What is Producing and What Does a Producer Do? – American Film Institute
Several AFI Fellows working on an exterior set on an AFI Conservatory Film School project


What is Producing and What Does a Producer Do?

What is Film Producing?

Film producing encompasses a wide range of work involved in shepherding a film project from conception to completion. It can include securing rights to intellectual property, developing material with writers, negotiating above-the-line deals, reviewing budgets, acquiring distribution deals and more.

What does a Film Producer do?

There are many different kinds of film producers, and many choose to focus on specific aspects of the development and production process. Some producers are heavily involved in identifying content and working with writers and directors to develop scripts they would like to produce. They may also focus on acquiring funding for film projects from studios and production companies or independent financiers, as well as pitching finished projects to distributors. Film producers are also in charge of the legal and business elements of filmmaking, from negotiating contracts to approving budgets.

Who becomes a Film Producer?

The role is especially well-suited for those who have a passion for visual storytelling and are interested in both the creative and business side of filmmaking.

What are the career paths for Film Producers?

Graduates of the AFI Conservatory Producing master’s degree program typically choose to either work on independent projects as producers or work at production companies, networks and studios.

What is the Producing program at the AFI Conservatory film school?

The AFI Conservatory master’s degree program in Producing teaches the vital tools that AFI film students, known as “Fellows” at the Conservatory, will need in order to lead the filmmaking process from story inception through production and post. In their classes, Producing Fellows take a deep dive into the contemporary media landscape and gain real-world insight into the current market. With an emphasis on artistic collaboration, the graduate-level Producing program drives Fellows to master strong communication skills, develop creative solutions and learn how to manage the intricate details of propelling a project from story to screen.

Learn more about the MFA Producing program at the AFI Conservatory film school, ranked the #1 film school.

10 Producing Terms to Know

  1. Co-financing – a financing structure wherein multiple entities share the costs of financing a project
  2. Dailies – raw footage from the previous day of production
  3. Day out of days – a tool to track the cast, including showing when each actor is needed on set, their first and last days, rehearsal days and more
  4. Film Distribution – the process of exhibiting a film and making it available for viewing in specific territories or globally; includes theatrical, television and streaming
  5. IP – Intellectual Property; defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”
  6. Logline – a one- or two-sentence summary of a script
  7. Packaging – a practice in which a talent agency staffs the above-the-line roles on a project with only their clients and negotiates for a lucrative packaging fee from the production company
  8. Pitching – a brief presentation of an idea for a film or television project to potential producers, investors, studios or networks
  9. Top sheet – a summary of the budget
  10. Treatment – a detailed synopsis or summary of a story idea often created before writing a full script

Recent Projects by AFI Conservatory Producing Alumni

One-sheet images of Film and Television programs that feature the work of AFI Alumni

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT – Daniel Dreifuss (AFI Class of 2007) and Thorsten Schumacher (AFI Class of 2001)
BOSCH: LEGACY – Pieter Jan Brugge (AFI Class of 1979)
CHERRY – Shincy Lu (AFI Class of 2018)
THE DROPOUT – Liz Hannah (AFI Class of 2009)
LAMB – Sara Nassim (AFI Class of 2015)
MONICA – Christina Dow (AFI Class of 2015).
NAVALNY – Diane Becker (AFI Class of 2006)
SHEDDING ANGELS – Alexandre Oger (AFI Class of 2021)
SHIVA BABY – Rhianon Jones (AFI Class of 2007)

View more projects by AFI Alumni.

Applications to attend the AFI Conservatory film school open in the Fall. Sign up here to receive all the latest news about AFI’s MFA program and other opportunities. 

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