8 answers

What is a typical day for a Media producer?

Updated New York, New York

I want to go into film or television production and I would like to know of the challenges and satisfactorily within the day in the life of a film or television producer. #film #television #media #producer #media-production

8 answers

John’s Answer

Updated Washington

Hi Emma-ly,

Daniela gave an excellent detailed answer for you earlier, so there's not a lot for me to add. But one thing I can say is that one of the cool things about media production is that there are not many "typical days".

One of the reasons for this has to do with the wide variety of projects you may find yourself doing. You become an "instant expert" on a particular topic, even if it's something you knew very little about before working on the project.

You may spend a lot of time learning about a new topic in pre-production, whether researching online or interviewing people by email, phone or in person. Then you'll plan for the actual production, or filming on location. This can be a lot of fun if you enjoy travel, visiting new places and meeting new people. The days on location can be long and hard, but usually it's the shortest part of the three-part process.

In post-production, you'll wrestle with the footage and whittle it down to the length of time you need. Shooting ratios can sometimes mean that you will start with 100 times more raw footage than what ends up on screen, especially if the end product is only :30 long!

I like to say that without a good story, there is no amount of hard work that you can do in production and post-production to make a film or TV show good. So make sure your story is good before you do anything!

Best of luck to you, and keep asking questions. It's part of the job!

Daniela’s Answer

Updated State of Goiás, State of Goiás, Brazil

Hi Emma,

  • Producers play an integral role in the television, film and video industries. A producer will oversee each project from conception to completion and may also be involved in the marketing and distribution processes.

  • Producers work closely with the directors and other production staff on a shoot. Increasingly, they need to have directing skills as they may be the director and be in charge of all project operations. Producers arrange funding for each project and are responsible for keeping the production within the allocated budget.

  • Producers are responsible for facilitating a project and are involved in every stage of the television programme, film or video, overseeing the project from beginning to end, both in the studio and on location.

  • Essentially team leaders, they are supported by production assistants, coordinators and managers, depending on the size of the project.

Tasks include:

  • raising funding;

  • reading, researching and assessing ideas and finished scripts;

  • commissioning writers or securing the rights to novels, plays or screenplays;

  • building and developing a network of contacts;

  • liaising and discussing projects with financial backers;

  • using computer software packages for screenwriting, budgeting and scheduling;

  • hiring key staff, including a director and a crew to shoot programmes, films or videos;

  • controlling the budget and allocating resources;

  • pulling together all the strands of creative and practical talent involved in the project to create a team;

  • maintaining contemporary technical skills;

  • organising shooting schedules - dependent on the type of producer and availability of support staff;

  • troubleshooting;

  • ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, codes of practice and health and safety laws;

  • supervising the progress of the project from production to post production;

  • holding regular meetings with the director to discuss characters and scenes;

  • acting as a sounding board for the director;

  • bringing the finished production in on budget.

In theory, the producer deals with all the practical and political aspects of keeping a project running smoothly, so that the director and the rest of the team can concentrate on the creative aspects.

In: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/television_film_video_producer_job_description.htm

All the best!

Anne S.’s Answer

Updated Washington, Washington

Hi,

Both Daniella and John have some amazing and accurate insights. On a broader note, the day-to-day can vary depending on what genre you work in -- film, news, documentary, scripted television, non-fiction television, cable, broadcast, etc. For my part, I work on "true crime" television series, from start to finish, within a schedule that lasts about 8 months per season. The best part is that I get to craft stories through writing, filming and editing and then the world gets to see them. The challenging part is that the industry is deadline-driven and there's not a lot of wiggle room if something doesn't go as planned-- a deadline is a deadline. In addition to being creative, the best producer candidates should be calm under pressure, flexible, good problem solvers, and able to handle multiple tasks at one time. It's a fun job but takes a lot of hard work, long hours and dedication.

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

Toby’s Answer

Updated Stone Mountain, Georgia

I have passion for television and film. Because of my passion, I am driven to work hard to accomplish my goal. As a media producer, their goal is manage, budget, and delegate the production. From scheduling the time and locations to marketing the final project. They are responsible for making sure an appealing, high quality project is produced. As well as supervising the concept and distribution of the project.

Bob’s Answer

Updated Beaverton, Oregon

Hi Emma-ly;

That’s a great question and as you’ve read, it’s all quite complex; the only thing typical about a television producer’s day is that there really is no such thing as a typical day. There are so many facets to getting a show made (development, writing, prep, shooting and post production), that each day is fast-paced and different, presenting multiple challenges and rewards.

For a scripted dramatic or comedy television series, there are several types of producers. It starts with the show-runner/creator/executive producer, traditionally a successful writer who created the show and is its driving force. There are other writing producers (receiving differing credits) along with a supervising producer who serves as the conduit between the writers/executive producers and the production. A line producer oversees the logistics of the actual filming, while another producer oversees post production (editing). Although each of these producers has a different set of responsibilities, they must all work as a team to produce a winning show.

