Why you need a Producer – with a capital “P”

The other day I was chatting with a colleague about how much strange it seemed that fewer clients wanted to hire Producers as part of their video or media project team. He noted that more and more of his clients think they can do the job themselves, but they turn out to be terrible! The client hires a crew, the crew shows up, and they the client starts figuring out what to shoot. That never works out well.

Someone with experience creating or managing a video or media project is not necessarily a good Producer. Just because you got the job done in the past doesn’t mean you are now a Producer with a capital “P”. So what exactly makes a good Producer and why should that person be the first to be hired on your project?

Would you build a building without an Architect? Design a roadway without an Engineer? Go into surgery without a Surgeon? Not a chance. You count on the expertise of the people to create something safe, effective, and perfect. So why would you go into a video project without a Producer? Someone has to create the plan for the team to follow, and then lead that team through the project. Your Producer is that person. She Who Gets Things Done. On Budget. On Time. The Producer makes your plan. Keeps you on track and focused. This is the person who makes sure that you don’t waste time and money shooting things you don’t need.

I once worked on a project (as a Producer) with a client who really thought she knew what she was doing. She booked a shoot day in her office and at least let me come in ahead of time for a site visit. I pointed out what we would need to do to accommodate her needs and she balked at nearly everything. The lighting wasn’t sufficient I many areas but she didn’t want to give us time to set up our own appropriate lighting. So those shots were nearly unusable because they were too dark. She didn’t give us enough time to complete each interview so responses were stilted and we couldn’t cover everything. At every turn, this client refused to listen to the experienced team she had hired and her project suffered as a result.

Some client producers go directly to hiring a crew, have them show up, and then begin to make a plan from there, wasting valuable time, and therefore money, trying to pull something together. The lack of planning always shows up in the end result because too many things are overlooked. Too many of the client’s desired shots aren’t possible because the conditions aren’t sufficient and the needed equipment wasn’t booked – because no one knew to plan for it. A Producer would have forseen all needs of the shoot and been prepared.  That client ends up not only creating a less than lackluster project but now has a team of people who don’t want to work for that company again.

The next time you are considering a video project. Start with your Producer. They can help you not only save money, but time and a lot of headaches. Let Firedrake Productions produce your next project. You’ll save a fortune in Aspirin.