The business of making movies has always been a glamorous one, with the biggest stars of the silver-screen reaching iconic status and the draw of fame and fortune filling the dreams of young kids everywhere. But when you get right down to it, working in Hollywood is just like working anywhere else. There are many different types of jobs that must be done in order to take a movie from a mere idea to a two-hour, big screen spectacle. And while it can’t be done without writers, actors, a director, props, sets, makeup, and more, the producer is really the figure that gets the ball rolling. Without a producer, there’s no money, and without any money, there’s no movie. So if you’d rather work behind the camera and you have a head for money and an eye for mass appeal, then perhaps the role of producer is the one you’d like to fill. But how can you become a film producer?
There are a couple of ways to proceed if you want to become a film producer. The first step, really, is to take some film classes. The producer, like the director, must understand every aspect of the process that takes a film from inception to final product. But while a director is in charge of coordinating all of the people and parts involved in getting a film made, the producer must ensure that a schedule is followed and a budget is adhered to. It is, after all, a business like any other, meaning that the main goal is to earn a profit. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than simply crunching numbers and cracking the whip, which is why it’s important to have a well-rounded education.
Producers must first find a workable script in order to get financing for a project, meaning you have to be able to spot a money-maker. Then you have to hire the key players (director, creative team, etc.). In addition, though, you have to have your hands in every part of the process, from casting to choosing locations, to developing a schedule. You have to handle any problems (creative, technical, or legal) throughout shooting, review the post-production process, deal with the ratings board, and approve the final cut of the film. And the buck stops with you, literally. You’re in charge of the budget.
So going to school to become a producer is not a bad idea, considering there are so many things you need to know in order to do your job well. Luckily, there are plenty of good schools that offer the type of training you’ll need to succeed. Of course, during your time in school you should also be producing movies. The best way to learn the trade is through practical application of the things you’re learning, and your time in school will allow you access to all of the components you’ll need (people, materials, equipment, etc.) to get started with very little upfront cost. Before you can start making the best movies of all time you’re probably going to produce a few duds and it’s better if you’re not doing them with someone else’s money.