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Craig and John explain what producers do — at least, what they’re supposed to do — and discuss the myriad subclasses of producers that litter the opening titles of many movies.

Which is the more impressive credit — producer or executive producer? In film, it’s the former. In TV, it’s the latter. But whatever the title, producers are integral to getting a movie or TV show made.

Craig feels producers can be either anxiety buffers or anxiety conductors. John breaks down four essential roles you find producers filling:

  1. The general. This producer keeps things moving forward and protects the production. She forces you to make decisions.
  2. The diplomat. This producer makes sure crazy people feel respected, even when they’re being giant pains-in-the-ass. He talks the actress out of her trailer.
  3. The creative. This producer reminds everyone what kind of movie they’re trying to make. She performs quality control for the production.
  4. The bulldozer. This producer will smash down a phone booth to help the director get his shot. (This actually happened.)

Some producers can fill multiple roles (like diplomat-creative), but you’ll often find these qualities spread out among several people on a production, regardless of the size.

Who’s that fat cat, and how did he afford such a fancy cigar? Find out on episode seventeen of Scriptnotes.

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You can download the episode here: AAC.

UPDATE 1-4-12: The transcript of this episode can be found here.