What exactly does a producer do? Of all the titles you see as the credits roll at the opening and close of a film, this is probably the most ambiguous. Clearly the role is an important one – no one’s really sure exactly what the ‘key grip’ does either, but then they don’t get their name in big letters as the film opens, and of course by Academy Award rules, the producer is the only person who can receive an Oscar for best picture. So what does the producer do?
That’s what the latest book in our FilmCraft series set out to explore, and though it turns out to be a pretty hard question to answer, the authors, Geoffrey Macnab & Sharon Swart have done a pretty good job of it judging from the reviews that are starting to roll in.
And it’s a question that fascinates. The Pittsburgh Tribune took a look at book and were so intrigued they did a whole feature on it, interviewing author Sharon Swart to get to the root of it:
“The best producers do pretty much everything,” Swart says. “It’s a very collaborative process. They have to make sure all the positions are filled by the correct craftspeople and are being performed at a level that will bring the film to fruition in the right way. A good producer will always know what the film should look like, and never ever takes their eyes off that goal…”
Meanwhile, we were all thrilled by a glowing review from David W. Menefee for Bookpleasures.com, who writes:
‘This entertaining and enlightening book combines the research and writing of two great authors with images culled from the heart of Hollywood, and those elements—like shots from a movie—collide across the reader’s consciousness in a cataract.’
If you thought producers were just the money-men (and women), think again. Producers are the ones pulling the strings behind the movie scenes, holding all the pieces together from start to finish. And if you really want to know, well there’s no easy answer to be found – but with its insights into twenty of film’s greatest producers, past and present, FilmCraft: Producing is probably the best place to begin!
The US edition of the book, as reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune & Bookpleasures.com, is published by our friends at Focal Press. Rest assured it contains exactly the same fabulous content as the UK edition.