Insights into Movie Production: Independent Associate Producers 101

PRODUCERS (“What the heck is an Associate Producer”)

Everyone knows what you are if you are an “Associate Producer”….You are a nobody. Allow me to explain.

Here’s what an Associate Producer does during Pre-Production… “NOTHING”
Here’s what an Associate Producer does during Production… “NOTHING!”
Here’s what an Associate Producer does during Post-Production… “NOTHING!”
Here’s what an Associate Producer does during Marketing… “NOTHING!”

So why do we have this title?

I don’t mean to mislead and state that Associate Producers do “nothing”.

They pick-up food for the Producer during script development. They help the producer with his laundry & dry cleaning during Pre-production. They drive scripts from the office to the photocopy store, to the casting director, to the principal actors. They baby-sit the director’s dog during the shoot. They massage the producer’s neck muscles during production and water the producer’s cactus at his condo.

During Post no one asks the Associate Producer for his/her opinion on a slice, a cut (Rough Cut, Assemble Edit, First Cut, etc) or his/her opinions on music to compose or posters and one-sheets during marketing, etc. etc.

So why the heck do we have the title “Associate Producer” and what does that credit mean.

Associate Producer is the “freebie credit”, the “giveaway credit”, the credit that ‘nobody wants”.

“Producer” is the dreamer-visionary who gets the ball rolling; has an idea; gets the script; slaps on a budget and chases money.

“Executive Producer” is usually an attorney who does the legal work and secures the money for the “Producer”.

“Co-Producer” is normally given to individuals or companies who fund (they write checks) at least 30% of the budget.

“Line-Producer” is a production manager who’s been on numerous shoots, that have never gone over-budget, and knows how to mechanically, not artistically, make a feature film and is in charge of logistics, camera, crew, schedules & budget during the shoot.

Now, let’s get to “Associate Producer”.

You, the Producer, might have a friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a son, a daughter who you want to help with an Opening Title Credit…then you give this person “Associate Producer”

Or, you might know someone, who says they no someone, who might know someone who HAS MONEY. Then to get to that person that HAS THE MONEY you will give the first person a promise of “You can be the Associate producer” but make sure you always add…”If He/She gives us the money”.

Or you might know a small commercial production company, that owns a Red Camera or two, to partner with the owner and he will be the “Associate Producer”.

Or maybe you have an actor, with a name value, that when attached to your project you can get a sugar-daddy to write a check. So instead of giving that actor a big cash payment (pay-or-play), which you don’t have, you offer the actor an Associate producer” credit.

I think you’re starting to get it.

The “Associate Producer” is the giveaway credit, that you give to someone, who for some small reason likely helps you to get the money.

You’re the “PRODUCER”. Keep that Opening Title Credit for yourself.

Happy Filmmaking, The Filmbay Team,
*Produce *Finance *Write *Direct *Distribute *Profit

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