A good producer of any ilk is a creative problem-solver, looking to protect the overall creative vision of the project, while working within the financial resources given, the ever-present time constraints (to deliver production-ready scripts, shooting the episode on schedule, making airdates) not to mention the added pressures of network/studio requirements. One of the most important traits of a talented producer is the ability to understand what makes a story succeed, since any decision (regardless of it being creative, technical or financial) is a creative decision that will end up affecting the final completed show. Every producer is a storyteller.

Regardless of the job, working days are long; it’s definitely not a nine-to-five career; twelve- to thirteen-hour days are normal and are often longer especially once shooting commences. The hours often extend later in the week to account for possible night shooting and working on weekends isn’t uncommon.

During the production of a television series, multiple episodes are worked on at any given time. A few are in the writing pipeline, another is being prepped for production, one is being shot and around three others are in various phases of the editing process. The producers juggle all of these; as a result, an individual day is intense and organic as these episodes are guided through their specific stages. Each day presents new, immediate and varied challenges, ranging from large-scale (perhaps major story, scheduling, budget or editorial concerns) to more detailed and unforeseen last minute issues (what happens when an actor is ill and cannot work, a shooting location is rained out, or a director falls behind schedule) that always arise on a daily basis. As a producer, you’re constantly multi-tasking and solving problems (and trying to prevent them before they arise).

The job of a producer is challenging and frenetic, requiring a tactful, even-keeled personality. Flexibility and the capacity to make quick decisions under pressure are essential in order to work well with a large number of talented, often intense, professionals. A successful producer has likely worked her/his way up, because the more s/he understands all the countless nuances (creative, financial and technical) that go in to making a show, the better they will be prepared to make that show work.

I know that this may not answer your question entirely, but I hope it helps and I wish you all the best of success.

Erin’s Answer

Updated Denton, Texas

I come from a TV news background, and now work in reality TV. I'll echo that you've gotten excellent input.

In TV news on the producer side Type A personalities really thrive. It's a very deadline-driven environment with constant changes as breaking news, equipment failures or other curveballs come in to play. You may be asked to write for multiple newscasts plus repurpose your content for the digital side. A person who loves to write, is a strong decision maker and can maintain structure and order in the midst of chaos do well in this position.

A typical day for a show producer or AP (associate producer) would begin with "the morning meeting," although that meeting occurs at least three times a day. It might be 2am for the morning show, 8am for the afternoon shows and 1pm for the evening shows. At the meeting, you go through the news captured for that day, the news potential for that day, enterprise opportunities everyone brings to the meeting (PLEASE come to the meeting with your own ideas!) and then it's all assessed, assigned to field crews and shows, and then everybody splits off to go divide and conquer- the field crews go gather and the producers start writing and editing elements for their show. That would include in and out bumps and teases, social media, digital media, promotional elements, etc. Current events are your best friend, and loving them might be an indicator you'd do well in news.

I worked in the field and was always so amazed at the strength of our news producers, as they maintained stability and kept an entire show together with so many unpredictable moving parts. With all respect to my producer friends, bossy, domineering personalities do well her too. I lived in the chaos-constant change side of things, but even there the strong writing, ability to react quickly and make important decisions on the fly were critical.

To work as a reporter, you need mad people skills, be a quick, accurate and exceptional writer, a competitive spirit and be able to do your best work every day with little to no supervision. I recommend studying journalism, political science, law and healthcare to do well in that type of media. There are great workshops you can do outside of college to strengthen those skills as well- the NPPA, the Poynter Institute and online courses offer great insight into the industry. You might also consider interning in a newsroom just for the insiders' perspective and experience.

In reality TV, the production work is much more of a true production, just like some of the shows described above. Yes, even reality TV is heavily planned and scripted. You capture great natural moments, but that is not the basis of the show. You need to know production from top to bottom, much like news, to be a great team member and contribute your best work to the product.

For a show, the production meetings start a few months out to evaluate content and characters (for reality or doc-style.) The crews needs are planned, budgeted and hired. The production calendar begins to take shape. Characters or subjects are booked for their shoots and factored into the production calendar. Travel has to be planned- the show I work on is shot in Texas but based out of Cali, so the executive and supervising producers travel, many of us are local crew and the editors stay back in LA and footage is uploaded or couriered at each day's wrap.

Once in production, you can expect regular 12-14 hour days in many cases. The day begins with a production meeting to cover safety elements, any restrictions on set (we may be shooting on a controlled set, a public venue we've booked such as a stadium, or public plaza, on private property such as people's homes, or stores, restaurants, etc.) as well as crew assignments, equipment needs, radio assignments, etc.

I'd say regardless of what medium you're looking into, realize that on the production side, it's always an 8 or 10 hour day for an hour or two of product. You have to love the behind-the-scenes and what goes into making it, not just be captivated by what you seen on a large, small or handheld screen!

