Reel Opportunities

Line Producer

Also known as: Co-producer, Unit production manager (UPM)

What does a Line Producer do?

Line Producers (LP) are at the heart of the production, hiring the crew, allocating the money, and making sure the filming is done safely, creatively, on budget, and on time. They are typically the most senior member of the production team, second only to the Producers.
Working closely with heads of departments, they decide how the money gets spent, delivering the best possible product to the Producer or series producer while offering the Director and heads of department enough money to realize the vision.

Line Producers are ultimately responsible for all the crew and all the contracts. They hire crew, heads of department, caterers, and studio facilities, overseeing all the deals and paperwork. Some of these tasks may be delegated to the Production Manager who reports directly to the Line Producer. LPs understand the artistry of film-making, foresee pitfalls and disasters and never let the spending extend beyond the bottom line.

During production, Line Producers keep track of the budget and the filming process. They are on set and in the office, dealing with the unexpected and helping find creative solutions. At the end of the shoot, they oversee the wrap or winding down of the production and hand-over to the Post-production Supervisor.

What's a Line Producer good at?
  • Communication

    Get on well with a wide range of people, be clear about contracts and expectations, ensure everyone understands what needs to happen and when and why to create a strong team

  • Film production

    Have an in-depth knowledge of how films are made, love of the process, good contacts in the industry

  • Organization

    Plan a production schedule, shooting schedule, budget, keep accounts and do the math

  • Negotiation

    Get the best deals for services, keep everyone happy, especially when there’s a gap between the director’s aspiration and what there is to spend

  • Innovation

    Think clearly when the unexpected happens, come up with good ideas even when under pressure

  • Knowledge of law

    Understand health and safety, insurance and personnel legislation

Who does a Line Producer work with?

Essentially all departments report to the Line Producer. All department heads create budgets for their departments and work closely with the Line Producer to know what they can and can’t have and have their costs approved. The LP reports directly to the lead Producers and directly oversees the Production Manager.

How do I become a Line Producer?

Line Producers generally start as Production Assistants or interns in the production office and work their way up to becoming Production Coordinators, then Production Managers, and then Line Producers. There’s a shortage of line producers, so if you’re good, you should be able to find work.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in film studies, media, or art, and design are relevant. As it’s a role that combines understanding film production with project management and accounting, subjects that develop your skills in that way are useful too. Combine film studies with business or business studies and math for a well-rounded skill set.

Get project management experience: While you are trying to break into film or TV drama, get management or project management experience. Any job that involves planning, organizing, and budgeting will help equip you for the role.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.