Bradley Glenn's Blog

November 11, 2010

What does a producer do, anyway? Pt. 2

Following up on a very early post of mine and inspired by documentary programmer Basil Tsiokos and his insightful blog/twitter feed, I decided to post a few thoughts on producing.image I aim to make these posts agnostic to the field or genre, if you are a producer or aspiring producer I’m sure you are like me: the current times are forcing you to diversify your interests and skills. I didn’t get into producing to produce a Wii game or websites, but now that I have, it’s not unlike producing television, docs, or anything else. The content is vastly different, but these rules apply, because the process from concept to execution needs the guiding hand of the producer. So here goes nothing:

What does a producer do, anyways, Pt. 2: Be the hub.

When the scope of work is defined, the contracts signed, etc, there are a lot of players in the room (usually virtually, but you get the idea). Not everyone knows each other, most will not even interact with each other. But all will interact with you, the producer. You are involved in the deadlines, the money, the concept development, the execution, the approval process, all the way thru, and the key to that is what I call “being the hub”.

Choose your metaphor: like the spokes of a wheel connecting, or the central station, whatever, you are aware of every team’s responsibilities and deliverables, and often I find myself acting the part of the job’s team that’s not in the room, eg: Thinking like the client in the creative meeting, and vice versa, thinking like a creative in the client review, etc. Make everyone come to you for insight or inspiration on tough change requests, or the opposite, suggest recommendations on how to solve issues that come up. Interject yourself in every conversation around the project. If you are somehow not represented, make it known that you must be, because without you as the hub, nothing will be done satisfactorily. The stakeholders on the job will be happy, they can concentrate on what they like to do, or what they need in terms of the final product, and you translate/shuttle between to the two, one foot (spoke) in both camps.

Looking back on this post, it could be said, well how does this apply to purely creative tasks, like making a movie? Well, it does. You have only so many shoot days. You have to get the shot, and yes, if the DP is spending 2+ hours setting up the next shot, the producer has to step in, etc. Your “client” in this case is the overall project, which must be completed in the time allotted, or else it won’t get done. It’s the rare project that has endless time and budget, before the camera’s turned on, 80% of the decisions about the scene should have been made. I’ll leave you to your own percentages…..

Posted by Bradley Glenn  |  Permalink |  Comments