Film Making Involves Much More than a Camera and a Microphone
Even the most basic-looking movies actually have a lot of processes that go into them. This is true not only in front of the camera and just behind it, but also up in the offices of the producer and director. In order for a film to be excellent, all of these things must be done to perfection.
The first step is deciding which pitches to approve for film development. Factors that go into this include the idea's potential for becoming a box office hit, an award-winner, or both. Typically, smaller studios show more interest in winning awards at shows such as Sundance, while the big behemoths are more about the box office and the Oscars. Therefore, those with pitches are best off when they aim their pitches at the right types of studios.
Another factor in film development decision-making is how much it will likely cost to make the movie. Small studios often don't have the money for things like $50 million worth of special effects. Therefore, they are more likely to pick up ideas that aren't that costly, such as pitches for documentaries.
A documentary filmmaker doesn't have to spend much, if any, money on things like special effects or "muscle" suits. However, a good documentary does need excellent lighting, general cinematography, and sound pickup. Therefore, even this format is more involved that it may seem to a viewer.
Film making also involves a huge amount of behind-the-scenes activity. The producer has to hire a director, technical staff, actors, and general laborers. She or he also has to obtain all of the props, sets, vehicles (both in-movie and for studio transportation needs), miscellaneous materials, and more. Any needed financing is also obtained by the producer. Since every movie needs these things done by someone, there is always a producer involved. Though some actors and directors choose to take on the production work as well, movies usually come out better if this is handled by someone who isn't juggling other roles at the same time.
Typically, the producer has the final say over the creative aspects of the movie. This is mainly to keep the budget from ballooning out of control. One of the reasons actors and directors sometimes do their own producing is to try to bypass the restrictions that can come up. However, financial realities soon bring restrictions back to the fore, making it so one person ended up taking on two jobs for nothing.
In order to best concentrate on your own role in filmmaking, you should go ahead and work with a producer. Whether you're a documentary filmmaker or want to make the next action movie, things will go more smoothly with someone else taking care of the nuts and bolts.