A creative producer takes a concept and makes it a reality. This process involves everything from generating ideas and assembling the right team to seeing the project through to the final stages of production. A creative producer knows all about each aspect of the production process and how to make things happen. For this reason, creative producers are often visionary, not to mention highly skilled and experienced.
With so many movie producer names and titles, it can be confusing differentiating a creative producer from other producers. A creative producer has a unique role, being responsible for taking an idea and making it into a quality final product. For example, say a creative producer decides on a script concept for a new movie. She then assembles a team of writers and develops the script fully, rewriting it until it’s perfect. She also chooses the perfect director and ensures that a quality production crew is hired. She oversees the casting for the project, and she sells the project to a producer who can secure funding and distribution. As production moves forward, the creative producer keeps an eye on each stage, working with the director to ensure a smooth production. Essentially, a creative producer makes sure that the original vision for the project is properly realized. This person is creative, visionary, organized, well-connected in the industry, and understands all aspects of production from development through final edits.
Most creative producers have a B.S. or a B.A. from an accredited university. Typically, creative producers study film, communications or some related subject. Some creative producers forgo a formal education and are instead highly experienced in production. In general, you must have a lot of production experience to snag a creative producer role. Creative producers also tend to have at least some experience with editing and art direction, so any technical skills you have are a big plus. Most often, creative producers start at the bottom as production assistants and work their way up the hierarchy. Through promotions and trying new roles, you can learn each part of the production process intimately. Finally, when you have a bird’s-eye view of how everything works and have acquired the right skills, you can become a creative producer.
Creative producers are used in many contexts including film and television production, online media, advertising and marketing. Most often, a creative producer is an independent worker who travels to meetings, studios, shoots and festivals. This person is on the go and might work irregular hours, which makes creative producers different from other production staff. Instead of working every day with the same production team, creative producers are in and out to take meetings, negotiate contracts, and oversee other projects they are producing.
This independence differentiates creative producers from other production professionals. For example, there is a significant difference between a director and producer. A director is on set every day managing the cast and crew. Meanwhile, the creative producer is hands-off with the day-to-day operations of production and is far more interested in the bigger picture than the nitty-gritty details of shoots.
Years of Experience and Salary
Creative producers can earn anywhere from $39,000 to more than $99,000 annually. On average, a creative producer makes $69,000 per year. In higher-paying markets such as Los Angeles, a creative producer’s average salary is around $76,600 per year. The more experienced a creative producer is, the higher they land on the salary scale. Certain industries pay much better than others. For example, if you are a creative producer on a low-budget indie film, you make significantly less than a creative producer for a summer blockbuster movie. Creative producer salary boils down to your experience, location and the specific project.
Job Growth Trend
There has never been a better time to work in production. With the proliferation of online media, streaming services and niche content, a massive content boom is happening. For a long time, you could only become a creative producer if you had a lot of connections and many years of experience. The new content landscape is changing that. New media companies are often willing to take chances on up-and-comers with little experience. For example, Buzzfeed requires only two to three years of video experience to become a creative producer. If you are interested in doing movies, the climb takes longer. In any case, there is more opportunity than ever to become a creative producer.