How Executive Producers Work

Motion Picture Executive Producer

"Indiana Jones" executive producer George Lucas, right, poses with star Harrison Ford at a recent premiere.
"Indiana Jones" executive producer George Lucas, right, poses with star Harrison Ford at a recent premiere.
© Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

Because movie making is such a complicated process, the motion picture executive producer usually supervises and is assisted by others. Each of these lesser producers handles some aspect of production responsibilities. To get the full picture, let's look at the responsibilities of a hands-on producer who oversees the film, rather than a producer who simply provides financial backing or lends a name to the project.

A movie executive producer is often responsible to the studio for making sure a high-quality film is completed on time and on budget. The producer supervises the whole process from initial concept to distribution to theaters, while serving as liaison to the studio and managing the work of hundreds of individuals [source: Full Sail].

During preproduction, the executive producer finds the material that will become the movie story, gets the script written and finds financing for the film. Working alone or with the studio, he also finds the director and cinematographer, assists in casting the lead actors and hires a production team, including crew and producers.

This is also the time to determine locations and budget, develop a shooting schedule as well as a detailed production plan.

During production, the executive producer monitors the production timetable and budget, keeps the movie on its original creative track and may offer creative suggestions to the director. The executive producer also keeps the studio informed about the progress of filming and acts as a liaison between the studio and the film's creative and technical staff.

During postproduction, the executive producer reviews the edited cut of the film and offers suggestions for revising the film before the final cut. He also works with a movie distributor to secure distribution and reviews the distributor's advertising campaign for the film [source: World Book].

For the most part, as you can see, the executive producer is involved more with the business than the art of filmmaking. That's not so true for an executive producer in the music industry.

Keep reading to find out how the role of a music producer differs from that of an executive producer in the film industry or a television producer.