I never went to film school, so when I started making my first film (The Heck With Hollywood!) I kind of made things up as I went along. It's called learning by trial and error, while doing everything possible to avoid the error part.
It soon became apparent that much of producing boils down to a few simple things. Treat others with respect. Do your homework. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Eat your vegetables.
Less obviously, I also found producing is about making agreements. In my list of biggest producing mistakes, I wrote about the importance of getting signed releases. But I'm talking way beyond just getting signatures on paper.
It goes without saying that you believe your film is worthy of funding, worthy of working on and worthy of getting out into the world in the widest possible way. Producing is getting the world to agree with you.
Producing is negotiating, persuading, coddling, arguing, sweet-talking and convincing. All to get people to agree that your film is worth supporting, working on (even for a lesser fee), telling their friends about, spending their hard-earned money to see in a theater.
Producing is doing all the work you wish you had the money to pay a lawyer to do for you. Or a publicist. Or an assistant. Or another producer - a real producer.
If I want you to do something for me, I sure as hell better be thinking about what I, or my film, can be doing for you. Or for the world.
And finding a way we can come to agreement about it.