Career Profile: Producer
Being a producer is another role in which you will walk the line between the creative and business worlds. A producer is ultimately responsible for the production of the project they are working on, and this can range from TV, film, and radio to games and YouTube. The producer is responsible for the project from the initial idea to completion and in some cases, they may involve post-production activity such as promotion and distribution.
A producer works closely with other production staff such as the broadcast engineers, directors and runners to ensure that production runs as smoothly as possible. Being a producer means that you must have a sharp industry knowledge and an eye for detail whilst still keeping track of the bigger picture.
In smaller production settings, a producer will likely have more responsibility due to budget constraints, this means they as well as running the production they might have to fill other roles as well to ensure that production isn’t too constrained by a smaller pool of resources. This means that often, producer roles are very high pressure and an individual must be good at balancing their work-life responsibilities to maintain a healthy balance, as burnout can be a huge problem for them.
Budgeting is another skill a producer must have, as it will be your responsibility as a producer to ensure that the project remains within budget. If you are a producer on an independent project then going over budget can mean the project is not completed, whilst a producer for a studio may find themselves in hot water for going over budget.
Being a producer requires many skills and is quite often seen as one of the most demanding roles in the media industry. Competition for producer roles is high and usually, they are given to people who have a solid reputation for delivering results, people who have a wealth of industry experience and to people who have a large network, as not all roles are advertised and producers or potential producers are can be headhunted.
Becoming a producer will usually mean you work your way up in the industry; from starting as a runner to then working your way through various aspects of media production such as editing and directing to eventually gaining experience as a production manager, before being considered for a producer role. This is to ensure that a producer knows how production works and can cope with the demands of the role.
Though not a necessity, a degree is usually expected from a producer, as it shows that they are capable of learning at a high level, which means that any development courses they are required or expected to sit shouldn’t be too taxing on the producer or their time. Degrees are usually within a related subject such as communication and media studies, or media, film, TV or radio production.
An apprenticeship is also another route into the industry, with programmes such as the BBC Production Apprenticeships, which will allow you to gain valuable industry experience whilst building your network and learning. This shows you can deal with a varied workload and it will allow you to work on your time management skills.
If being a producer is something you're interested in, why not come along to a DEVA/hack and give it a go? You'll learn from industry professionals and create your own video portfolio in the process!