A Day with… The Producer

  • What does a typical day as a Producer look like?

I’m not really sure you can call any day as a producer typical. It’s one of the reasons it makes it so appealing to me. Some days it’s emails all day in the office, other days back to back meetings with clients. Then of course there are the long days on set and the prep days which depending on the shoot can involve anything from trekking through a remote location to shopping for a toy car.

  • What tasks do you usually do in the morning/afternoon/evening?

As much as I don’t have a regular day as a producer, I do have a regular morning (unless its a 3am call time)… After years of working as a barista I still have the habit of getting up early. I exercise because there is probably no chance for that any other time in the day and then I head to the office early to have a relaxed morning coffee and catch up with what’s going on in the world. This is actually probably one of the most important parts of my job. Understanding what’s relevant in our industry. I make a daily visit to Ad week, creative review and many other similar sites before I begin replying to any emails and admin that lies ahead. This makes me motivated to motivate others to begin creating new things in the day ahead!  I’m a little different in the sense that I am the most productive before 10am, which is a little unusual for this industry.

  • What do you often do on a weekly or monthly basis?

Talk. I talk a lot. As a producer it is your job to talk. To clients, to admin, to finance to freelancers, to location managers. To everyone. While I  might delegate tasks out it is always my responsibility to ensure that everything is done right, not just for the client but for us here at RICE too.

  • How many hours do you work?

How long is a piece of string? Haha.. It really depends. I can’t deny the hours are usually long.. And the time around the shoot can be better measured in days rather than hours. However with good management and productivity I can find myself home by just after 6 cooking dinner.

  • What are your core responsibilities?

Looking after people. I think that’s the best way to put it. There is obviously financing, negotiating, organising, management, creativity. But ultimately all of those responsibilities come back to looking after a creative project for both the need of the clients and the artists. The goal at the end of the shoot is to make something that everyone is proud of, and my responsibility is to look after everyone involved, so the goal can happen!

  • What are some difficulties you usually face at work?

The word no is probably my biggest problem. Whether I’m saying it or a client is saying it to me I always find it a little difficult.Both saying no to an idea that someone has crafted, or being told “No we don’t have the budget to produce a project like that” is a bit of a creative downer. However, the bright side of that is being able to adapt in a difficult situation and pull through the challenge to make something that works for everyone.

  • What do you love the most about your job?

Shoot day. I would say that it was seeing the final product, except I get a huge rush of adrenaline on shooting days. I am an active person and the days we are shooting is when I get to be most active. There are always small problems (sometimes a little bigger…) but in my experience you always get through it. Shoot days also always bring a team closer together and that’s something really nice to see.

  • What gives you a feeling of satisfaction at work?

Seeing the end result. More so seeing it when other people get to see it. It’s pretty special to be able to say “Hey I helped make the ad on your Facebook feed right now”.

  • When did you realise this was what you wanted to do?

Probably not until after I started doing it to be honest. I come from a photography background. I studied commercial photography in Australia and still practice and love it. However I also love management and became very aware that I needed to do something to enhance my photography. Producing popped up and I knew was an incredible opportunity so I jumped at it.

  • How did you get to where you are now? (e.g. past work experience)

Well. I don’t have a very linear journey.  I have done many odd jobs; from working in a large Melbourne commercial photographic studio, to taking photos of children with Santa Claus and managing one of the top cafes and coffee roasteries in London. This is where I discovered I really loved photographing food. From there I began freelancing, travelling and photographing everything I ate. In the past four years I have lived in about 4 different countries and travelled to over 20 more. I worked on a cruise ship for a while as a dancer, which would be irrelevant except it made me realise what I really wanted to do moving forward, which was making imagery. Static imagery is not enough anymore though, so I started to become more involved in moving imagery. So when I moved to Vietnam and the opportunity here at RICE opened up I jumped at the chance to combine all of my skills as a Producer.

  • Who do you work alongside the most? (e.g. People, teams, clients etc)

I work a bit with everyone. However, structurally it’s clients and Production managers. It’s my job to liaise between the two sides. Then of course It’s working alongside the Director with the client to align our ideas and get the project to the end result.

  • What skills are needed to do a job like yours?

Good communication. It’s the big one. Not just for a producer but everyone in the industry. Organisation, management, creativity, persistence and patience follow closely behind but knowing how to communicate and help others to do the same is the most important.

  • What advice do you have for other people interested in being a Producer?

Stay patient and be creative. Just because a lot of this job may seem like pure management doesn’t mean you don’t have room to be creative yourself. We are helping to produce a creative product so make sure you keep your personal creative passions as they will enhance your love of producing and your appreciation of the final product.