What role do I want in the Television sector?
I want to be a Producer in the factual and drama genres as I like how audience’s expectations vary dependent on sub genre. They can be entertained, informed or educated. I personally, am keen to work on documentaries as I enjoy informing audiences of particularly stigmatised subjects. I also like fictional drama’s such as soap opera’s that use typical techniques that producers are accustomed to using like typical storylines, typical characters, dramatised storylines and narrative.
Why do I want this role?
I became interested in the Producer role during production of a quiz show in my FDA in 2015. I enjoyed the creative side in the development stages when we were trying to come up with a suitable quiz show for our target audience. I enjoyed the creative planning of putting together the best team to ensure the best possible outcome and I liked the organisational and administrational aspects of the role involved in pre-production such as producing call sheets, obtaining permissions and health and safety on and off set. I realised that organising paper work for a production is not only a job I enjoy but also an area I have skills in as I have attention to detail. I already possess many skills required to be a Producer, many of those skills have been obtained through my current job in a retail environment. I have experience in management, dealing with conflict and dealing with customers. I also have cash handling skills that can easily be transferred to a Producer role.
What skills do I need to become a Producer?
To become a producer in the television or film industry, I must possess certain skills and qualities in order to succeed. The skills required to become a producer in Television and film according to Creative Skillset can be found here.
When working at Channel 4, February 2016, Gabriel Power, the Industry Talent co-ordinator introduced me to Strengthscope, an online assessment tool that measures individual’s strengths and weaknesses, that one can work on to be the best they can be. I learnt from this that each of our strength’s contribute to personal growth and lead to peak performance which are important elements in the television Industry. This tool was very helpful in helping me to learn about the strengths I didn’t know I had or ones I needed to work on in the future. Areas I most needed to improve on were negotiating skills, Leadership and management and persuasion skills. All of these skills are key factors in being a Producer. A full self assessment from strengthscope can be viewed here.
The critical skills I currently possess that will help me progress in my career are:
- Self motivating
- Excellent communication skills
- Problem solving skills
- Computer Literate
- Strong work values
- Attention to detail
- Research skills
The areas I most want to improve in order to progress in my chosen career are:
- Understand finance and budgeting in the broadcast industry
- Understand scheduling and what affects it
- Improve my communication skills and confidence by networking
- Learn about script writing to improve my creative vision
- To learn about BECTU and how they can help me as a freelancer in the future
- To be a positive inspiration for disabled and non disabled people.
What Route Do I Take?
There are numerous steps I need to take to get to where I want to be. Adrian Johnson, a senior series producer that has twenty years of experience with the BBC, taught a course I attended, (‘Producer: Children’s TV’ by Alias Academy & Creative Skillset, February 2017.) and told me “Having a degree does not get you an automatic senior role. Everybody has to start at the bottom.” Adrian went on to tell me the typical route to get to Producer level working in a studio. (See pic below) This was very insightful as I was hearing from a person that has gone through what I want to do. Adrian told it how it was and didn’t try to cover anything up. I understand Television is a competitive industry to work your way up in, especially a disabled, middle class female. Leading with positivity is a tool that will help me stand out when working in the industry. I demonstrate this skill by handling every opportunity I face with a positive, can do attitude. I ask questions and am enthusiastic.
The steps I need to take are:
Image: TV Producer Training course, 2017. Adrian Johnson
I’ve decided to take the route to Producer through production management as I feel the roles are very similar in the administrational areas so this will give me the tools and experience to begin. To start my career, I will start as a runner. Being a runner is a key, entry level position into the industry. As a runner’s role is varied and unpredictable, it will be a good opportunity for me to learn a lot of information from inside the industry and enable me to network and build relationships. Runner jobs will help me to show potential employees that I have good communication skills, initiative, a can do attitude and can work in a fast paced environment. All of these skills can be transferred to my role in both documentary and drama genres.
Additionally, Adrian went on to discuss different team structures are dependent on genre. This was helpful in giving me an insight into the work load and size of team I could be working with in the drama sector. It was interesting to see how in children’s television (all genres) the Producer often is the director where as in drama they were separate roles showing me how different the roles are. This information will help me in the future as I can keep track of the pathway I need to take to succeed.