What Producers and Directors Do
Stage directors make sure the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance.
Producers and directors make business and creative decisions about, film, television, stage, and other productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain, inform, or instruct an audience.
Producers and directors typically do the following:
- Select scripts or topics for a film, television, video, stage, or radio production
- Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
- Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
- Oversee the production process, including sound, lighting, and performances
- Oversee the postproduction process, including editing, music selection, special effects, and a performance’s overall tone
- Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
- Promote finished productions or works through advertisements, film festivals, and interviews
Although producers and directors have distinct roles in a production, their work may overlap. For example, directors ultimately answer to producers, but some directors share producing duties for their own films.
Producers make the business and financial decisions for a film, stage production, or TV show. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew, which may include designers, editors, and other workers. Some producers also assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.
Various producers often share responsibilities on large productions. For example, on a large movie set, an executive producer is in charge of the entire production and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup teams.
Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them portray their characters accurately. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They research the topic and may interview experts or relevant participants on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure that the final product matches the overall vision.
Directors work with set designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. They also work with costume designers to ensure that clothing suits the overall look of the production. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product meets the producer’s and director’s vision. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors, who document their product with cameras, make sure that the cast and crew give consistently strong live performances.
As with assistant producers, several assistant directors may work on large productions. Assistant directors help the director with small production tasks, such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. Their specific responsibilities vary with the size and type of production they work on.
For more information about occupations related to producers and directors, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.