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Old March 14th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #1
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How to interview a Line Producer?

I'm crewing up for a short film (2-day shoot). It's a small production with many of the crew wearing more than one hat. I need a Line Producer who will also serve as Locations Manager. What should I look for in a candidate? What questions should I ask? What skills and experience would you think are essential?

Many thanks, in advance, for any insight you can offer.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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Okay, so I guess my questions weren't specific enough - I'll start over:

Basically, I would like to hear from people who have produced small narrative projects (one to four-day shoots or thereabout) - what duties did your Line Producer handle for you? Did she or he wear any other hats? How did you assess their abilities for the position? What would/did you learn to look out for next time?

Hopefully someone can offer some feedback. Thanks.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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Do you actually need a production manager rather than a line producer? They're basically the same thing, other than the latter often get a percentage of the saving they make for the production. You usually find the line producer on feature films and other large productions rather than short films.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #4
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I'm hiring someone to be Line Producer/Locations Manager to be on set, handle budget, and liaise with locations, etc., on a small shoot. Need tips on what to expect/look for and feedback from other producers on how to work with someone in this position. Don't know what you mean by "percentage of the saving they make." Thanks.

Last edited by Diane diGino; March 18th, 2010 at 04:08 PM.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Having made short films we had what is called a production manager who handled keeping things on budget etc. We didn't have a line producer, one producer is usually enough on a short. Here's a job description for a production manager, which outline the skills:

Production Manager - TV - Skillset

On a short you usually need someone who is good at persuading people to help you. They also need to be extremely well organised. It sounds like you may be looking for a production/location manager, although production managers are often organising the next day's filming in the office, rather than actually being on the set. You may have to decide how they divide their time and their priorities. Although from your description it does seem to be more location manager.

Any line producers I've had dealing with in the industry not only kept on budget, but got a percentage of the savings they made on the film's budget. Thus they have an extremely good incentive to keep the costs down, so the production comes in under budget. As I mentioned, they basically serve the same function as a production manager.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
Having made short films we had what is called a production manager who handled keeping things on budget etc. We didn't have a line producer, one producer is usually enough on a short. Here's a job description for a production manager, which outline the skills:

Production Manager - TV - Skillset

On a short you usually need someone who is good at persuading people to help you. They also need to be extremely well organised. It sounds like you may be looking for a production/location manager, although production managers are often organising the next day's filming in the office, rather than actually being on the set. You may have to decide how they divide their time and their priorities. Although from your description it does seem to be more location manager.

Any line producers I've had dealing with in the industry not only kept on budget, but got a percentage of the savings they made on the film's budget. Thus they have an extremely good incentive to keep the costs down, so the production comes in under budget. As I mentioned, they basically serve the same function as a production manager.
Hi again. Well, it's not like we're shooting a YouTube video in someone's basement, so I do need more than one producer for this short. Not all short films are the same! It's too much for one person to do, since I've got other commitments and am directing, too. So, the job description at the link you gave me isn't quite right for what I need (and it's TV). Although that site is oriented toward the UK, the description for Line Producer is pretty much what I'm looking for (so I don't know why there's confusion):

The Line Producer

So, even though no one I had asked could really tell me what to ask or how to interview for this position (which I've never hired before), I met this person today whom I feel very good about, and I think it will work out great. She suggested I get a Prod. Coordinator to help.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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You get line producers in TV as well, the term "producer" is very general description and can cover a multitude of things. Perhaps in real terms the only producer that matters is the one that gets the funding and who is responsible for how the funds available are spent.

Production managers work on major feature films both in the UK and US.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Jaws (1975) - Full cast and crew

A production co-ordinator is extremely useful member of the crew.

However, I doubt a short actually needs a full blown line producer, because their role and the producer manager's role cross over so much. Your job description give the full weight of the line producer in a system of management for an investment by large funders/investors/commissioners. Although in shorts made as part of a short film scheme the film's producer can in reality effectively be acting as a line producer to the scheme's executive producer, even through they have the producer credit for the short film.

It can often come down to a job title rather than the job itself. I've been hired by TV & film productions by both line producers and production managers, so in that regard they often serve the same function. I also know full producers who acknowledge they are really just line producers.

Film/TV Careers: Line Producer

You should go with the person you feel comfortable with and who brings the key skills for the job.
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