Producers are the creators and manufacturers of motion pictures. Producers are closely related to both the audience and the distributors; audience members purchase their product and distributors put the producer in touch with their audience while creating a market for their product.  Independent producers tend to fall into two operating profiles: creative protectionist producers and balanced producers.

Two Producer TypesThe Creative Protectionist Producer

The first category of producer profile is the creative-protectionist producer. This is the type of producer that believes the creative vision is pure and holds disdain for any changes to the vision a distributors suggests to enhance commercial success. This describes the majority of producers working in motion pictures today. Often this type of producer enjoys a love-hate relationship with distributors.

Employing this strategy in production can have adverse affects on the movie. First without the backing of a distributor, it can put a strain on financing a project, forcing the majority of the money to come from private sources. Also, the project usually under-performs in its theatrical release because without the funding from distributors the marketing support was lacking. Finally, it can cause the project to lose its distribution altogether in its primary territory, which will affect its ability to be distributed anywhere else.

While some producers employ this profile and go on to win accolades, commercial success, even Academy Awards, the majority of them are struggling to sell a movie they made with a pure creative vision that no one distributor wants to buy. Often financed on credit cards and friends and family, the producer finds themselves in serious debt with no distributor and ultimately no audience to share in their creative vision.

Most producers want to fulfil three major objectives:

  1. Creation: To powerfully reveal the producer’s vision of the story.
  2. Audience: To play the picture to as extensive an audience as possible.
  3. Profits: To recoup production costs and receive a fair participation in the picture’s earnings.

The Balanced Producer 

The second profile of producers are known as balanced producers. These producers understand that there is equal importance in their pictures creative vision, the audience’s reception, and the profits to be made from the project. Movies produced by these types of producers receive consistent global distribution and enjoy profits while attaining the creative aims of the producer. This is largely because in addition to the production analyses for their pictures, they employ a rigorous financial analysis to present to distributors and other sales agents.

For example, when a producer is thinking ahead to the natural cross promotion to be gained from merchandizing and novelization, he or she can plan on including the product development and cover shots in development phase of production and budgeting. So with proper lead times, the novel can feature the movie’s poster art on its cover at retail checkout stands in several territories just before the theatrical release. Merchandizing products can be launched with established partners to help cross-promote the opening of the movie.

Without the producer’s involvement in these processes the income generated could be compromised or even worse lost completely. Additionally by planning them at the same time as the production, the producer has some say in how they are executed the same way he or she does over the movie itself.

Producers are closest to their project. So while distributors are masters at maximizing profits from their movies, they are not as intimately acquainted with the particulars of the movie as a producer. Therefore, having balanced producers that can contribute as much as possible to the marketing of the project ensures the greatest possible success. In addition, it helps create a mutual respect and stability to the process which is better for everyone involved.