Associate Producer or Assistant Producer
Associate Producers carry out significant functions in the production or post-production process, which would otherwise be performed by the Producer, Executive Producer or Co-Producer. These responsibilities may range from helping to raise production finance at the beginning of the production process, to supervising the final stages of post-production.
Associate Producers in Film are usually individuals within production companies who have played a particularly significant role in the development of the script or screenplay, or in the packaging process, or who have contributed important creative ideas to the production. They may be another producer; or a senior Script Editor who helps to shape the direction of the final drafts of the screenplay, and without whom the film may not be financed; or the Producer’s Assistant who supervises development or post production for the Producer in their absence.
The term Associate Producer is also sometimes used to describe a Producer from a smaller production company which is co-producing the film, who has typically raised a small amount of funding for the project, but not enough to warrant an Executive Producer or Co-Producer credit.
Associate Producers contribute significantly to the production process, as they are responsible for specific elements delegated to them by the Producer. This diverse role may encompass development, packaging, raising production finance, supervising the production design team (sets, costumes, etc.), supervising post-production, or co-ordinating the work of the various visual effects companies. In fact, they may carry out any production work that the Producer is too busy to supervise personally, and which is not covered by one of the other production roles (e.g. Executive Producer, Co-producer, Line Producer). Whatever their exact role, Associate Producers must be able to troubleshoot any production difficulties or problems that come within their area of responsibility.
The producing skills required of Associate Producers depend on the specific responsibility delegated to them. These skills may be in Script Editing, Story Consultancy or Packaging, but they may also encompass other areas of specialisation, such as post-production or digital effects. Associate Producers must be able to contribute to good working relationships, and be excellent communicators. They must act decisively and sensitively under pressure. As supervisors and enablers of other creative people, they should be able to plan, inspire, supervise and delegate. According to the requirements of current Health & Safety Legislation, Associate Producers are not legally responsible for setting up health and safety procedures; however they may be required to carry out risk assessments according to regulatory requirements. They must know how to identify the hazards in the production environment, to assess the level of risk, to recommend action, and to carry out a review of their assessment. They also have a duty to ensure that their own actions reduce risks to health and safety.
The qualifications required for this role also vary according to Associate Producers’ specific responsibilities on the production. They are often senior Script Editors who are particularly skilled at solving story problems, and turning a great screenplay into a successful film. Where Associate Producers perform limited Line Producing functions, they may have previously been Production Managers with a specific aptitude for problem solving. If they have taken over from the producer in post-production, they are likely to be senior Post Production Supervisors, or Digital Effects Supervisors. Associate Producers must also attend the required Health & Safety courses.