Being a producer for film can entail a lot of similar responsibilities, but being a producer of a documentary means you have to capture truth. I have undertaken research into the key responsibilities it takes to be a filmmaker in the documentary format. I have then further analysed what I believe to be my strong and weak areas are and how I can work to these strengths/strengthen my weaknesses.
According to Creative Skill Set, these are some major points on how to be a producer: (creativeskillset.org, 2016):
Before production begins, the producer has a key role to play. “In pre-production, Producers bring together the key members of the creative team.“(creativeskillset.org, 2016). So, to be successful, I need to work very closely with all members of my team in order to ensure that everyone knows their role and how they will be contributing. This ensures that I know my production inside and out and gives my team the opportunity to produce to the best of their abilities.
Also during pre-production, another key element of my role is to help in the funding, producers “help the Executive Producers to raise money for the production“.(creativeskillset.org, 2016) As I am the only producer on the production, I will take on the entire responsibility for raising funds. Despite not using it before, I have heard numerous success stories using the fundraising site IndieGoGo (IndieGoGo, 2016) and will use it as the main source for funding. To be able to get people to part with their money, I will have to be creative with my marketing techniques in order to sell my idea to them. Whilst this puts a lot of creative pressure on myself, it allows me to have maximum creative control over the image I present of my project in marketing.
In terms of logistics, “Producers also approve locations, studio hire, the final shooting script, production schedule and budget.”(creativeskillset.org, 2016) So, I would be in charge of ensuring that all of these sections are being taken care of. Whilst a scripted film will deal with these sections in a certain way, you have to view it differently for documentary and take special account for each section and how it’s applicable for the documentary genre. For instance:
Shooting Script – Have a good treatment that I can work towards as a goal.
Locations – Scout the possible locations for interviews and areas the subject is often in terms of acoustics, possible camera locations and lightings.
Budget – Work out how much money you need for each aspect of the production and ways of funding it.
Production Schedule – Create a schedule in terms of when each aspect of your production will be undertaken.
Something that doesn’t change from scripted film and documentary film is the fact that “once the film is in production, Producers are responsible for the day-to-day smooth operation of the team.”(creativeskillset.org, 2016) So, throughout the production, I must either undertake the responsibility for a certain aspect running smoothly first hand or ensure it is second handedly. The Nest offers further insight into producers, especially for documentaries, saying that ‘stories can evolve and take on new dimensions throughout the interview and shooting phase’. (The Nest, 2016)So in order to be successful, I must be able to constantly be able to adapt to new circumstances as they arise.
According to creative skill set, a producer in a typical situation would; “During post production, Producers are expected to liaise with the Director and post production department.” (creativeskillset.org, 2016) Sharing ideas with all of the post production team is a key part in creating a project in the producers eyes. However, as I am working on a very low budget, and fancy myself as a decent editor, I will be editing the documentary myself, whilst getting a second opinion on certain aspects when needed from other professionals. This will be a very lengthy process but also it ensures that everything is done to the creative vision I have, both stylistically and sending the same truth that I want to show, whilst cutting out any excess that is unnecessary information.
Distribution is also a category that falls into the realm of the producer’s responsibilities. (The Nest, 2016) I have done this on smaller levels before, this will be much larger due to the nature of the project. However, I feel I can definitely upscale my efforts, putting more importance into my promotion campaign in terms of time, resources and imagination.
IndieGoGo.com, (2016) available from <https://www.indiegogo.com; [21 April 2015]
Creativeskillset.org. (2016) Producer [online] available from <http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/757_producer> [21 Apr 2016]
The Nest, (2016) Responsibilities Of Documentary Producers [online] available from <http://woman.thenest.com/responsibilities-documentary-producers-12471.html> [10 April 2016]