The key differences between a film producer and director
A few days ago we watched a movie and while we were watching the credits, we wondered what the difference is between a producer and director. I thought hard and assumed that one is in charge of the script part and the other would manage things on set. That's the best answer I could come up with personally, but of course, after this I got curious to find out what the real difference is because I was quite sure that I was not (fully) right even if I'd be thinking in the right direction. As we are CineTV, I figured that I may not be the only one wandering about this and decided to turn this question into a post. Let's check out what the actual difference is.
When I have such questions, I first simply ask Google the difference and sometimes that gives me enough answer to work with or I dig a bit deeper after reading it. This is the first answer on top of the page:
A movie producer manages the financial aspects of film production, whereas a director manages the creative aspects, such as storytelling and visual style. source
This makes more sense, one is meant for the financial aspect and the other for the creative aspects. Let's dig a little deeper to see some more in-depth information about both roles. Maybe it will gain your interest to become a producer or director one day.
The roles of a producer
As mentioned above, the producers is responsible for the financial part of a movie, which obviously comes with certain tasks as well as extra tasks that can vary on each job. Such as with every job, this job will never be exactly the same working on each project. So what are these common tasks for a producer exactly?
- Setting a budget for the movie
- Hire the cast and crew members
- Planning (create schedules)
- Create a marketing plan
- Manage the different stages of the production
Reading these tasks, I personally thought that hiring the cast would come down to the director but now I'm pretty sure that the producer only takes over after the cast is hired. Which makes sense now, after all that's a financial part of the production while the acting on set is part of the creative process, thus the producers role.
The other tasks such as setting a budget, marketing plan creation and planning the different stages of the production are quite easy to understand that they belong to the producer's roles. He is in charge that deadlines are met and that they stay within a budget for the movie. This has to be managed throughout the full production. It looks like quite an interesting job honestly, if I'd be a bit younger, I'd be interested to explore this further.
The roles of a director
Now that we know the roles of the producer, let's have a look at the director's tasks during a production of a movie.
- Directing the actors from both sides of the camera
- Interpret scripts
- Styling and toning
- Help with casting
- Work with editors
It's clear that a director can often be considered as a multi-talent having to manage all kinds of tasks at once. Such as directing the actors in front of the camera (from the filming point of view) as well as helping them behind the scenes, guiding them, giving them tips etc. This alone can be a lot of work, especially if you're working with inexperienced actors.
As mentioned above, the producer is the person who finds the script for the movie and after that, the director takes over by reworking the script to make it ready for shooting. I can imagine that reworking any script can be a daunting task as the director can have a slight different interpretation of the script than the producer for example, I can imagine this could cause some issues when they aren't aligned. It seems that having a team of producer(s) and director(s) who work well together is very important and can save a lot of time and avoid issues.
As the director is the one who picks the tone of the film, it seems that a director has a bigger say than I thought in terms of how the film is produced eventually. Personally, I thought the director would have the final say in this.
Once the producer hired the cast, the director is in charge of helping the cast understand their roles, explaining the tone of the movie and align the cast to become a great team finishing this production. You definitely need some specific talent for this!
The final responsibility we're going to check is the working with editors. This seems like a very important part, as the editor is the one who will put the film together using the raw footage. Therefore the director is working closely with the editor to make sure the movie will be put together the way that was envisioned. This is one of the last steps in the list of the director's tasks.
Today we've learned about the different roles of a producer and director. Reading all the above, which job would you prefer and why? I'm very curious if the CineTV community is filled mostly with producers or directors.
I will share my personal answer as well, although both jobs seem like super cool jobs and have a variety of tasks, which means it will probably never get boring, I would prefer a producer role. I'm very good with budgeting as well as creating schedules, and I love the marketing aspect as well as the hiring of the cast and crew members. I'm actually surprised by my own answer as I'm a creative soul and therefore expected to be on the creative side in this comparison.
In another edition, I will look further into the different roles of people working on a movie. Stay tuned!