Explaining the difference between a ‘producer’ and a ‘director’ is rather hard, partly because the answer changes depending on the type of film one is making. In movies, the producer is the money guy, while the creative control is held by the director. In factual programmes, however, the director is usually the person literally calling the shots.
The producer, meanwhile, is the one who decides what the story is, and how it’s going to be told. They are at once the budget-holder, project manager, and creative decision-maker.
Thing is, when you’re starting out, and it’s just you with a camera, it’s not obvious what that means. Pointing the camera is camera operation; telling people where to stand and how to move is direction; what else is there?
This article at Pro Video Coalition does a pretty good job of explaining, and it does so in a useful context – that of a promotional film for YouTube, rather than a broadcast documentary. I’m not entirely keen on the finished film, mostly for technical reasons (ironically, it could have done with a director…), but the article is a useful read.
If you’re dipping your toe into web video, and starting to wonder if maybe something’s missing – it is, and that space is called ‘Producer.’