This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Line Producer job role on film and TV sets.
A lot can go wrong when making a film – from going over budget, to faulty equipment, to talent drama. Someone needs to keep track of all the organization, logistics, and people management on set. This is the job for a Line Producer; they are the glue that holds everything together.
Being a Line Producer is a very demanding job role that requires long, unsocial work hours – but it can also be a very diverse and financially rewarding career. Below we have broken down a Line Producer’s responsibilities, skills, salary, and career guidance.
You might have noticed on film and TV credits that there can be multiple producers. The lead producer is the one who puts the project together. They start work in early development and are often the first person hired. Depending on the project’s scale, the producer will delegate tasks to several assistants and associate producers.
It’s the Line Producers’ job to manage the set on behalf of the producer. They are responsible to the producer for the daily operations of a feature film or television episode – the liaison between producer and production. Line Producers get their name because one of their first tasks is to work out the below-the-line budget costs.
Line Producers work as freelancers and do so on a job-by-job basis. They are hired by the Producer in the pre-production stage and work on a single project at a time. Each job might last for many months or years if it is a long-running show. This next section will breakdown their specific duties throughout the production stages.
During pre-production, the Line Producer will help hire the production team and set up the production office. Often they are the first person to contact any unions about the production and to employ most of the film crew. One of their first tasks is to complete a script breakdown, which allows them to estimate the budget. The Line Producer is accountable for working out below-the-line budget, everything from crew salaries to equipment rental, set design, and location costs. They will also create the production schedule alongside the 1st Assistant Director.
In production, the Line Producer oversees all procedures and acts like human resources on set. Their main goal is to ensure that the film is completed on time and on budget. Additional duties include – completing risk assessments, confirming that payroll is paid on time, and dealing with emergencies. They work both on set and in the production office.
After wrap, the Line Producer will begin to hand over the project to the post-production supervisor. They may also be responsible for hiring the post-production team and renting out the editing facility. They will wrap the production budget and deliver any additional assets to post. Lastly, the Line Producer will complete any other paperwork, such as contracts and legal agreements.
There is no formal education needed to be a Line Producer. However, you will need to have full knowledge of the filmmaking process and may desire to take a film production course. Alternatively, you may be able to find an internship at a production company or an apprenticeship. An excellent place to find local opportunities is by contacting your local state film commission.
Although there is no set route, Line Producers tend to start out as production assistants before working up to coordinators and managers. They can also begin as assistant directors or by working in the locations department. It will take many years of working in film or television to work your way up the Line Producer. To qualify as a Line Producer, you will also be expected to pass a series of health and safety courses.
Most people who enjoy Line Producing are individuals who thrive in high-stress, fast-paced environments. This job is best suited for people who are people-centric and highly organized. Additional skills include:
Project Management, Multi-Tasking, Communication, Team Leadership, Team Player, Diplomacy, Negotiation, Calm Under Pressure, Networking, In-Depth Film Production Knowledge, Health & Safety, First Aid, Scheduling, Accounting, and Budgeting.
Line Producing is a very demanding skilled job role, and as such, can be one of the highest-paid jobs on a film set. There is no fixed salary since rates are negotiated between each project based on your experience and the production scale.
Line Producers can make around $60K-$100K per year. On some productions, they can get 1-2% of the film’s overall production budget. Furthermore, there is room to progress to producer and executive produce positions that will further increase income. A good place to find advice on working rates for producers and the production team is the Producers Guild Of America.
Line producing is not a job for everyone, but some people revel in this people-centric, organizational role. It’s hard to start a career in the film industry, but take your time to build up your skills and experience. If you are talented with this work, you will find that people will continue to ask you back on more projects.
Are you interested in becoming a Line Producer? If you have any more questions about the job role, let us know in the comments section below.
Join 40,000 filmmakers in getting the latest monthly resources and news for film production professionals!