Today, I’m going to compare two chapters:
From “The Game Producer’s Handbook,” “Chapter 2: Producer Job Descriptions and Qualifications’ and from “The Complete Film Production Handbook,” “Chapter 1: The Production Team and Who Does What”
I’ve learned plenty of different things that producers do in each industry, but also which roles are actually somewhat analogous:
Dan Irish simplifies the gaming production hierarchy down to Executive Producers, Producers, Assistant Producers, and then PAs / Interns. However, he admits that the titles and divisions vary by company. He also makes the distinction between producers that work with internal development teams and external development teams (especially if they are at a publishing company). Internal production is, of course, a bit more hands-on and has more creative control, while external production requires more negotiation and perception-management. As to the hierarchy, executive producers are the ones who understand the whole company’s brand/vision and manages projects with that in mind, while producers are responsible for managing projects by their individual vision. By extension, the Assistant Producers make decisions in the sub-project realm.
In film, Eve Honthaner describes a more complex hierarchy with Executive Producers, Producers, Line Producers, Unit Production Manager, First and Second Assistant Directors, Production Coordinators. She mentions many other “nebulous” titles as well such as Co-Producers and Producers – again, like in gaming, these often mean different things depending on how the credits were being assigned. And along that note, Executive Producer, means the highest level supervisor / fund-raiser, but can very often be used to credit somebody’s whose name helped the production’s visibility. Producers, again, are responsible for the project in its entirety; Eve notes them as the “one who initiates, coordinates, supervises, controls all creative, financial, technological, administrative aspects.” Line Producers are more “nuts and bolts” and the day-to-day operations. Unit Production Managers deal with scheduling, budget, and external communication. First and Second Assistant Directors are in charge of the set and casting. Production Coordinators deal with the production office and all administrative things and paperwork.
So it seems that as suspected, there are a lot more divisions of work on the film side by the nature of how much infrastructure must come together for a shoot. However, production management and communication are similar themes, whether at the top level or at the ground level.