If you shoot a cat video, you can call yourself a producer. If you produce a fat Hollywood blockbuster for 200 million, the same is true. The question “What does film producer mean” can have many answers.

Whether filmmaker or client for an image film. You have to know which tasks a producer is responsible for and what he is responsible for. It’s about more than just earning money or who can negotiate well.

There is no globally binding definition of who can be called a producer. Just like a director or cameraman and screenwriter, a film producer is not a protected professional title. If you want, you can call yourself that. This even applies to production companies germany. It is often said in colloquial terms that the producer of Film X or Video Y is ABC AG or DEF GmbH.

The rules of the game, what film producer means, always exist where the law is concerned. That means copyright, ancillary copyrights, insurance, contracts or state film funding. In the eyes of the state, the film producer function means fulfilling certain conditions. Only then may you call yourself that. Where no rules are laid down by law, these are determined by jurisdiction.

What does film producer mean?

It is widely acknowledged in the industry that these 4 criteria make up the professional profile of a film producer.

In concrete terms, the sober answer to the question “what does film producer mean?” is correct: producer is the one who always bears the blame in the end. This applies to success as well as failure.

This applies to the creative aspects of film production because the film producer occupies the key creative functions. He chose a scriptwriter and a story, cast the director and approved the choice of actors.

Because the producer is also responsible for the financing, calculation, acquisition of all necessary rights and the execution of the shooting, the existence as a film producer also means at the same time: there are no excuses.

A producer is therefore responsible for four different areas in a managerial capacity:

He is responsible for the rough lines for the content of the film work.

He must be responsible for the entire organization of the production.

He bears full technical responsibility for the production.

He assumes complete entrepreneurial and financial responsibility.

This wealth of tasks and responsibilities can only be mastered if the execution of the sub-areas can be delegated to competent, permanent or freelance employees or specialised companies. This is the answer to “what does film producer mean?

Without a film producer there is no film. Every film and every video goes back to the initiative of the producer. The exception that confirms the rule is the so-called commissioned producer.

Who is the commissioned producer?

There are cases where the film producer produces a film or video on behalf of a company or another person (investor). Videos for companies, commercials on behalf of advertising agencies, but also TV feature films or TV series belong in this category.

While it is customary on television to disclose the contractual relationship in the credits (“on behalf of …”), this is usually unusual for image films. Strictly speaking, the author has a right to name the film, at least where the length of the film does not make it impossible to name the film. Everything else is in itself a copyright infringement.

The basic rule for commissioned films is the answer to the question “what does film producer mean?

If the commissioned production is fully financed, the client receives all available rights from the contractor within the scope of the legal admissibility. This applies both to rights which the client has acquired himself and to rights which he has acquired himself. Many film producers, who have learned from bad experiences, contractually arrange this transfer in such a way that the rights are only transferred after the work has been paid for in full.

The rights to be transferred, which the contract producer usually transfers to the principal, include: Copyright / rights of use, ancillary copyrights (the right, reproduction, distribution, broadcasting and making available to the public) and other intellectual property rights.

What and who is a film producer?

The term film producer is one of the proofs that even legal scholars are in a hurry sometimes. The term is listed in Section 94 of the Copyright Act. Unfortunately, however, it was forgotten to determine what and who is a film producer within the meaning of the law. This is not without its consequences because, for example, German film promotion law is linked to the term film producer. In Germany, only the film producer is entitled to subsidies under the Film Promotion Act (FFG). What does “film producer” mean here? Money!

The conflicts that have arisen from the conceptual blurriness of the term and the question “what does film producer mean ?” have not only occupied the highest courts, but have also cost well-known names in the film business a lot of money. Today, a company can only be a film producer if it fulfils at least three of the four criteria.

Directors possess ancillary copyrights, but are not film producers. As a rule, the director bears no economic or budgetary responsibility. This does not change if a director (such as the directors Tom Tykwer, Dani Levy and Wolfgang Becker at the well-known production company X-Filme in Berlin) has a second role as a partner. In this case, his claims arise from his function as a producer.

What does producer mean? Tax law gets to the point with the currently valid wording of the German Federal Fiscal Court: film producer is only the one who significantly influences a film project from A to Z and assumes the risk of success or failure to a considerable extent.

What is a producer?

The producer is the producer in English-speaking countries. Not any more. No less.

Annoyingly, in the German-speaking world, the bad habit has become established of naming subordinate employees to the film producer as producers as well. Especially in commissioned films, the production manager or the production manager is often referred to as the producer.

In advertising films, a branch of film in which many exponents are deeply convinced that they invented the film themselves and the camera as well, even assistants are referred to as producers. Nevertheless, the same applies to the question “what does film producer mean? A donkey, regardless of its name, remains a donkey.


Producers should therefore only be allowed to be those who actually have overall responsibility for a film project or a video and can therefore decide everything and everything.

The final decision on a film is not made by the production manager, the director or the production manager, but only by one person: the film producer.