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What is a Producer?

What is a ProducerFor 30 years I have been working as an audio editor, audio engineer, live sound reinforcement, director, camera operator and business owner. Perhaps one of my favorite jobs is that of being a producer, and when I explain to people who ask what a producer does, I explain based on whatever job at hand I’m working on.

For instance, in a live reinforcement application, a producer is the person sources all of the pieces and parts necessary to make that show a success, as well as manage all of the labor and the meal breaks and the scheduling and the attire of the crew. And in a live production situation, depending on the client – and any client-specific requests – the production team can wear all black or they can wear business attire. And, again, that depends on the client.

In a video production situation, the producer is the person who understands the scope of work for the production and brings a team together and assigns duties in order to execute that production. Sometimes the scope of work is so large that many persons will be required in order to successfully complete the project.

In some cases, the client may require more activity than the crew that has been budgeted can handle. That’s why as a producer it is extremely important to understand the client’s expectations and anticipate additional activity and make sure that you have it covered. And, of course, part of the financial quote in your proposal.

In the studio a producer is in charge of similar activities – bringing on the right staff members to handle the video recording and being able to coordinate the client – makeup, wardrobe, rehearsal time … and not pushing the team too much, because it’s very difficult to be creative in a tense environment. Which is another activity for which a producer is responsible: making sure the environment for the production is stress-free and allows creativity to flow.

So, a producer is in charge of the crew, the feel of the production, the flow of the work, meeting the expectations of the client, coming in on – if not under – budget, and communicating back to the customer service representative when the budget may go over, prior to the budget going over. And this is a very important element. Producers sometimes can get carried away and deliver what the client is expecting, while spending more than the client is expecting to pay. So it is very important to be able anticipate that situation before it happens. It’s very important to communicate in anticipation of going over budget before the work is executed. That way you have given the client an opportunity to make a decision on whether or not they want to reduce the scope of work and meet the budget, or add additional dollars and go over budget.

 photo credit: Jason Bonham via photopin (license)


2 thoughts on “What is a Producer?”

  1. I’ve been reading a book called “Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals”. Sounds like no two projects are ever alike.

    1. Plays and musicals are really a whole different ball game. Sometimes they can be more stressful, as there isn’t an option to “do another take.” The show is your take. I agree, though, no two projects, even within video, are ever alike.

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