Lesser Gods, but Colossal
NEXT TO THE FRONT-OFFICE bosses at the studios are the producers, one of the very important controls in Hollywood. The contrast between the producer's power and role with his ability is rather marked in most cases.
The producer usually selects the kind of story he wants to film. He may suggest to the front office the purchase of a certain book or play (called a property) in which he is interested, or offer his own idea to be worked out by a writer. Or, he may follow a formula currently successful at the box office. Or, the picture may be assigned to him by the front office. However the story is initiated, the producer then controls in greatest detail the writing of the script. He works closely with the writer, reading what he writes, and continuously criticizing, suggesting and commanding during the entire process. It is the producer who decides if and when other writers should be brought in, and the producer's O.K. is necessary before the picture passes to the front office for final approval.
The producer's power is not limited to control of the writer and the contents of the script. He has authority over the casting, and his judgment in cutting, one of the most important aspects of movie making, supersedes that of the director. It is the producer's O.K. which is necessary for the work of the composer, scene designer and everyone else connected with the production of the movie.
Producers have been compared to foremen, since they tie together and supervise the diverse ends of production. But the foremen in most factories have technical knowledge and understanding of the processes which they supervise, and they never control the engineers and designers. Most producers know nothing or very little