What does a movie producer actually do?

It’s awards season, which means that producer credits for the big movies of the year are coming under scrutiny.  These are always contentious, as the job title “producer” is a nebulous one.  An actor acts, a writer writes, a director directs – these are all active, specific verbs – but it’s often unclear what a producer does and how many are needed to get a film into theaters.  It can take twelve years (as with this season’s favourite, BLACK SWAN) to transform a movie from a script to a hit, and a lot of people need to take on producer duties en route, first developing the screenplay, putting together attachments, financing, and then overseeing physical production before finally shepherding the finished product in front of audiences.  The Producers Guild of America is very wary of studio bosses inserting their name into the credits (no one’s going to say no) at the last minute, and has strict criteria that must be met by those claiming the title producer.  They also only allow three people to share the honours, which, when it comes to giving out gold statuettes, often leaves some very disgruntled players sitting in the auditorium rather than bounding onstage, speech in hand.

The LA Times has the full story on this year’s diss: Ryan Kavanaugh.

LA Times