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What is an Associate Producer?

Not ready to go all the way to producer?   How about an Associate Producer?   Learn more about our MFA program… click here.

What is an associate producer?

Do you ever watch the credits after a movie and wonder, who are all those people, and what do they do? Why are there so many producers, and what is the difference? And how can I get involved in this glamorous secret world behind the scenes? Maybe the limelight isn’t for you, but if you love movies and have a mind for business, you might be cut out to be an associate producer.

Associate Producer Jobs

The term “associate producer” is used in two quite different ways. The first is to describe a person who works under the direct supervision of the producer, performing whatever duties the producer asks of him or her.

If two production companies are involved in a project, the head of the smaller company may be given the title of associate producer, and the head of the larger company is called the producer or executive producer. In this case, the associate producer is not so much an assistant as a junior associate.

Either way, associate producer jobs are similar to film producer jobs: assisting in arranging for supplies, helping in hiring the critical staff and talent, and (most importantly) finding the funding your film will need. An associate producer is involved in every aspect of pre-production and post production[/production/post-production/] and can even make important decisions if need be.

How to Become an Associate Producer

Now all you need to know is how to become an associate producer. Associate producer jobs are usually found through networking and interning. Internships are usually unpaid but the skills and contacts you cultivate more than pay off in the long run. If you are young and inexperienced, this is the way to go.

Networking is a little trickier; you have to know your stuff and know some people. If you have a cousin who is a makeup artist or production coordinator on one film, he or she may be able to give you tips on other films that are hiring. Also, contact old professors or guidance counselors from your business or film school; they may have important leads or at least the name of an alumnus who is working in the film industry.

If you are determined to work in the production end of the movie business, there is only one thing to remember; be persistent and be present. Consistency and tenacity will get you recognized and get you a job as an associate producer.


Have some fun– watch the movie trailer for “The Producers

Then learn how to become a producer at Horizons University with our new MFA in Filmmaking program.


Want to be a Producer?

So you get an MFA in Filmmaking from Horizons University… what kind of jobs are there?

Well, you will find a plethora of job opportunities both within and outside of the film industry… but let’s start with the most obvious.

The Producers--Movie

The Producer

The most important person in Hollywood is the film producer. Becoming a film producer means you are shouldering a great deal of the headache associated with getting a film off the ground. From arranging suppliers for props and caterers for food services, to finding funding, the film producer does it all. They even find the right key personnel such as screenwriters and directors.

Sometimes the job of the film producer is easy; the screenplay or director, or even concept, sells itself. Other times, it is a nail-biting, stressful experience. Still, there are few film producers who regret becoming a film producer.

Hollywood Film Producer

If you want to become a film producer, then you should start off by doing your homework. If you imaging dining at Spago or rubbing elbows with Quentin Tarantino as a Hollywood film producer, then you should do some research homework to find out how the biggest names in the business made it there. Also look up their biography on IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. There is a wealth of information stored there and ready for you to access which can give you some insight on becoming a film producer.

An executive producer is another type of film producer, who is employed by a production company, television network or studio. They are responsible for generating new movie or TV show ideas and overseeing their development and production. They are typically accountable to the CEO of the studio, production company or network. Established independent producers often negotiate executive producer credits for projects they originate or endorse, for a fee. They develop these projects by cooperating with the network, production company or studio financing them.

Independent Film Producer

Independent film producers are a harried lot and can often work as hard, if not harder than a Hollywood film producer in getting their independent baby up and running. If you admire independent filmmaking and want to spend your career being an independent film producer, then you should look up the biography of a particular film producer who catches your eye. Learning how they began and how they made it is an excellent how-to manual for becoming a film producer of independent films. Also, watch any interviews or commentaries they might give; they will often tell the story of how they made a film happen, which will clue you in to the process.

