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Line Producer

What Does a Line Producer do?

The Roll of the Line Producer

Why do films have so many Producers?

How many times have you watched a film or a television program and the producer credits go on and on for what seems like forever?

One of the most common questions asked is what is the difference between the Producer and the Line Producer.

Simply stated, the Line Producer is the person responsible for the daily operations of the feature film, television episode, or commercial. They are the "go to" person if anything is needed. They are the liason between production and producer.

Some of the main responsibilities a Line Producer has are:
• Recruitment of key personnel
• Organizing the Film Schedule
• Plans start dates for Cast & Crew
• Facilitates Location Scouting
• First contact person to the unions
• Monitors the budget through Preproduction and Production
• Facilitates Transportation
• Facilitates Wardrobe and Props
• Facilitates Camera, Lighting, and Rigging
• Facilitates Travel
• Facilitates Safety and Risk management
• Facilitates Contracting of legal permissions and agreements

Producer on Set

Director of Photography, Assistant Director, and Producer

In addition, they must make sure that the set is safe, the crew is safe and must make sure that union breaks are taken according to union rules and guidelines.

In general, they take care of everything on the set so that the Director can concentrate on his or her job.

Line Producer vs. Producer

The Producer of a feature film or television series is a completely different position with completely different qualifications.

The Producer is the person responsible for putting together the project, from hiring the writer(s), gathering the production team (including the Line Producer), and being the main contact between the production and the studio, or the entity putting up the money for the film.

It's even possible that the Producer is not on the set every day. They are usually "behind" the scenes, taking care of business outside the production. The Line Producer is the one on the front lines -- going into battle. As any of you know, a film production set can be like a war zone!

So, is this role for you?

In order to be a Line Producer you must be:

• A leader
• A team player
• A negotiator
• Multi-task
• Be diplomatic
• Ability to solve problems quickly
• Ability to deal with emergency situations
• Work very long hours
• Keep up moral on the set
• A-type personality

One of the most basic questions asked is "Why are they called Line Producers?" They are called Line Producers because they cannot start work until they know what the 'line' is between the 'above-the-line' costs for writers, producers, directors and cast, and the 'below-the-line' costs which include everything else.

What is the difference between Above-The-Line and Below-The-Line?

Line Producers, therefore, are usually the one who break down the script and as such, are very close to knowing what is needed for each scene for the day's shoot.

As such, knowledge and expertise in a film scheduling program is essential to the role of a Line Producer.

Aside from creating the schedule for the film, the Line Producer is also responsible to creating the budget.

During pre-production, Line Producers work with the Director, Production Manager, First Assistant Director, Art Director and other Heads of Department.

While the Assistant Director is the go to person for Director, the Line Producer is the go to person for everyone else. They oversee all preproduction duties and responsibilities. With approval of the Producer and Executive Producer, they hire the production team, set up the production office, coordinate with Location Managers regarding location scouting, and negotiate with vendors and rental houses in regards to equipment needed for production.

You’ve heard of the phrase “On Time and On Budget”. This is the goal of the Line Producer. They also delegate the day-to-day operations of the production office to the Production Manager. Which raises another important question… what is the chain of command for all the Producer titles on a production? In general, it would be like this:

• Executive Producer
• Co-executive Producer
• Line Producer
• Supervising Producer
• Producer
• Co-producer
• Coordinating Producer
• Consulting Producer
• Associate Producer
• Segment Producer
• Field Producer
• Edit Producer
• Post Producer

Of course, not all production will have all these positions. Sometimes, on smaller productions, a certain Producer title will actually be responsible for multiple roles in the Producer title. For example, it would be common for a Line Producer to also be the Producer, if that person is responsible for acquiring the property (the screenplay and the Above-The-Line crew, such as the actors), and also the finances for the production.

Film Budgeting a Plus

Sometimes you’d think a good Line Producer could have been a killer accountant, because they have to understand budgeting well. They have to be able to move things around, and make the budget fit into the money available. Basically, they need to really good with numbers. If you are looking for a Line Producer, somehow find out if their finances are in order – or at least if they checkbook is balanced! Then you’ll know you have the right person for the job.

Line Producers are responsible for health and safety procedures, and for filing or resolving any insurance claims.

Line Producers are usually employed on a freelance basis. They work long hours, though the role is well paid. If a Line Producer has a creative input, he or she is often credited as a Co-producer.

Jungle Software has some excellent tools to help you if you are or are planning to be a Line Producer.

Some forms you will need are:
• Call Sheet Template or software to create a Call Sheet
• Daily Production Report

You can download a Call Sheet Template and a Daily Production Report here.

For a complete working demo of Gorilla Scheduling and Budgeting click here for Macintosh or here for Windows.



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