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Difference Between Producer & Director of a Film

Producers and directors share similar roles, with job duties that change from movie to movie, so distinguishing them can be rather difficult for someone who doesn't know the facts. Read on for more information on what differentiates these two positions.

Comparing Producers and Directors of Films

Whether someone is a film director or a producer, one has significant authority and control over the majority of the film process. A director is the artistic and dramatic force and a producer is the commercial and financial force.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Annual Salary (2017)** Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Producers Bachelor's degree and relevant experience $66,618 for film/tv producers 9% for all producers and directors
Directors Bachelor's degree and relevant experience $58,326 for film directors 9% for all producers and directors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

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Responsibilities of Producers vs. Directors

Producers and directors are both integral to the outcome of a film, but their responsibilities differ. Directors lead the creative aspects of a film while producers handle the business and financial ends of it. The producer makes sure the production runs smoothly and according to schedule, so the final fate of the film is in their hands. Directors are in charge of how everything is done during shooting and on the set. Even though the duties are highly variable, the main disparity is a producer works more behind the scenes whereas a director works intimately from the inside.

Producers

A producer's role is not written in stone, but generally, their job is to supervise every stage of the movie-making process. In the beginning, they fund the film by acquiring investors or putting down their own money. They form the heart of the production as they hire a director and crew. There may be an executive producer who runs the show and delegates the day-to-day tasks to a line producer. A producer also has the last word in any major decision. The job can be quite stressful since the weight is carried on their shoulders, and there are often long and irregular work hours.

Job responsibilities of a Producer include:

  • Approving budget, script, and editing changes
  • Scouting locations
  • Promoting and distributing the film
  • Communicating with everyone involved

Directors

Directors are always on the set, where they oversee the performances of the actors and coordinate the crew. They tactfully work with the actors during filming and rehearsal by offering suggestions and ensuring they adhere to the guidelines of the script. A director typically selects the cast members at calls and auditions, though a special casting director may take on the role. All in all, the job demands leadership and creative acuity. Like producers, directors are under a great deal of pressure as they must deal with strict schedules, long hours, and any problems that may arise.

Job responsibilities of a Director include:

  • Visualizing the screenplay
  • Working with set designers, wardrobe designers, editors, and composers
  • Communicating with producers
  • Resolving issues among cast members

Related Careers

If a career as a director interests you, you could also think about becoming a film editor, who puts together and cuts a film under the director's vision. A screenwriter is another profession in the movie business in which one writes every detail of a script, and similar to producers, screenwriters are highly involved at the pre-production phase.


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