In case you want to get involved in film production and be there from start to finish, perhaps being a film producer is the right profession for you. A film producer helps with the creation of a film through the entire process, from sourcing scripts, raising funds, assigning roles and cast members, and seeking distribution. There is no single path to becoming a producer, but there are steps you can take to give yourself a better chance of succeeding. Make sure you have a passion for movies and have the skills to work with other people on a set. Earning a film-related degree can also help you meet new people and further develop your skills. After graduation, seek low-level jobs in the film industry so that you can move up and become a producer.
Part 1 of 3: Developing Film Production Skills
Step 1. Develop your interpersonal skills so that you can collaborate with other people
Practice active listening by keeping eye contact with the person speaking and nodding. Respond considerately to what she says to show that you respect her and care. Be more outgoing by engaging in conversations with people you know and being genuinely interested in what they have to say.
- Because film producers must interact with crew members, actors, and studios, it is important that they maintain open communication with others.
- Introduce yourself to and chat with new people to help you practice your skills.
- Collaborate with other people on projects or short films so that you can get used to communicating clearly so that everyone can meet an end goal.
Step 2. Practice multitasking as a way to learn to balance your obligations
Write schedules and plan ahead so you don't get overwhelmed with what to finish. Make to-do lists and prioritize the most important tasks to get them done in a timely manner. Try to group similar tasks together and finish them at the same time to stay focused.
- Film producers have many behind-the-scenes roles on a movie, and they may be working on many movies at the same time.
- Do your best to avoid distractions, as they can slow you down and get in the way of important tasks.
- Likewise, it is necessary for producers to delegate their duties to assistants and team members. Therefore, you must accept that you cannot do it all alone.
Step 3. Work on your negotiation skills so that you can get the best deals
Set final goals that you hope to obtain from the negotiation so that you know what the minimum amount you will accept is. Communicate clearly with the other person to tell them what you need and listen carefully to understand what they can provide you. In case she can't exactly stick to your terms, ask her if there is any way you can compromise to show that you are flexible and willing to work with her.
- Film producers need to work with a lot of finances and therefore negotiating with team members and studios to get the best rates is an important factor.
- Don't be afraid to decline an offer if you can't come up with terms that are right for you.
- It takes a lot of practice to negotiate, so you may make mistakes the first few deals you make.
- If possible, hire a negotiation coach to help you. Coaches will act as someone to negotiate with so that you can practice your skills.
Step 4. Learn to make decisions quickly and diplomatically
Mentally review the pros and cons of what you could choose for each decision you have to make. Don't let your emotions or your ego get in the way of your decision, as if you do, you may not make the best decision. Choose the option that is most beneficial and makes the most sense for the task at hand.
- Producers are often asked many pertinent questions that need to be answered quickly and fairly to stay on schedule.
- Avoid making impulsive decisions without first considering your options.
- Ask other people for input on a decision as a way to help you get an outside perspective on your choice.
In case you make a bad decision, take the blame for it and try to fix the problems immediately, if any, as a way to show that you take responsibility for your own decisions.
Step 5. Watch movies frequently to find out what projects are being produced
Stay on top of movie news through entertainment websites or magazines to see what's currently in production. Check out which movies are coming out soon and watch as many as possible. Take note of the genres that are popular and the movies that do well at the box office. Bring a list of movies that you like and that resemble projects you want to work on.
- Producers need to know what types of movies are successful and popular so that they can look for new movies to produce later.
- Watch behind-the-scenes specials on movies you like to learn more about what is needed to produce them.
Step 6. Make your own short films in order to understand what is needed for production
Work with friends or others in the industry to write, film, and edit the short film to a final product. If you have a budget, you should base all your decisions on what is most profitable so as not to spend too much. When your short is finished, share it by uploading it online or submitting it to film festivals.
- Making your own short films helps you learn the process of making a film from start to finish.
- Make sure you can easily shoot the movie yourself. For example, it can be difficult to make something that relies on a lot of special effects, as it can cost a lot.
- In case you don't have an idea for a short film, ask your friends or students from nearby film shows if you can help them with their projects.
