What does a line producer do?
Line producers are at the heart of a production, hiring the crew, allocating the money and making sure the filming is done safely, creatively, on budget and on time. They are typically the most senior member of the production team, second only to the producers.
Working closely with heads of departments, they decide how the money gets spent, delivering the best possible product to the producer or series producer while offering the director and heads of department enough money to realise the vision.
Line producers are ultimately responsible for all the crew and all the contracts. They hire crew, heads of department, caterers and studio facilities, over-seeing all the deals and paperwork. They understand the artistry of film-making, foresee pitfalls and disasters and never let the spend extend beyond the bottom line.
During production, line producers keep track of the budget and the filming process. They are on set and in the office, dealing with the unexpected and helping find creative solutions. At the end of the shoot, they oversee the wrap, or winding down, of the production and hand over to the post-production supervisor.
What’s a line producer good at?
- Communication: get on well with a wide range of people, be clear about contracts and expectations, ensure everyone understands what needs to happen and when and why, create a strong team
- Film production: have an in-depth knowledge of how films are made, love of the process, good contacts in the industry
- Organisation: plan a production schedule, shooting schedule, budget, keep accounts and do the maths
- Negotiation: get the best deals for services, keep everyone happy, especially when there’s a gap between the director’s aspiration and what there is to spend
- Innovation: think clearly when the unexpected happens, come up with good ideas even when under pressure
- Knowledge of law: understand health and safety, insurance and personnel legislation