What Does a Producer Do on a Student Film?

October 28, 2023

People often think a producer simply puts up the money for a film and walks away. Though raising funds is certainly part of what a producer — especially an executive producer — does, they also do a lot more, especially on a student film.

There are a lot of disparate skills, artistic and entrepreneurial, that go into being a good producer. From spotting good material and overseeing script development and bringing on directors to overseeing casting and editing, producers are often in the unique position of being with a project from inception to distribution.

“All very interesting,” you say, “but I’m just making a student film on a micro/nonexistent budget! Why do I need a producer?”

What Does a Producer Do on a Student Film?

The answer is that, even for the smallest films, production can easily get complicated and overwhelming. On a student film, a producer plays a pivotal role in overseeing various aspects of the production to ensure its successful execution. Producers often assist in pre-production tasks such as:

  • Script Development: Producers collaborate on script development and ensure it aligns with the available resources and budget.
  • Budgeting: Producers can help create and manage the budget for the entire student film production, allocating funds for various departments.
  • Fundraising: Seek and secure funding or resources through grants, crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter, or strategic partnerships.
  • Scheduling: Use organizational producer tools to develop and manage the production schedule, coordinating with various departments to ensure a smooth workflow.
  • Casting: Producers can connect and consult with the director on casting decisions, organize auditions, and communicate with actors and their representatives.
  • Location Scouting: Producers can identify and secure appropriate filming locations, ensuring logistical feasibility.
  • Permitting: Producers can help to obtain necessary permits for filming locations and ensure legal compliance. Many film schools (like NYFA) also offer assistance in securing these permits.
  • Promotion: Producers develop a strategy for promoting the film, including festivals, screenings, and online platforms.

Their involvement continues into the production phase, where they oversee the day-to-day operations, troubleshoot issues, and maintain a cohesive vision for the project. In essence, a producer on a student film is instrumental in bringing the creative vision to life while navigating the practical challenges associated with filmmaking within limited resources.

Getting Your Student Film to the Next Level

If you love your student film and want to expand it into something bigger and better, or if you want to get it into shape to enter into festivals, or pitch to studios as a feature or television series, or any of the many other ways a student film can turn into a career-starter, then having a producer already invested in the project will be an immense help for your cause.

With their skills in pitching, business, and human resources, as well as their big-picture view of your overall concept and an ability to work from pre-production to distribution, a producer will serve your project well as it grows and gains an audience. Having a producer onboard will allow you, as a director, to move on to your next project without leaving the last one on your hard drive.

Learn Producing Skills at NYFA

If you’re starting to think that maybe there’s more to this filmmaking thing than screenplays and storyboards, you might realize just how important a producer is on even the tiniest of projects. At NYFA, students can learn more about producing student films, working with a producer, and the entire production process from start-to-finish. Ready to get started? Learn more about our Producing programs today!

Image via Lê Minh on Pexels.