Producer, Director and WriterMuch research has been done into how teams should be put together for maximum efficiency, and one of the most important factors is the attention given to assigning the right people to the right roles. By looking at a system of business team roles, we might come to better understand the positions of the producer, director and writer in the film development process.

The nine major team roles are summarized as follows:

Plant – These are highly creative types who have been planted into the team, with the hope that they will provide the seeds of ideas that will ultimately germinate into major developments. These types of people are inventors and innovators, and they are quite good at solving tough problems.

They often prefer to work at a distance from the rest of the team members. Their personalities can tend toward being introverted, and they may take both praise and criticism personally and strongly. One should anticipate certain weaknesses that are allowable in this type of team member, including a tendency to be up in the clouds and to sometimes ignore practical details.

Shaper – These are dynamic personalities that thrive on high pressure situations. They can be challenging and sometimes highly strung. Their strong self-motivation provides them with the courage and the drive to overcome the types of obstacles that can arise in the film industry. Shapers are extroverted, charismatic and highly competitive. The weaknesses that one should anticipate and allow for in shapers,include a tendency toward impatience and provocation.

Resource Investigator – As the name of this category suggests, these are people who are good at developing contacts and exploring possible opportunities. They are enthusiastic, extroverted and communicative. The main weakness to expect and allow for in these types of personalities is their liability to lose interest in a project after an initial fascination.

Coordinator (also called Chair) – Usually a good choice for team leader, a coordinator is emotionally mature, confident and calm in the face of stress. He or she is a strong communicator who can delegate responsibility well, clarify goals to other team members, and generally promote good decision making. The coordinator is extremely good at understanding what the objectives of a project should be. One weakness which is allowable for this role is an ordinary level of creativity or intellect.

Completer Finisher – This type of personality is extremely detailoriented. He or she will painstakingly search for errors or omissions in a project and goes great lengths to fulfill deadlines. The completer finisher is conscientious but can also be anxious. One should anticipate and allow for the tendency to be a perfectionist, to worry about the little details, and to have difficulty relinquishing control.

Monitor Evaluator – This is a person who can look at and consider all the options from an unemotional, discerning, and strategic standpoint. He or she can generally be relied upon to make accurate judgment calls. Expected and allowable weaknesses for this personality include a stubborn streak and an inability to motivate other team members.

Implementer (also called Company Worker) – This is a conservative, predictable, disciplined and dutiful personality type.  The implementer will have a strong ability to organize well. He or she will exhibit practical common sense and will be very hard working. The implementer is quite adept at transforming theory and ideas into practice. The main weakness to anticipate here is an unresponsive stance  toward ideas that have not yet been proven, as well as a lack of flexibility.

Team Worker – This is the cheerleader of the group. The team worker responds well to people and to situations and promotes team spirit. He or she can be sensitive or mild, and is very socially oriented. One should anticipate that the team worker may be indecisive and dependent on others in moments of crisis.

Specialist – This is a person who has in-depth knowledge and expertise regarding a key aspect of the team’s goal. The main weakness to expect from specialists, not surprisingly, is that they may tend to get tunnel vision on their own subjects.

When putting together a team of people for a particular project, it can be quite detrimental to assign too many people with similar characteristics to that team. For example, a team with too many plants, or creative types, will struggle to finish anything.

On the other extreme, a team with too many completer finishers or too many monitor evaluators may never even get started. An effective team will have a mixture of personalities whose individual strengths and weaknesses will complement each other. With this in mind, we should consider which of these traits work best within the producer-director-writer dynamic.

Writers need to be plants, first and foremost. Their primary role is to provide creative output and to help come up with resourceful solutions when issues arise with the script.

Directors can also be plants (like the writers), using their creative power to visualize and help realize the script into a film. They should also be shapers, with an ability to thrive during high pressure situations and to push through and find solutions to any obstacles that may arise during the shoot. Their charismatic and extroverted personality traits will aid them as they guide others through the filming process. Finally, directors should also be resource investigators, another role with enthusiasm, communicability, and extroversion as its primary traits. In addition, the director as resource investigator will be good at networking and exploring opportunities.

Producers have a far more complicated role than writers and directors, because they must wear different hats at different stages of the film production process. Therefore, the producer should exhibit different traits from the following list at different times, as the situation calls for it. First, the producer must be a coordinator or chair, the leader of the team who can maturely and calmly delegate responsibilities. He should also be a resource investigator (like the director), with an extroverted and enthusiastic personality. The producer should be a shaper (also like the director) with his dynamic and challenging perspective.

His conscientiousness and painstaking attention to detail will match the role of the completer finisher, while his ability to soberly and discerningly see all the available options and then make strategic  judgment calls, will follow the role of the monitor evaluator. Finally, the producer should be an implementer; a conservative, disciplined, predictable, and hard-working organizer, with practical common sense and the ability to turn ideas into action. In a few cases, but certainly not always, a producer might have the creative characteristics of a plant (like writers and directors). This is especially the case for creative producers.

Clearly, the list of personality traits needed by a producer is extraordinarily varied, sometimes even appearing to be contradictory. Due to the difficulty to achieve all of this in just one person, sometimes two people divide the role of producer between them in order to manage the workload most effectively.

One great example of this is the team found at Palace Pictures and Scala Productions, where creative producer Stephen Woolley focuses on working with the director and cast, while the business producer Nik Powell concentrates on running the company and raising production finance. By dividing the team roles (and personality trait requirements) between themselves, Woolley and Powell have turned themselves into a highly efficient production team.