Finally, it’s not so much what you know as who you know; networking is an important skill you will have to learn as a film producer. Find out who is working where and whether you can get your foot in the door as at least an associate producer. Take any job as long as it will teach you what you need to know and improve your network. The skills and connections you make while working for someone else are indispensable in becoming either an independent film producer or a Hollywood film producer.

Let’s Meet Horizons University MFA Program Director, Wayne Crawford

Wayne Crawford, Program Director

Wayne is the Program Director and teaches directing, producing and screenwriting in the new film program. During his long film and television career, he has written, produced or directed more than twenty feature films and three television series. Some of his feature film credits include co-writing & producing the indie hit Valley Girl that launched the leading man career of Nicolas Cage. He also co-produced the cult feature Night of the Comet and co-wrote and co-produced the cult classic Jake Speed starring two time Oscar nominee John Hurt and BAFTA award winner Dennis Christopher.

In television, Wayne created the popular family series Okavango that ran on FX Network for 52 episodes and created, wrote and directed the long-running Discovery/Travel series On the Loose…In Wildest Africa . Wayne is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His executive experience includes serving as Managing Director of Heatherwood Film Productions (PTY) Ltd a Johannesburg production and financing entity and Co-Chairman of Gibraltar Entertainment in Los Angles. Nine years ago he started teaching at the University of North Carolina School of Arts–one of the premiere arts conservatories in the United States. In 2009 he received a Teaching Excellence Award from the UNC Board of Governors.

Wayne received a BA in theatre from Florida Atlantic University and earned an MFA in screenwriting from Spalding University. Although he spends most of the year in the USA, Wayne considers Ballito, South Africa his home.

Have Questions?  Want to know more?  Contact Wayne at

What Does Film Making Take? Part 1

Horizons University MFA

Interested in a career in filmmaking?  What is filmmaking all about??  Here is a basic overview.   If you are interested in learning more..check out our new MFA program in Filmmaking.

Filmmaking is essentially the creation of a film. It involves all the processes surrounding the finished product including pre and postproduction issues. Filmmaking starts by finding a good script, and moves on from there.

Before the process of filmmaking can begin, a script must be found. Studios are swarmed with millions of requests every year, from high profile filmmakers, to the neighbor down the street. The majority of scripts will never be read. Some studios have a policy of not accepting unsolicited work, which means that 90% of the scripts sent in every year, are never read. In some cases the script goes directly from the mail bag to the trash can, as some film studios request their internal mail room workers to toss unsolicited scripts.

The scripts that are accepted for film making primarily come from agents the studio has worked with in the past. These agents are aware of what the film making studios want, or need and only suggest the best of the best. Once a script is chosen, there’s still no guarantee as to when it will be made, or if it will ever be produced. The studio will choose which scripts they are interested in, and continue with the process of filmmaking.

The next step in the film making process is development. During film development, changes will be made to the script. The studio may choose to bring in a different writer, use a writer they have on staff, or ask the scriptwriter to re-work the idea. The script will be re-worked until the producers are satisfied with the final result, and changes may still be made even as filming progresses.

Pre-production is the next step in film making. Pre-production involves every step leading up to the actual filming. It includes scouting and choosing locations, hiring the crew and actors, and building sets. Production follows pre-production in the world of filmmaking. During production, the movie is shot, scripts are changed as needed, and the sound is recorded.

Post-production and distribution are the last two steps in the film making process. Post-production works to ready the film for the general public. The director, studio, and producers will edit the film, add digital effects, and decide on a soundtrack. This creates a finished product that the studio likes, and one they are ready to market and distribute. Posters are made, publicity scheduled, and screenings held. One the studio is satisfied that they can make money off the film; it is released to the general public.

Filmmaking is a long, and drawn out process. Some films take years, or even decades to be made. A script written ten or twenty years ago may be found, changes made, and then rushed into production, as is the case with film remakes. Two scripts finished at the same time may have very different schedules, with one finished in a year and the other still sitting in pre-production after several years. There’s no way to estimate how the film making process will work.

…More later