The Importance of a Line Producer
The line producer is usually one of the first people who will get involved with a film production and ultimately is one of the most important as well. He or she will typically work as the direct line between the studio executives who are only interested in the financial success of a movie, and the cast and crew who are bringing the movie to life. Line producers need to have a strong sense of business, as well as how to manage time, money, and people in order to ensure that the people working in both sides of the industry end up happy with the final production.
A successful line producer typically works as the “line” running between the studio funding a film production and those who are actually working on the production. As such, he or she works as the buffer between those “below” him or her and those who are “above.” A line producer needs to be able to take criticism and complaints from both directions, process them into something that will be useful within a given context, and then utilize the information to help executives and crew members make better decisions. The life of a movie can often depend upon the work of its producers, and without effective work by a producer, the movie can easily flounder in any stage of production.
This means that more than anything else, production of a film is about business and the balance between financial concerns and artistic creation. A producer needs to keep in mind the concerns of those who are paying for the movie, while ensuring that actors and crew members are happy and providing the work needed to create a movie. Line producers often need to understand business concepts like people and time management more than the artistic merits of film theory and the different lenses used to capture different types of scenes.
As such, a line producer often has a background in business or the practical side of film production. Most line producers do not go to film school, and it is fairly common for a producer to have a background in a different field instead. A good line producer might attend classes at a traditional school, or he or she may learn from a mentor already working in the film industry. Apprentice producers may be somewhat uncommon, but the opportunity to learn from a producer on the set of a motion picture is something that just about any future line producer would pursue in an instant.