We have gathered here today dear people, to raise our glasses to the unsung heroes of the creative industry: Here, here Producers!
Behind every film, fashion shoot, music video, campaign, and theatre production, to name a few, there’s a producer who’s been working tirelessly to bring it all together. They’re the masterminds behind the scenes, making sure that everything runs smoothly and that the final product is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Welcome to TNC Talks Vol.10: Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due, Producers Edition.
But, why is it that producers often go unnoticed, despite playing such a crucial role in the success of a project? Perhaps because few understand the role these crucial individuals play in creative projects. We’re here to tell you that they’re the ones who put their reputation on the line to bring a project to fruition. They’re the ones who believe in the story, who see its potential long before it ever reaches the screen or the stage. Producers are the creative visionaries who bring the story to life, bringing together a team of talented artists and technicians to create something truly remarkable.
And who better to make us understand just how crucial the job of a Producer is than the current talent carrying out some of the most exciting projects in the industry nowadays!
A producer is part of a project from start to finish. The job entails budgeting, hiring crew members, finding locations, and sourcing the right equipment while working side by side with the director to make sure everything is creatively satisfying. The most valuable characteristic is probably… Patience! But like a game of chess, you should be able to think a few moves ahead because things change and you need to be ready for it.
I didn’t dream of becoming a producer initially! People start off in numerous ways but I would say most people begin by working on set in different positions and see an opportunity to move up or do it better.
A good producer should enhance a director’s ideas.
In my experience, a producer’s impact on the creative varies quite a bit from project to project and depending on who the director is. Hiring key crew members, scouting locations, and making other key decisions all help guide where the shoot takes place and what the end result looks like. A good producer should enhance a director’s ideas.
Freelance Executive Producer | Creative Producer | Creative Director
To me, producing came about as I skipped university, I was assisting at a Fashion PR company (pre-Instagram and social content) and would naturally gravitate to organising shoots, fashion shows and events for our clients. From there I just enjoyed putting the amazing people I met throughout my journey together, to make exciting creative work. Once you have a few videos or still shoots under your belt, you have already demonstrated your ability to execute a project. From there you can confidently reach out to production companies and agencies to help get a foot in the door.
Being a producer means you have to oversee, manage and execute everything in a project. From supporting the creative birth of something to delivering on time, within scope and on budget. There are some key characteristics that are a must if you want to get into production: You have to be an organised person at work. It doesn’t matter if your bedroom is a mess but when you are put in charge of sometimes millions of pounds of client budget it’s your responsibility to make sure this is spent as promised without compromising the creative vision, not keeping your ducks in a row will never work for this. You must be kind, fair, firm and fun – everyone wants someone they can trust on set and let’s face it this is still very much a man’s industry so as a woman it’s important to stand strong and back your own decisions and instincts. People will try and second guess you but as long as you are considering all opinions, factors and options in your decisions do not be afraid to put your foot down if necessary. Saying that, it’s key to be a team player and ensure people leave your shoots feeling like the job was a combined team effort. We aren’t saving lives so have fun with it!
You must be kind, fair, firm and fun
The producer massively impacts the creative vision and result of a project! Whilst you have the ability to bring something to life, you also have the keys to restricting the creative vision by holding the purse strings. In the early days, my focus was to deliver on time and on budget with the client’s needs being at the forefront of my mind, this would sometimes restrict the creative of the project and I learnt quickly you can end up with a small amount to play with in the edit suite if you haven’t been creative with your time and budget. Whilst keeping the client happy is still one of the most important things to do in production, there is also a knack for collaborating with your director and team to help bring the vision to life through affordable and creative solutions this will help elevate what could be another tick box piece of content, commercial or promo and bring it to the next level where you could be winning awards. If the client has bought into the director, they will be open to you really going for it with the creative – as long as it is on budget. So the key is not to forget you want to make something everyone is proud of as well as keep the client happy!
Director | Producer | Co-Founder of ACID Media
One of the best explanations of the job I’ve heard is: “Producing is all about solving every problem you can possibly think of in prep so that by the time you’re on set and filming you can concentrate on all of the things you would have never thought would go wrong.” I think that’s a pretty good description of the job personally because, at the end of the day, it’s really all about problem-solving. Whether that’s figuring out the best way to budget a production, hiring the right crew for each specific job, or trying to figure out the best way to get a car 30 feet off the ground and make it explode for that one shot that’s gonna make the whole video. You’ve gotta be quick with solutions and be a strong communicator so that everyone stays on the same page.
I feel like most of the producers I know (myself included) sort of fell into it. You get involved with a project here and there, and you slowly build up a body of work. One job leads to another and eventually – if you’re lucky – it’s a snowball effect from there. It really is all about who you know, but that isn’t to say you’ve got to be born into it. I had no industry connections when I started, but over time I got connected with the right people at the right time and it’s taken off from there.
It’s truly a collaborative endeavour at each and every step, but the producer serves a critical role in making the ideas come to life.
The Producer has a massive impact on the end result of every project, after all, they’re the ones who decide how the money gets spent. But each producer takes sort of a different approach. Some producers are incredibly organized and focus mainly on the logistics of production – personally, I work as a Director as well as Producer, so I like to get involved on the creative side of things in addition to the logistics and serve as a sounding board for the Director and other department heads to workshop ideas. Getting the right people for the job is crucial to a project’s success and it’s typically the producer who picks the crew, pairing a Director of Photography with a Production Designer who will complement one another, finding a location that matches the creative but also works logistically. It’s truly a collaborative endeavour at each and every step, but the producer serves a critical role in making the ideas come to life.
Producer | Location Scout | Art Buyer | Projects Dir
I started my career in Fashion PR and always loved working on the shows. Over time I began to get more involved in the planning of the shows for my long-standing designer clients. I realised I wanted to immerse myself more in this area so decided to leave PR and focus on production. I was very fortunate that some of the designers I had been doing PR for supported me and made me their show producer straight away. Although there is never a month I’m not working on a fashion week for London, Milan or Paris I have diversified into producing fashion-based events, launches and photoshoots.
As a show producer, I am there from the very start to the very end of the process. It begins with me discussing with the designer their inspiration for the season ahead and their wishes for the location and show design. Over the coming months, it’s then my job to build the show overseeing all creative and technical departments to deliver the designer’s vision.
I am there to deliver the creative vision of the project as much as possible but I also have to make sure that vision is practicable and financially achievable.
I am there to deliver the creative vision of the project as much as possible but I also have to make sure that vision is practicable and financially achievable. Sometimes I have to disappoint a designer or creative team by making them realise their dream will not become a reality, and it’s normally down to costs! However, it’s also my responsibility to offer solutions and explore alternative ways to achieve a similar result to the initial idea.