Good luck to you- I think you asked a really smart question.

Charles’s Answer

Updated Southfield, Michigan

Hi Emma, To answer your question, for me my day to day varies and that's the best part. I am writer, producer, videographer, and editor. Making commercials in Metro Detroit. I interact with people such as account executives, clients, and our marketing department to create spots. This entails talking with them and finding out what they want first. Whether it's selling something or creating brand awareness for their business. I work with these people to develop a script for their broadcast content. Sometimes it takes a bit of wrangling. This is where my Producer hat comes on. Sometimes I may need to find a location to shoot at, talent to be on camera, or perhaps prepare a prop that's needed as part of the production. It's really just dealing with people and using your imagination to come up with creative ideas. Once I have a script, we plan a shoot. Some are simple, some are multi-day affairs with other people involved.. As a producer, you also have to make sure the segments you shot time out correctly. Once I have captured the video footage I bring it into edit and create the spot. This is where you need not only to have a grasp of the technical aspects of film and television, the software, computer systems, etc., but an understanding in marketing and building awareness. The art of selling and branding. This is kind of niche for me. Different productions/companies do different things, and people with the same title can do different things as well. Some of the stuff I have created not only goes on TV but the web as well. So to get back to your question, the day to day varies as I have projects in different stages. New ones come weekly. Today and tomorrow I am editing. Today I edited 2 spots, and did some graphic animation pre-production that I will use to put the final spot together tomorrow. To create spots for different businesses I have to learn about them. How they work and what they need to accomplish. I work with a team of creatives. We work together. In this business a solid work ethic is paramount. Do not be a diva and no job starting Out is too small. It is a very small business as well. I know people all over the country and they know people. The relationships and reputation you build throughout your career will follow you. As far as studying l in high school goes. Work on being a very good creative writer, work on being able to think creatively and objectively. A lot of the job is being able to communicate your ideas, written and verbally. Develop a sense of artistic style. Study web design and photography as well. Online content is growing. You need the ability to be able to tell a story with words, images, and video. I didn't get my degree. I came into the industry during a 10 year transition from film, to tape, to the now standard non linear computer based editing. I have seen a lot of tech come and go. You will always be learning it, and a lot of colleges are behind the curve technology-wise. But the art of editing, writing, and story telling remains the same; only the tools change. It's for that reason I recommend you don't major in broadcast production - unless- you have an exact niche you want to achieve. Instead I want you to think how your degree will serve you 20 years from now. What kind of production interests you? For me looking back I would have majored in Marketing/PR. As the productions I do invariably are about selling things to people. Tailor your degree to a job that spans many career possibilities. You can minor in production or take courses alacarte to learn the skills you need. I recommend getting internships and taking them seriously and working hard with an excellent attitude. Many do not, and expect things to be handed to them. Those who show willingness to learn, are humble, and don't mind any job get jobs. Remember it's all apart of working on a team with people. Be the team member they want or will go out of their way recommending.

Also go into college with goal and a plan. Because early on jobs in broadcasting pay poorly. Unless you work on your skills to set you apart now. I paid by dues for 10 years. Part of it no fault of my own, but early on it was a struggle. watch the debt you accumulate. I have friends who are in their 50's and still paying college debt off. It's the only debt you can't file bankruptcy against. A relative of mine left film school and found work too. When it comes to learning, you can start now. Subscribe to Lynda.com or CreativeLive and start learning Adobe creative suite. Not to mention all the free tutorials the web offers. Shooting, editing, and story telling is an art and skill. As they say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. The earlier you start the better. Don't let all this daunt you. I set out to learn a piece of software or skill and worked at it one at a time. I'm still learning.

Updated
I have also worked as Children's show producer, floor director/camera operator for daily newscast, and worked in broadcast engineering as one the people who put programs and spots on the air. A long the way I have met Jay Leno with no pants, Ted Nugent, Thomas the Hitman Hearns, congressmen, senators, governors, actresses, comedians, and countless media personalities. I am not being boastful but just saying it's been a wild a ride. Even though I love what I do, some days are just work, and to succeed you got to put the work in.

James’s Answer

Updated Kirkland, Washington

What does a producer do? That's a huge question. To begin with there a different types of producers, all with varying responsibilities. I'll cover a basic producers role. A producers responsibilities begin in pre-production and continues through production and post-production. That means he is involved in a production from start to finish and is responsible for the projects overall quality and success. He works with the writers, hires the productions personnel, works with the finances, and many other tasks. It is a busy role and often times stressful, yet is very rewarding when a project is complete. A producer also gets to work with many talented and creative people. The best way to learn the producing role is to work as a producers assistant, or intern at a studio in the "above the line" personnel positions. A typical day for a producer varies from one producer to another. I begin my day writing, then emails, then a production meeting, then depending on what phase the production is in either a visit to the studio, or meeting with underwriters, or a meeting with the director. I hope this helps. James Hout Producer