Associate Producer Vs. Executive Producer

Confused by all the producer credits on your favorite shows and films? Associate producers work on sets ensuring that each day goes smoothly, and they answer to an executive producer, who oversees projects from inception to release.

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Comparing Associate Producers to Executive Producers

Executive producers are ultimately responsible for the finished product, whether it is a TV show or a video game. This means they must manage all operations with the goal of creating a critical and financial success. Part of this oversight includes leading a team of associate producers, who ensure the goals of the project are being met on a day-to-day basis.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Associate Producer Bachelor's Degree in Film, Media, or a related field $48,123 (film/TV) 12% (for all producers and directors)
Executive Producer Bachelor's Degree in Film, Media, or a related field $90,917 12% (for all producers and directors)

Source: *PayScale.Com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Associate Producers vs. Executive Producers

The entertainment industry employs numerous kinds of producers. What each producer does can vary depending on the project. In most cases, the executive producer is in charge of managing a project, from beginning to end. An associate producer works under the executive producer, either by leading a specific department or balancing a variety of tasks. While executive producers must take a step back and look at the big picture, associate producers may be more hands-on on a daily basis, from operating media equipment to dealing with writers and editors.

Associate Producer

An associate producer in the entertainment industry works with other producers in order to create compelling, entertaining content. Daily responsibilities depend on the project and what is assigned by the executive producer. This may include writing, assisting with editing, or acting as a liaison between different departments. Associate producers must have sharp communication skills, be able to think quickly on their feet, and be prepared for the unusual schedules that may come with working in entertainment. Most associate producers have a bachelor's degree in film or communications, as well as at least two years of production experience.

Job responsibilities of an associate producer include the following:

  • Create schedules that ensure all departments work in harmony
  • Edit scripts or video so they meet standards of the project
  • Handle media equipment proficiently
  • Stay up-to-date on entertainment trends and social media

Executive Producer

Executive producers are leaders in charge of projects in the world of film and television. These producers routinely oversee projects from inception to release. This means that executive producers juggle many responsibilities at once, such as budgeting, hiring, and delegating to other producers who are working on the project. Executive producers must also understand what the public wants in entertainment, be able to negotiate contracts and other business deals, and handle unusual hours and demanding deadlines. They generally have at least a bachelor's degree in film or a related field, along with work experience in careers connected to this profession.

Job responsibilities of an executive producer include these tasks:

  • Ensure quality of the final product
  • Take care of any issues that arise in all project teams
  • Test the public market to decide likes and dislikes of consumers
  • Supervise the finances of various projects

Related Careers

For those looking to break into the world of producing, you might look at the role of production assistants as they also juggle many responsibilities in the entertainment world. If leading a film or television production sounds appealing, you may also be interested in becoming a director.

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