What you do in the job?
A Co-producer is typically a Line Producer who has also performed a substantial portion of the creative producing function. Alternatively, they may be the lead Producer from another production company that is co-producing the film, or a partner or corporate officer from the production entity producing the film. In rare cases, a Co-producer may also be the person who optioned, developed or packaged the project. In all instances, Co-producers are subordinate to the Producer. Occasionally, the title Co-producer is accorded to a producer who finds, options, develops, or packages the project, but does not own the rights, and who plays a less significant role in the physical production of the film. For example, Co-producers may be relatively new Producers who need to work with a more senior Producer in order to package, finance and deliver the finished film. It should be noted that if a project has more than one Producer, it does not mean that these individuals are Co-producers in the technical sense of the term.
Co-producers' responsibilities vary enormously depending on which type of Co-producer they are. However, they always have less responsibility than the Producer for the completion of the film.
? Where the Co-producer is also the Line Producer, he or she is responsible for all the business and logistical aspects during the main phase of film production. The key difference between this type of Co-producer and the Line Producer is that he or she also performs a significant part of the creative producing function, whether it be helping with casting, recruiting the Director, or hiring other key Heads of Department.
? Where the Co-producer is a partner or corporate officer of the production entity producing the film, he or she plays a key role in the development of the film project, assists with the physical production, or supervises post-production to enable the Producer to move on to another production.
? Where the Co-producer is the lead Producer from another production entity that is producing the film as part of an international co-production, he or she will usually raise a significant portion of the budget for the film, but have less creative input than the lead Producer.
In some cases Co-producers choose to be credited as Co-producer rather than as Executive Producer, in order to indicate that they played an important part in the physical production of the film.
What qualities are required?
Co-producers must have a thorough working knowledge of the creative and business processes of filmmaking, as well as an awareness of the current markets for different styles and genres of film. On a practical level they need to be highly organised strategic thinkers, who can negotiate, motivate, delegate and inspire. The exact skills required for this role depend on the specific function performed by the Co-producer. However, ideally they should possess production skills in the following areas: preparing a budget for the production; securing financial resources for the production process; controlling the overall planning of the production; ensuring compliance with regulations and codes of practice; selecting crew and suppliers to meet production requirements; identifying and selecting supporting artistes and contributors; controlling production expenditure; monitoring and controlling the progress of productions; and supervising the edit of a completed film. Co-producers directly involved in production have a legal responsibility, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to prepare health and safety procedures for the workplace. They may be required to identify hazards, to assess the risks, and to develop procedures to control the risks. They must also review the procedures and check that they are effective in the workplace.
How you start and where you can go with it?
There is no predetermined route to becoming a Co-producer, although a number of FE and HE colleges currently offer a variety of Film Producing courses. Co-producers typically have a number of years' experience in film, television and/or commercial production, and show a particular aptitude as potential producers, whether it be in development, Line Producing or Producing short films.
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