My husband The Gorilla is halfway through his third movie in a franchise he created. I'm giving a little End Credits Education here at HH, so you'll never again wonder what all those titles mean on the movie poster.
This has to be the most asked entertainment question.
Let's review what we've learned about each position so far. There is the Director and there are Producers. (There are all kinds of Producers, and I haven't covered them all yet. The link takes you back to my very first explanation of Producers in general. For clarity, in this post we're only discussing the main Producer.)a Producer is someone who makes the creative idea of the Director happen. The creative idea may originate from either the Producer or the Director. Either may have optioned a book, found an original script, or simply jotted their own idea into a summary - called a treatment - that eventually became a movie.
Through the duration of the project, a Producer may find the right Director, may pitch the idea to different studios, and eventually will oversee that the Director's vision is being met. They will stay involved from pre-production through locked picture.
A Director will be the captain of all things creative. He decides the look and tone of the entire film, and then executes it. He decides the cameras angles. He will also be the only one dealing with the actors on their acting. An actor looks to the Director for guidance (um, direction?) and is, like everyone else, working for the Director's approval. Even actors are just a part of the Director's overall vision.
A Producer makes the creative idea happen logistically.
A Director makes the creative idea happen creatively.
It's easy to think of it as a kitchen analogy: The Producer gets the idea for kitchen, finds the kitchen, and stocks the kitchen with food and tools. The Producer makes sure all is legal in the kitchen, and that the function of the kitchen is as it should be.
The Director is the chef.
Everyone in the room is working towards the entree, but it's the Director who has chosen the exact ingredients and who puts it together in just such a way as to make it a masterpiece. Or a fallen souffle. Whichever.