Part 2 of 3: Get an Education
Step 1. Earn a bachelor's degree in a production program at a film school
Look for nearby colleges that offer film programs (for example, Production, Screenwriting, or Cinematography). Take classes that focus on film production, script writing, and assisting on set so you can get used to the work environment. Focus on your courses by taking notes and getting involved in your projects so that you can get the best grades.
- While you don't have to go to college to be a film producer, it can help you make connections and learn more about the industry so you don't get overwhelmed later.
- Join the film clubs or organizations available to you at the university so you can get involved and continue to network.
Step 2. Try earning a master's degree in Film Production in case you want to further develop your skills
Apply for a master's program at a film school or university in a film-related degree. For example, you could find something that is specific to production, or you could try scriptwriting or cinematography to gain more experience as a team member. Focus on the tasks or projects assigned to you so that you can develop film projects and learn more about what production entails.
You don't need a master's degree to get a job as a film producer
Step 3. Take a business management class so that you know how to handle finances
In many cases, producers must negotiate contracts and award film budgets, so you must learn to spend your money wisely. Focus on the tasks assigned to you and practice budgeting so that you know how to manage your money. Put what you learn about running a business into your knowledge of film production so that you can learn how to provide enough money to fund a project.
- You can take business courses while you're in college, or you can look up community and online courses if you're not studying.
- Also, taking business classes can help if you have plans to form your own production company in the future.
Step 4. Enroll in scriptwriting courses so that you can recognize quality scripts
Many producers read scripts to find new content they want to create. Pay attention to the basics of script formatting and how to structure stories properly so that you can recognize what might be successful. Practice writing your own scripts that you could film and produce in the future.
In case you can't find screenwriting courses, you can also search for movie scripts online and read the ones that are popular
If you read a script that you like that someone in your class wrote, ask them if they need help producing it so that you can work with it.
Part 3 of 3: Entering the Film Industry
Step 1. Move to a city that has a prominent movie industry
Producers generally need to spend time on movie sets to make sure everything runs smoothly. If you live in North America, try moving to Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, or Toronto for film production. Other cities around the world that are known for their film industry include London, Mumbai, Paris, and Hong Kong. Find places to live within your budget so you can move without a lot of financial stress.
Also, if you can't move, you can try to find independent filmmakers in your area
Step 2. Start looking for jobs as a production assistant to kick off your career
Production assistants help others around the set by running errands, taking calls, and making sure everything runs smoothly. Look for positions at an agency or production studio and submit your resume when you find jobs you want. When you're on set, talk to the people you work with to connect with them so that you can develop a good repertoire with them.
- There are some production assistants who work on the set while others work in an office. As you work longer, you may acquire additional obligations and responsibilities.
- Apply to studios that produce content that you like to watch and create so that you enjoy your time at work.
Step 3. Get used to working long hours
Producers are typically the first to arrive on set and last to leave, so you may be working more than 12 hours a day depending on the size of the project. Also, you may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays to finish filming, so make sure you're comfortable with working during that time. Make sure you get plenty of rest when you're not working so you can stay alert during the next day's shoot.
It can be difficult to balance personal and professional relationships as a producer. Make sure to schedule some time to meet with people so that work doesn't overwhelm you too much
Step 4. Network with other people in the industry to form connections and move up
Spend time with your supervisors and the team members you work with and have friendly conversations with them. Invite people you work with to dinner or drinks so that you can bond with them. Be polite and stay in touch with the people you meet, as they may remember you and inform you of upcoming opportunities.
Connect with other film professionals and expand your network through websites like LinkedIn or Backstage
Avoid burning bridges with people, as they could say that it is difficult to work with you and make it difficult for you to find projects in the future.
Step 5. Fund independent projects that you are passionate about, if possible
If you find a filmmaker you like and want to work with, invite him or her out for coffee or lunch and talk to him about projects. Let him know that you want to help with his next production and find out what he needs. If you have extra money, offer to help him so that the project can be completed. Otherwise, you can ask him if there is any other way to help him.
Avoid getting involved with projects that you are not passionate about, as you may get tired of working there in case it is a long shoot
- Film production typically runs on a fickle schedule. Therefore, you may need to work long hours and also on weekends and holidays.
- Because movie producers don't have great constancy or job security, you may need to have additional side jobs.