Difference Between Movie Director and A Producer Written By Me, A Producer
Updated: Jul 26
I secretly wanted to be an actor growing up. I think all kids see a movie and say, "I wanna be that guy!" I envisioned myself growing up to be a Power Ranger. Then, I went to film school and said, "I want to be a director!" It's the sexy, famous, flashy sounding job. I wanted to be like Steven Speilberg, who directed my favorite movies like Jaws and Hook. Then it was, "I want to be a writer and have my ideas be told on screen!" Like Tarantino, and that didn't happen.
Now, years of being inundated by commercials since I was a child, I became a commercial producer, the job that requires a filmmakers brain in a business man's body. I can imitate the voice for so many commercials from my youth; breakfast cereals, icepops, and so on. But wait wait wait. What does a producer do?
I'm going to lay out the problems a producer (me) has to resolve, and what kinds of different brain patterns in requires, and why I absolutely love being a producer first.
So the thing with a commercial shoot, there are no reshoot days. No makeups. It's too expensive. Your client and every person on the payroll is relying on this to work out exactly on the day of.
Actors: We need them to show up, look and act the part, and perform. I'm looking at resumes, pictures, and videos of the actors' previous work. We like them and client has to approve them. Client approves them. What wardrobe can they bring? Can they get to our location? Will they be professional? Does any of their agents need extra paper work or clearance, or anything like that?
Cinematographer: This person is in charge of what the movie/commercial looks like. They want more light and more crew because they're trying to make your client's vision come to life. But, the budget can't afford all of the equipment and crew. What creative solution can you do to make the cinematographer happy so he can do his job best? Find a happy medium to make all parties work properly.
Budget: Everybody gets paid, and client can't overspend. This is a finite resource you must make sure that is being managed the right way. Also, you can't spend more time than what you're being paid for, because then you will take away time from other clients who need your time as well.
Storyboarding. Drawing up a picture of every shot of the movie/commercial before it even happens. This is done so no time is wasted, no guesswork needs to happen on the day of the shoot. This can revised like 7 times. Does the client approve? Can the cinematographer execute it? Does the client's client approve? (Yeah, it's like that.)
Location. Is it available. Does it have the right look for the shoot, can it be transformed, does it have access to plugs and outlets in the wall. Can the crew park easily, if not what can be done?
It requires a creative filmmaking brain in an entrepreneur's body. Whereas a director and actor can lose themselves inside the shoot and focus on just what's going on in front of them, the producer must navigate this world and see all parts of the equation to make this happen.
Why I love being a producer: So when I first got into filmmaking, I wanted to be an actor, a director and a writer. But, life gets in the way and I didn't get a chance to do any of those jobs as much as I'd like. But with being a producer, I get the chance to make as many shoots as I want and put myself into any role I'd like. Sometimes I get to direct, write, and even act. I also like that it's my job to run around the world and talk to people and get them excited about making videos for their businesses or in general. I get to deal with the money and be in charge of the whole operation. It's fun, exciting, stressful, confusing, as well as rewarding and a blessing.
Many actors work as waiters while they try to achieve their film dreams, and I could have technically done the same. But I chose the hardest path possible, making sure I learned every type of skill I could from business to different lens types. I'm super proud of my journey and I'm looking forward to taking the next steps.
I'm so curious about learning about the ins and outs of your job/career choice. Can you write your own article, talk about what your job is, what are the challenges, what you like about it, how it fits into who you are as a person?
Please tag me, I'd love to hear more. And if you need any advice on where this can go for your own branding, I would love to help you tell your own story in this way.
PS. We make awesome videos for businesses, Facebook ads, animations, and more.