Producers vs. Directors

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Jan 21, 2002.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I've been a movie lover since I was born but never was sure about the differences between a movie's exec. producer and director. All I know is the movie director calls all the shots during the operational parts of of filming (like calling "action", duh). Could someone give me a producers vs. directors for dummies lesson? It just might change my perception of films.
     
  2. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    Overly simplified explanantion: the director is in charge of making the movie. The producer is in charge of getting the money.

    Rob
     
  3. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

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    When I read this post I immediately thought of Mulhulland Drive where the producers were forcing the director to put that woman in his film and he was furious.
     
  4. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    Director= Painter

    Producer= Art gallery owner who;

    Secures the funds

    Supplies the paint and canvas

    hires the gallery help

    advises on the process

    deals with the union

    checks in to be sure the artist is painting and not passed out drunk

    yells alot

    pays the rent

    oh and by the way...collects the Best Picture Oscar
     
  5. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The director is an artist.

    The producer is a businessman.
     
  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    David Fincher = director

    Jerry Bruckheimier = producer

    Haha. I'm oversimplifying of course, and I'd politly disagree with the assessment that all producers are merely executive bean counters. Several producers have a lot of integrity about the movies they bankroll.

    Just not many.
     
  8. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Watch "Project Greenlight" on HBO if you want an interesting 'real life' documentary about the differences between producers, directors, writers, assistants, etc.

    A very interesting look behind the scenes.
     
  9. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    While Project Greenlight is a real life documentary, thankfully it is not indicative of a typical professional film shoot. It's excruciating viewing!

    Chuck, the director is the principle creative person, and the producer is the principle fascilitating person. The producer has the primary administrative responsibility for a film, while the director has the primary interpretive responsibility. As a collaborative endeavor, all the artists and technicians work toward the director's vision for the project.

    However, while these positions are well defined, styles and involvement vary greatly in practice. Some director's may oversee some stuff (like primarily considering the acting and production design while allowing a cinematographer essentially creative freedom), while another director may proactively oversee every detail (even doubling as the cinematographer himself or working through one). Likewise, some producers may be a hired hand of the executive producers/studio, charged with getting a film made, while others may actively seek out projects to produce and director's that they either wish to work with or have relationships with. Producers may be hands off during production as well, with everything being handled by the various department heads.

    Incidentally, it would be generally more accurate to say the the producer manages/controls the money than gets it. Regarding major films, the executive producers or studios finance the films.
     
  10. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I don't know, I think ole Hitch has the weight advantage over Selznick.....oh wait, we aren't talking about a boxing match are we? [​IMG]
     
  11. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Often times, the producer might be the person who takes the general idea to do a film and will hire the director and do all the steps to get it going.

    For instance, a producer might say "Let's do a re-make of Movie X" or "Let's create a vehicle for Star Y". They will find the script or hire the writers to get it done, all the while securing a director and assembling some top actors to attach to the project in order ot get it made.

    This is why a lot of bigger stars become producers and exec. producers: as a way to create projects that they want to do and have some control over how they are developed.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The director is responsible for everything that's up on the screen in the theater. The producer is responsible for everything else. There are a bunch of exceptions to this, but that's the basics.
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The director-producer dichotomy goes right out the window when you're talking about David O Selznick. On any picture that he made, the director is well-nigh irrelevant (if he weren't, Selznick would fire him). Hitchcock in Rebecca comes closest to having a hand, but if you look at the DVD supplements, you'll see that Hitchcock's Rebecca would have been VERY, VERY different from what's up on the screen. These are Selznick's movies, and reading his copious memos to his slaves--I mean directors--makes that extremely clear. On his pictures, HE is the auteur, and the director is pretty much just a hired hand to rehearse the actors.
     

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