When a 16-hour render crashes 12 hours before the deadline, it’s difficult to not flip the table over and destroy everything and everyone in sight.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a producer by nature. I had no interest in above the line jobs (directing/producing/cinematography) in school—I preferred the tech aspect of production. However, it’s simply more practical to have some experience in all aspects of production.
We’re actively pushing to grow our client base at Perplexity and with that expansion comes loads more responsibility on all of our plates. As a result, recently I’ve taken the lead on a couple of our projects. The first time stepping up to the plate can be a frenzy; these words of wisdom will help.
Observe other Producers: There’s no substitute from learning directly from the source.
I lucked into working with two people that have strong minds for producing. Look at the hard facts of how the production went from conception to fruition. Pay attention to techniques (and people) that help sets run smoothly and others that slow things down. Everyone seems to have snide, silent ideas—myself included—in the middle of production like, “if we did thing ‘x,’ this would go faster.” Note those ideas and implement them.
Add Style to Producing: Give yourself a “thing,” something to distinguish you as more than just the all-mighty emailer.
I create tons of pre-production infographics, diagrams, and production briefs to disseminate to the production team. When there’s little or no money in it for the crew, don’t expect the majority of them to actually read the entire production spreadsheet before showing up to set. Instead, create a one-sheet that boldly states the critical information for crew (location, arrival time, hours expected, etc.)
Key Factor of Producing: Pre-production and post-production are the allotted frantic times for producers.
When working as a member of the lighting, camera, or sound tech teams, the high-pressure time is during the actual production—the shooting. There’s work to do whether it’s setting up for the next shot or wrangling cords. During the heavy pre-production and post-production phases, tech teams are rarely involved.
Producing is the other side of the coin; the pressure is on up until the production day(s) and then resumes shortly after. Funding, paperwork, scheduling, rentals, hiring, and a slew of other tasks have to be sorted out beforehand. It’s a lot of emailing, calling, more emailing, and more calling. However, once the crew and talent arrive on set, it’s time to trust the technicians to make the essential production gears turn. Back off and trust them; you hired them.
Take a rest. Independent production requires wearing many hats. Producer may entail being the second camera operator, editor, and client liaison simultaneously. Consider time spent on set as time to breathe; post-production and delivery can be equally nightmarish.
The export will go wrong. The render will crash. A tiny tear for production humanity will fall. Yet, the project will—and must—go on. Consistently meeting contract terms is integral to growing a company.
Producing is a hassle. Good producers are meticulous, over-analytical, border on smothering, and ultimately retain clients. Showing professional merit is certain to instill a sense of confidence in prospective clients and ensure that former and returning clients spread the word.
With a specialty in lighting and graphic design, Bryan aims to blend his artistic passions together in a seamless manner. His experience in graphic design includes traditional print (newspaper/magazine layout), brand identity/logo design and expressive typography with his latest venture being motion graphics. He’s always trying to find a way to connect the dots between his passions—something says he just might find a way.