Have you ever wondered why businesspeople make good film producers? The answer is simple: filmmaking is an art, but film production is a business. To further understand this answer, it helps to learn a little about the typical day of a film producer.
Some producers like to keep traditional Hollywood office hours; others are night owls or will adjust to the schedules of the individuals they are doing business with. A producer based in Germany, for example, may have no choice but to work strange hours if the project she is developing will film in Southern California. Whatever their chosen schedule, producers often start their day with a few minutes of personal time. Yoga, self-affirmation, positive thinking, or prayer are some of the activities that producers will complete before checking their email, voicemail, messaging platforms, and social media apps.
You may be surprised to learn that Hollywood still runs on email while other enterprise sectors have migrated to Slack and other collaborative communication apps. When Canadian technology firm Research in Motion announced that it was bringing back BlackBerry smartphones with physical keyboards, quite a few film producers were very happy to hear the news. Email is something that movie producers cannot live without; this is how they begin their workday, and the messages they pay closer attention to are usually from attorneys and business partners who need immediate responses.
Since the film industry is a business of relationships, producers often find themselves setting up concierge-like services. A meeting with investors may require restaurant reservations or transportation, a film crew shooting on location may need catering, a marketing team may need credentials to visit a movie set; these are all matters that producers will try to handle early during their work session.
Producers are expected to attend lots of meetings; it is up to them to arrange their schedules around these obligations, which can often interfere with lunch and dinner, hence the legendary “Hollywood power lunch.” Depending on the stage of production that their projects are in, producers may need to do some scouting for locations, or they may have to visit a set where shooting is already taking place. Marketing and distribution meetings are crucial, and they may go into overtime because they tend to be strategic.
As previously mentioned, film production is a business that must be run as such; for this reason, producers often handle management and administration tasks on a daily basis. If they enjoy the convenience of assistants and supervisors, producers can take on executive roles, but they will still be expected to keep an eye on their projects by means of reviewing dailies and holding creative sessions.
Dailies are collections of raw footage scenes filmed by the production crew; producers can review them along with investors and editors for the purpose of seeing how the project is coming along and if it is meeting creative goals. Footage can be discussed with foley artists, audio engineers and visual effects specialists to determine how post-production work will be done.