Differences and Similarities Between a Producer and Executive Producer

In the movie industry, producers oversee the entire filmmaking process and are among the most important professionals that work in this field. However, do you know the difference between a producer and an executive producer?

Typically, the core difference between producers and executive producers is authority. The executive producer makes the final decisions during the filmmaking process, while the producer handles the on-set activities.

In this article, I will explain the roles of a producer and an executive producer, their core differences and similarities, and other relevant information about the two roles.

Read to learn more.

Who is an executive producer?

An executive producer is a high-level film production professional who often works for a studio or independently produces films.

Typically, they provide funding for a movie and oversee how that funds are used by the production crew.

Executive producers connect other film producers with the studio, company, or individual that is sponsoring the movie. They also seek out popular actors, directors, and singers to improve the marketability of their movies.

Who is a producer?

A producer is responsible for the day-to-day activities of film productions, such as drafting a budget for the funds acquired by the executive producer and keeping the filming schedule.

During production, the producer works on-site and supervises every part of the filmmaking process. This is done in collaboration with other high-ranking members of the film crew, such as cinematographers, directors, and screenwriters.

Often, producers report to executive producers and connect with groups supporting the movie through the executive producer.

Differences between a producer and an executive producer

Even though they share similar titles, there are a lot of differences between these two roles in the entertainment industry. The following are some key differences between an executive producer and a producer:

1. Level of authority

Typically, executive producers have higher authority over the entirety of the production, while producers report to executive producers and meet their demands for a film.

Executive producers are one of the highest-ranked professionals in a film’s production team and are often the leader of a production firm or studio.

Without the executive producers, many movies would not have been produced as they raise the large amounts of financing required for movie production, marketing, distribution, etc.

The producer, on the other hand, only controls the daily on-set activities by using the resources provided by the executive producer (such as cinematographers, screenwriters, etc.) in the filmmaking process.

The vision or concept for the producer to follow is often decided by the executive producer. In other words, producers have little say in the decision-making, and only direct everyone on set to achieve that goal.

2. Role in filmmaking

Although the executive producer of a film has significant influence over the film’s budget, cast, and direction, they are often not engaged in the actual filming.

Instead of being on-set, senior executives work in the studio or company headquarters and receive production updates from producers.

Occasionally, they may visit the site to observe filming or assist in resolving problems, although they often perform their duties remotely and offer support when necessary.

This is considerably different for producers, who spend the majority of their time on set and are directly involved in filming.

Typically, they are there for daily activities and review locations with the director, supervise every part of filming, and relay messages from executives to the team.

2. Experience in the industry

In the film industry, executive producers are often considered to have more experience than producers. Most executive producers have worked as producers on movies or TV shows before advancing to the executive level.

They may also have held top positions at a production company or studio, where they probably have managed productions and meet with other personnel to discuss upcoming and ongoing projects.

However, executive producers can also be independent filmmakers or work for smaller production companies. This means that they can maintain this title even without enough experience.

Nevertheless, most producers have less experience in the industry than the executives they work with. As producers get more experience, they can work toward becoming an executive and contribute in various ways to the filmmaking process.

4. Participation during the entire production

These two film experts are also involved in different ways in the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of making a movie.

Executive producers are typically involved more only at the beginning and end of a project. In the beginning, they help raise funds, draft a concept, and crew selection, while they focus on distribution and marketing strategy at the end stage.

On the other hand, producers are actively involved during the production stage, which is filming. Sometimes, they are also present during pre-and post-production, as they help with casting, location selection, and editing.

Their major role, however, is making a high-quality film that their studio can be pleased to sell to clients, while executive producers contribute to the film’s success before and after filming.

Similarities between a producer and an executive producer

The following are the similarities between a producer and an executive producer:

1. Projects

Typically, if a movie has an executive producer, it will have a producer, thus, these two film experts often collaborate on projects in the movie industry.

They often work together in different film genres. Hence, there is little or no difference between their on-set roles and responsibilities.

This means that they often work together to make movies and share similar tasks to ensure the success of such films, like brainstorming ideas, editing, etc.

2. Managing the entire production

Although producers are more involved in the day-to-day production of movies, they both often oversee every stage of production.

Rather than focusing on a specific aspect of filmmaking, they both take a holistic approach and oversee the entire project. Thus, they end up being well-versed in every part of the filmmaking process.

3. Education

In the film industry, both producers and executive producers have similar educational qualifications and standards.

This is because many producers advance to the position of executive producer, thus they both start with the same type of education that brought them into the film industry.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in film or communications is the common degree for both professionals. However, employers place more value on experience than degrees.

4. Goals and objectives

The goals and objectives of both producers are also similar since they collaborate on movies and work on a bigger scale than film crew members with limited and specific knowledge.

They both evaluate the filming logistics, such as the budget and the number of needed crew members, and so on.


How can a producer be successful?

To be successful as a producer, you must know how to manage a team. Also, you must know how to cut costs, hire top talents, etc.

What skills does it take to be a producer?

To be a producer, it is essential to be skilled in media production and communication.

Furthermore, creative and leadership skills, the ability to pay attention to details, etc are necessary skills required of a producer.

Who is superior to an executive producer?

The showrunner is the highest-ranking producer, and they are ultimately for the movie production.

What are the responsibilities of a producer?

The core roles of producers are divided into three categories: organizational, creative, and administrative.

Do you need a degree to work as an executive producer?

No, you don’t.

Although a degree is not required, some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree because it is an executive role.


Although both producers and executive producers work together and they both play different roles in the filmmaking process, an executive producer is typically superior.

Executive producers are more involved in the development phase of movies such as raising funds, recruiting talents, crew members and producers, etc. The producer, on the other hand, manages the production and post-production activities.

I hope you find this article interesting. You can also read to know how hard it is to become an actor or actress.

Thanks for reading.