Role of the (Instructional) Film Producer

What does a producer do?

  • Handle business management aspects of production.
  • Organize the project and bring it to completion

Types of producers:

  • Producer — Could be over the overall; could be over a single aspect of the production.
    • In small organizations, producers might do almost everything.
  • Associate Producer — the right hand of the producer.  the producer can have multiple assistants who they hand off tasks to.
  • Executive Producer — Gathers the funds
  • Line Manager — Nuts and bolts producer.  They have the spreadsheet with all the logistics. Where the money meets the talent.

Producing a project:

  • Conceptualization — come up with the idea
  • Project initiation — meet with the stakeholders
    • Critical questions to be asked in a client meeting:
      • What prompted you to make this video (objective)
      • Who do you want the video to speak to (audience)
      • Why do you want them to watch the video? What motivates them? e.g. Captive audience? (speaks to adjustments like length, flashiness, etc.)
      • Who, in the client organization, will interface with production?  (Important to have a single point of entry so there are not differing opinions.  An inside pointman to help you schedule B-roll, for example.)
      • What are the final deliverables?  Physical media?
      • Is there a pre-determined budget.  (NEVER START A PROJECT WITHOUT ONE!  There is always a hidden budget.)
      • For how long will it be shown? (You never want a dated video; they won’t emotionally connect. It will impact some your your shot choices, props, clothing, etc.)
      • How will you evaluate the final product?
      • When are you ready to begin?
  • Design Document/Agreement
    • “Internal Agreement” (Design Document/Letter of Understanding) — This is what I understand from our initial meeting.  Do you agree?  Although, it’s not a contract, it can get you through the project.
    • “External Agreement” (Contract) — For big projects
      • Establish parameters — limits the number of iterations for a particular sum of money.

Script Considerations

  • What makes a show expensive?
    • Numerous/Remote Locations
    • Large Cast
    • Children/Animals
    • On-camera Narrator
    • Dramatizations/Recreations (cheaper with just close-ups)
    • Effects and Animation
    • Humor (expensive, scripting, a lot of takes)
  • What makes a show economical?
    • Fewer/closer locales
    • Smaller cast
    • Cast accessible to client
    • Voice-overs

Script Breakdowns

  • Rough script –> Shooting script
    • Add shot numbers logically
    • Organize shots by location


  • Talent — Finding the right people hire.
  • Crew — Getting the right people at the same time.
  • Equipment — Takes time to compile everything you’ll need.
    • Assemble the package, the day before to be sure everything is prepped.
  • Tape Stock — Make sure you have the right recordable storage.
  • Props/Wardrobe
  • Locations
  • Craft service/Meals  — No better way to encourage return business.
  • Transportation (Distance and Local travel)
  • Lodging
  • Second Unit Activities


  • Unfortunately, budgeting is extremely intuitive.

During Production

  • Meet contacts/solve conflicts
  • Talent Release Forms
  • Monitor the Budget

Post-Production Tasks


  • Just to be safe, give release of image forms to everyone.
  • Document everything you use that you didn’t create.
    • Cue sheets.

Marketing & Promotion

  • Complimentary Copies
  • Promotional Spots (“Interstitials”)
  • Print promotion (Program Guides)
  • Web components

About bryantanner

I'm obsessed with learning via the appropriate technology. My professional mission is to effectively deliver instruction to learners in a way that yields the greatest results for all stakeholders involved.
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