What is an Executive Producer? What Do They Do?

executive producer

Executive Producers are the head producers who supervise other produces. They oversee the creation of a commercial, film, TV series, and music. In some cases, the executive producer is also the creator or writer of the TV series. Their main responsibility is to ensure the project is completed by the deadline within the set budget and to the agreed technical and artistic standards.

What Does an Executive Producer Do?

The role of an Executive Producer changes slightly depending on whether they are in television, film, or music.

In television and film, an executive producer supervises the financial and creative aspects of the production. They handle daily and developmental management, promotional campaigns, and publicity. They also help develop or create the characters, concept, and format of the show or movie. They attend story and script meetings, hire the director and cast, set the budget for the project, approve all storylines and necessary changes to those storylines, and oversee adherence to the production schedule. They also approve the final cut of each episode or the film before it airs.

In contrast, music executive producers are much more heavily involved in the actual creative process and decision-making. They have final say over the designing, staging, and presentation of the artist and their music. These executive producers handle everything that goes into a musical production including songwriting, hiring musicians, vocal arrangements, sound engineering, music distribution, cover art, marketing plans, orchestrations, and the production budget and schedule.

How To Become an Executive Producer

To become an Executive Producer, there is no set educational path to take. However, many executive producers you know today got their start low in the industry hierarchy, earned relevant diplomas or degrees, and worked their way up from there. This is generally the best way to break into the industry and become an executive producer.

In film, executive producers start with directing, acting, writing, cinematography, or editing. If you study film or cinematography in college or university, you may get some experience producing and directing short films during your education. Once in the industry, you’ll start at the bottom and work your way up.

In television, this process is very similar. Many executive producers in this field start with a degree in media or communications and gain valuable experience while working their way to the top.

In the music industry, most executive producers get their start by having a background in songwriting, performing, or playing an instrument. Many also have a degree in the music business, sound engineering, or music business. Again, you’ll start near the bottom and work your way up to executive producer.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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