What’s important is to create a genuine creative understanding from which to collaborate, and avoid the vital role of Producer getting caught up in the all enveloping powerbase of the Director.
Filmmaking is a collaborative art built on real dialogue between creative partners, and for this reason we emphasise the role of the Producer. For instance, we don’t like taking script meetings without the Producer present. In a small unit fiction producing can be effectively combined with just about any job - other than Director.
Most LFS Production teaching is about project development, script and resource issues. The school teaches the essential detail of production management: preparation, script breakdown, budgeting, scheduling, unit management and the tasks that will be undertaken in the Production Department, from First Assistant Director to Continuity. We offer production forms and agreements through the student intranet to back up this work. Producers are also Script Editors, feedback monitors in the cutting room, and lobbyists to the school and outside supporters.