A producer plays a vital role in any television production. Producers are the people with the ideas or the people made responsible for the idea. They oversee all aspects of production and have many different levels of responsibility dependent on skills and job level. For me, the most essential skills to becoming a Producer are organisational skills and attention to detail. I have significantly improved and developed in both of these areas.
I feel a key skill I haven’t developed is negotiating skills because I am not yet confident enough that I have the right knowledge and experience to negotiate in the financial and budgets department which is an important area for producers and the production they are working on. As a next step, I need to shadow a team working on budgets and finance to learn about the different skills they use in order to get the best for the production they are working on. However I have learnt that negotiating is not just about finance. I unknowingly used negotiating skills in the Channel 4 pop up workshop when I noticed a team member wasn’t being used to her full potential so I moved her to a different group that enabled her to use her skills productively. I now know that negotiating is also getting the best out of your team and not just getting the best price or equipment. This knowledge will help me in future productions when motivating team members and ensuring they work to the best they possibly can.
The skill that has been the biggest learning curve and the best for personal growth has been script writing. Previously I did not think that this skill was essential to a Producer’s role and I didn’t know it may be a Producer’s job to write the script or even come up with an idea. I felt this was a skill I wouldn’t be strong at and worried that in the future, it would show my lack of creativity. This could be explained by my lack of knowledge of how scripts work and how to make a story flow. Having completed a script writing course online, I learnt how to write a script and the importance of beginning, middle and end whether this is a fictional film or a drama or documentary script. I have been able to apply different techniques to creative writing such as alliteration in children’s television scripts on the children’s television producer course (February 2017) I learnt alliteration keeps dialogue entertaining and holds attention of the younger viewers. I learnt how cliff hangers and shocks help drama programs flow easily. Having learnt how to write a script, as a producer I can now analyse a script and think about all aspects involved with filming such as time of shoot, locations, budgets, costumes, health and safety, licences and so on. I have realised how a good script connects to the organising of everything behind the scenes. This knowledge will help me with planning shoots in the future. Most importantly I have learned that script writing is another area I am interested in, so it has not only helped me creatively, it has helped me discover a new skill I enjoy and am good at thus broadening my options for the future. The next step for me is to keep an ideas book to jot all of my ideas down and work out budgeting and other costs in order to create my idea so I get experience in producing my own projects.
Taking part in children’s TV Producer course was also a learning curve for me. I had never considered working in children’s television before. The course taught me valuable knowledge about children’s working hours and laws when it comes to having children on set. This knowledge will be useful in the future if I ever work on a production involving children and I now know where to find the information I need regarding licences for children to film and who to contact such as schools and LEA’s. This course also gave me some important contacts through networking who can help me in the future with any production involving children.
Producer Steven Follows, compiled a report in 2014 on gender employment in the UK film and television industry between 2009-2013. His report recognises that between 2009-2013, only 27% of females in the Television and film industry in the UK are producers. The percentages have barely changed over the last 10 years. However, the UK creative industries employ more females overall than those in creative industries in the USA. This knowledge is useful to me as a practitioner as I want to change perceptions of females in senior roles, and this information urges me to push on and succeed. Positivity, succession and leadership are big traits of becoming a Producer so possessing these skills are an advantage to the role I want. The UK television industry is closing the gap on not only gender inequality but also under representation of BAME, disabled and LGBT communities. This is essential to me as a producer as I am disabled. Knowing production companies, such as Channel 4’s 360 charter and BBC’s Extend Hub, are working towards a diverse and representative workforce means my future is exciting and achievable and means I can put my stamp on the map for future disabled people on and off screen. Applying for jobs means I won’t be turned away for having a disability. The two tick scheme means if I have the skills required, I will be given an interview and support and adjustments will be made should I need it. A significant, positive experience of the two ticks scheme was shown when I applied for Channel 4 work experience. At the time I felt, even though I had applied through the two ticks scheme that my application would still be dismissed. I felt that putting I was disabled would be a hinder to me getting accepted onto any jobs. Having experienced Channel 4, I feel accepted and part of a team. I realise that my disability doesn’t affect the work I produce nor the standard. Furthermore I learnt how to accept myself. Having changed the way I see myself as disabled to a positive thing rather than a negative one, I applied for the ITV insight program that I was successfully accepted on to. I have learnt accepting my disability reflects in my applications as I don’t focus on my disability, I focus on my skills and what I can do. However I am not yet completely confident that having a disability will not hinder me getting a job. I will now need to work on selling myself in person rather than just on paper. Being disabled brings a whole new way of thinking so I can bring different creative ideas to the table and pave the way for a true representation of disabled people. I need to ensure that my personal insecurities do not dominate in future interviews and cover up the skills I do have in order to succeed. The interview and CV tips I learned at the RTS careers fair will help me to do this.
As a next step to further develop into the role I want, I need to continue to apply for runner jobs and researcher jobs to get experience in the smooth running of a production. This will give me the chance to put the knowledge I’ve learned into practice in order to work my way up in the industry.