What’s the Difference Between a Producer and a Director?


Sit through almost any movie and you’re bound to find a long list of running names at the end. This list, called the ending credits, is a complete list of everyone who worked on the movie, right down to the extras who filled in the background. Some of the first names you might see are that of the directors and producers, but what’s the difference? What’s the difference between someone who directs a movie and someone who produces it? 

What is a Producer?

Producers like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Heather Parry are the ones in charge of overseeing a film’s production. Typically their role includes managing the business operations of the film, including hiring the director and other team members. Most films have several producers – executive producers, associate producers, coordinating producers – who work as a team to ensure all of the decisions that need to be made get made promptly and are made in a way that best serves the entire cast and crew. 

What is a Director?

Whereas producers are in charge of making business decisions, directors are in charge of making creative decisions. In control of the artistic and dramatic effects of a movie, directors interpret a script and bring the vision to life. One of their main responsibilities is to guide the cast and help them make decisions that are appropriate to the portrayal of their characters.

Despite being commonly confused, directors and producers each have distinct roles to play in the creation of a movie. As so many decisions directly impact the entire team, directors and producers work in constant communication. So the next time you finish a movie and find yourself having enjoyed the production, take a minute to mentally thank those who worked so diligently in whatever role they played to bring it to your screen.