What is an Executive Producer?

Introduction

On my IMDb page, most of my credits are under the “Producer” category. I have been given credit as Producer, Associate Producer, Executive Producer, and Funding Producer. So what exactly IS a Producer? Today let’s concentrate on the Executive Producer.

You may know I always read credits on TV shows and movies. I have for as long as I can remember.  Executive Producer is a prominent credit.

To find out what an Executive Producer is, let’s go to the authoritative source, the Producers Guild of America (PGA).

Television

According to the Code of Credits – Television Series – Producers Guild of America, the Executive Producer is the primary Producer credit:

Executive Producer:

The Executive Producer credit in television series is given to the individual(s) whose only reporting responsibility is to the studio and/or companies financing and distributing a television series. Subject to the control of the Owner, the Executive Producer has final responsibility for the creative and business aspects of producing the series. S/he will have direct authority over a majority of the producing functions throughout all phases of the series production. The informal title “Showrunner” has frequently come to serve as shorthand for a series’ Executive Producer.

Though television series are frequently writer-driven, the Executive Producer must undertake significant production responsibilities in addition to his/her writing services and responsibilities. Frequently, the Executive Producer is responsible for the creation of the series, including its concept, format and characters. In this special circumstance, the PGA gives considerable weight to such a seminal contribution, and supports the Executive Producer credit for such creators who remain engaged with the series in an ongoing supervisory capacity.

The Executive Producer is the creator of the concept for a series and is also a writer. They report to the people supplying the financing. The Executive Producer is in charge of both business and creative aspects of a project. They hire directors, cast, key members of the production team (such as the production manager, director of photography, and composer), and supervise budget and schedule.

The Executive Producer is in charge of post-production activities such as editing, approving all intermediate results leading to the “final cut”. They are involved with promotion and marketing.

Typically, the Executive Producer credit(s) comes right after the principal cast (if listed at the start of a show); reversed if listed at the end of a show.

Theatrical Films

According to the Code of Credits – Theatrical Motion Pictures – Credit Guidelines – Producers Guild of America, the Produced By credit is the primary Producer credit.

Produced By:

  1. The Produced By credit shall be in the primary credit position among all PGA-sanctioned credits for theatrical motion pictures.
  2. Subject to the control of the Owner, The individual receiving Produced By credit shall have final responsibility for all business and creative aspects of the production of the motion picture, with direct participation in making decisions concerning a major portion of the producing functions (see PCOC Section 1 for comprehensive list).

Co-Producer/Line Producer

  1. The credit of Co-Producer / Line Producer is to be granted to the individual who reports directly to the individual(s) receiving “Produced By” credit on the theatrical motion picture.
  2. The Co-Producer / Line Producer is the single individual who has the primary responsibility for the logistics of the production, from pre-production through completion of production; all Department Heads report to the Co-Producer / Line Producer.

Executive Producer:

  1. The credit of Executive Producer shall only apply to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the motion picture and who additionally qualifies under one of two categories:
  • Having secured an essential and proportionally significant part (no less than 25%) of the financing for the motion picture; and/or
  • Having made a significant contribution to the development of the literary property, typically including the securement of the underlying rights to the material on which the motion picture is based.

In film, the Executive Producer may have financed the film or arranged for the rights to the story.  The Executive Producer is not responsible for day-to-day activities.

Typically, the Executive Producer credit(s) come just prior to the Produced By credit(s) (if listed at the start of a film); reversed if listed at the end of a film.

Conclusion

The Executive Producer has a very different scope in theatrical films as compared to television. The Executive Producer in TV in effect has the scope of the combination of the Produced By, Co-Producer/Line Producer, and Executive Producer in theatrical films.

Please provide feedback or questions in the Comments.  I would really enjoy hearing from you.


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