Line Producers have a challenging job to make sure everything runs smooth and stays on budget. Their responsibilities are endless and sometimes they have to be the bad guy taking control of problems during filming and apologize to the crew when what sounds like a good money saving idea doesn’t go as planned. It’s quite a stressful job! When it comes to the audience sometimes the Line Producer is a thankless job so next time you watch a movie you like I urge you to give a toast to the Line Producer for making sure the movie got made.
You can probably write a novel describing your job as a Line Producer, but can you summarize your responsibilities from the moment you’re brought on a project till it’s ready for distribution?
DEVIN: Essentially, my job one a script is available (and sometimes, even when we have no script) is to take a project into physical production. I oversee budgeting a project, hiring the crew, the cast, booking locations, setting up accounts with vendors, etc. Basically, I provide a platform for a director to make a movie. Once a film starts shooting (usually 4-5 weeks after I start prepping), in theory, my job gets easier. I resolve day-to-day production issues, but if I’ve done a thorough enough job in prep, those are usually minimal. After a film wraps principal photography, I’ll wrap the production department: make sure everyone is paid, close out accounts, and check in with post to make sure they’ve been delivered all of the necessary materials.
How do you manage stress when time and money is a problem during filming?
DEVIN: I said this question aloud and another LP in the office said “Oh man, that IS a good question”. We all do it differently, and none of us really do it well. Usually sleep and eating are the first to go. But my prerogative is always to not stress out on my crews. No one appreciates a cranky LP and it can decimate moral.
Besides staying on time and budget what are your biggest obstacles?
DEVIN: It’s always something unique. Usually it’s schedule. Balancing actor availability against location availability is tough and we’ll inevitability run into a situation where we have a fantastic location but we can’t use it (or can’t use it as much as we want) because a named actor isn’t scheduled to play those dates. In a lot of ways, the smaller the budget, the easier the production is.
I’m sure every film has it’s challenges, but is a film like ‘Bikini Spring Break’ a little easier since there’s limited if any special effects or is it more difficult?
DEVIN: Totally. I had an insanely small prep window for this film (I had just come back from AVZ) and it would have been way more difficult to do if there had been major effects or action sequences in this project. We had a few locations that were challenging, a few props that were tough to track down, but overall, it was a relatively easy production.
What was the most out of the ordinary crisis you had to deal with?
DEVIN: The school bus we booked. I booked a short bus for the film (I thought it’d be funny) and it ended up only having two seats AND broke down for six hours. At the end of the day, you just have to laugh. If you let things like that get to you, the movie will never get made. Appreciate the absurdity of filmmaking and you’re golden.
I give Devin credit for keeping his sanity with such a challenging job. This year alone he’s provided us ‘Air Collision’, ‘Nazis at the Center of the Earth’, ‘Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies’ and soon to be released ‘Bikini Spring Break’. Keep an eye out for his future films and follow him on Twitter to see what he’s up to.