Filmmaking is teamwork. Numerous people are involved before a film can flicker across the screen. At all stages of the project, there are a number of steps that have to be taken, some of them independently of each other. Whether it's shooting schedules, providing equipment, or contract and budget issues - every film production needs people who keep track of everything. Producers take on this task.
As project managers, they are responsible for the entire product, from initial planning to post-production. Producers coordinate and organize all processes necessary for the realization of the film project. Budget, time, quality - these are, in short, their most important concerns. It is therefore a matter of keeping within budgetary and time constraints and ensuring that all team members work well together to achieve the best possible result.
How many people are needed when and where in order to guarantee a smooth workflow without loss of time? How much money is needed to be able to implement artistic ideas? Is the budget sufficient and if not, where can additional funds be obtained or how can the realization be achieved with less? What deadlines have to be met? And what do you do if something goes wrong? These are just a few of the questions and challenges that producers face in their everyday work.
Although they usually work in the background, producers often not only determine the organization of a film project, but also have an influence on the content and artistic design. In production companies, they are often the first to select the material, whose implementation they then initiate with their contacts and planning. For example, they bring directors together with screenwriters and help select the artists for the implementation.
For animated films, games and scenes with visual effects (VFX), producers are needed who know about the specific work steps and requirements of these genres. In other words, they need to know about the so-called "pipeline" of technical and artistic processes necessary for animated films and VFX. The pipeline of animation, games and VFX projects is primarily determined by computer work, in addition to specially designed shoots and material development. For example, the work steps include designing characters and objects, their computer-generated processing ("modeling"), and "rigging" or "animating." The latter processes are concerned with how the characters and elements are brought to life, or how they are moved and brought together and coordinated within their movement. Image-optimizing and technical processes are also relevant, for example with regard to details in "texturing", lighting conditions in "lighting" or the final video output in "rendering".
The activities of the animation and VFX pipeline are often time-consuming. Producers pay attention to the need for employees and the necessary equipment. They also monitor deadlines, among other things, to ensure that the workflow of individual team members meshes. Sometimes they are also involved in marketing the respective products after completion. Especially in the fields of animation, games and VFX, the demand for producers is enormous. Hardly any game, TV or advertising film today can do without effects or visual optimizations. Animated sequences are an increasingly common stylistic device. For their professional realization, specialists among the producers are enormously important, who understand the specific production processes in detail and can accompany them. There are also numerous animation and effects producers working in the games industry.
Producers of animated films, games and VFX should first and foremost have organizational skills. In this field, projects are usually personnel- and time-intensive. Producers often coordinate large groups and manage numerous tasks within narrow time frames.
Time management skills are important. Tasks must be prioritized in order to effectively structure pipelines. Analytical skills are needed to assess the dimensions of processes and plan them sensibly. In addition, producers should be able to work under pressure, because it is not uncommon for a large amount of work to be done in a short period of time. Since problems often have to be ironed out during production, flexibility and originality are also required, as well as critical thinking in general when reviewing processes. For this, they should understand artistic as well as technical work steps and be able to master some of them themselves. Knowledge of computer programs such as Excel is helpful for calculations. Experience in budgeting and project management of all kinds is an advantage in their job.
In addition to a passion for products of the film, advertising and media industry, a sense of good cinematographic aesthetics is also a relevant skill for producers. Creativity is essential, for example in developing content and stories. It is also important to have a feel for the film and media market in order to be able to assess the commercial success of planned products.
The most important skills for producers, however, are people skills and communication skills. In a team, they must always keep an eye on personal dynamics and sensitivities. They are usually the first people team members turn to when they encounter problems or difficulties. Producers also place orders and fill positions in production companies. Here, it is important to be able to assess the abilities of people and companies in order to delegate tasks precisely. Producers must have access to a large network of media professionals and creative people. It is sometimes part of their job to discover talent and promote it through projects.
To start a career in animation and effects producing, experience in the relevant areas of the film and media industry is essential. In addition, universities such as Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg provide training in film producing.
At Filmakademie's Animationsinstitut, students have the opportunity to specialize in animation and effects producing with a postgraduate course. The prerequisite for this is a business degree or business training, preferably in the media field. The comprehensive training at Animationsinstitut is practice-oriented. During their studies, students supervise numerous projects that are produced at Filmakademie. Working in teams, they assume organizational responsibility for the production of animated short films, VFX and games projects, advertising clips and other media products.
In the process, the students are accompanied by internationally successful producers. They gain practical experience through project work as well as workshops and individual mentoring. Through FMX they also get contacts in the industry, which makes a successful career entry very likely.