Claim Your
Off Discount
February 28, 2023

Get to Know the Contrasts Between Directors and Producers

A director and producer are both integral parts of the filmmaking process. We might say they are two sides of the same coin.

Understanding the difference between a director and a producer is instrumental if you want to progress in your career.

While as a writer, you won't have any direct day-to-day dealings with most of the crew including either the producer or the director, you will, in some ways, be writing for them. Their decisions will bring your vision which started on the page, to life.

Therefore, it’s vital you understand their roles and the differences between their jobs; doing so will elevate you above other writers.

Let’s dive into the difference between a director and a producer.

Director’s responsibilities

A director is responsible for bringing the script to life. Their key tasks include:

  • Interpreting the script
  • Casting actors
  • Achieve the desired visual and emotional effect

The director is the creative leader of the project. They are in charge of the overall vision and tone of the film, often relying on what the screenwriter has put on the page or the property on which the film is based.

A director works closely with the cinematographer to ensure that the film is shot in a way that is visually pleasing and tells the story effectively. They are the artistic heart of the film and also work with the actors to help them understand their characters and deliver powerful performances.

So how does this differ from what a producer does?

Producer’s responsibilities

On the other hand, a Producer is responsible for managing the business side of the film and for scheduling decisions. They are in charge of securing funding for the project and managin the budget. Their roles include:

  • Handling legal issues
  • Overseeing contract negotiation and hiring
  • Overseeing the production schedule
  • Logistical management

A producer works closely with the director to ensure that the project stays on track and is completed on time and within budget, although in some cases the executive producer may have the final say on budgeting.

To summarise, the director is the creative head of the production, whilet the producer is very much the money man.

Different types of producers

There are many types of producers whose roles vary from film to film. Let’s dive into some of them.

Executive producer

An executive producer is often an honourary title. Occasionally there are senior people involved in the film who have no defined role. Frequently, novelists are given this title as part of the contract negotiation for the film rights to their books.

It theoretically gives them significant clout on set and a bigger say on script changes and development.

The executive producer role was also historically given to industry executives at the production company financing the picture.

An example would be the brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, whose company Miramax (later The Weinstein Company) bankrolled the great and good of Hollywood pictures until the latter’s disgrace in 2017.

There is a move away from this model as Hollywood executives, often divorced from the day-to-day creative process, get undue influence over the picture.

Director vs producer: who has the power?

Whilst we can define the role of the director and the producer by separating the creative aspects from the monetary aspects of filmmaking, a question remains as to who is overall in control of the picture and has the final say.

The answer is that it varies from film to film and has also changed over time. For a time, the director was held in the highest regard.

Directors and writers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese have been labeled auteurs because their vision of the film often has the most significant impact on it.

While the executive producer often had a lot of clout due to the Hollywood-centric nature of the film industry, the power is shifting to independent production companies and streaming services that operate outside of Hollywood.

Some well-respected and well-known directors in television have started to take on additional responsibilities for writing, directing, and financing various series. These are known as showrunners.

Examples include

  • Russell T. Davies (Dr. Who)
  • Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal)

You can read more about showrunners in our separate blog about them here.

Director vs. producer: how do you fit in as a writer?

As a screenwriter, you naturally want to ensure your work is brought to the screen in the best way. The better it does, the more likely you are to get another gig, and of course, having general pride in your work is essential.

To have any impact, you need to understand the hierarchy and dynamics on set. Understanding the difference between a director versus a producer and who does what your film can help you speak to the right people when you want certain changes made.

If you need help with getting started with screenwriting, don’t forget we have a free version of our screenwriting software Arc Studio that you can download for free here.


Level-up your screenwriting software

With Arc Studio, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Add the template to your Arc Studio Pro account

text content

Download the template
Go to Desk

Download your free template now

With Arc Studio pro, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease. 2
Get to Know the Contrasts Between Directors and Producers
Harry Verity

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen using Arc Studio. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, Readers' Digest and Newsweek, amongst many other publications. He has just finished his second novel for young adults, set in a boarding school. He holds a BA in English from Loughborough University.

Level-up your screenwriting software

Arc Studio is the new standard in screenwriting software: stay focused, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Go to Desk

Download your free template now

With Arc Studio pro, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Go to Desk

Receive a free screenwriting book

Get your free ebook now!

Download Your Template
Go to Desk

Learn from the film industry’s top screenwriters

Our new podcast, How I Write: Screenwriters Share Their Creative Processes, launches Nov. 12th.

Go to Desk


This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

Read More

Ready to get started?

Go to Desk
No credit card required