The producer role is one of the most sought-after in the video industry. It is simultaneously challenging and rewarding, bringing with it both enormous respect and a huge responsibility.
For the last five years, I’ve been running a video production company, producing over 1,000 videos for a range of clients from start-ups to major brands.
In that time, I have worked with over 50 producers, either freelance or in-house and I’ve had an opportunity to notice the characteristics that correlate with success in this role. And while there are many technical skills and competencies that are fundamental to being able to carry out the producer job, I’ve found that these five soft skills truly give a video producer the edge.
As a producer, you’re in charge of and accountable for every aspect of the production. In pre-production, this means scheduling and managing teams that are resourced in time.
During production, you are running a film shoot where everything has to work to clockwork. And finally, when it comes to post-production you have a certain amount of time to edit and animate, all within the client’s budget.
The producer who can skillfully manage her own time is usually vastly more effective at all these elements of the role.
Creativity is about coming up with ideas and concepts. In an agency setting, the producer is responsible for striking a very tricky balance between getting the client’s corporate values and USPs into an editorial piece of content that people want to watch. This takes a huge amount of creativity.
Attention to detail
As the producer, you are the backbone of the production. It’s you that connects every part of the infrastructure of the production, and if you miss things or make mistakes those can have ramifications throughout the whole process. It’s therefore essential that you are meticulous and diligent and don’t let the details slip.
Because you are the centre point that everyone turns to, if, as the producer, you don’t communicate, then that spills out to affect everyone.
The camera operators, editors, directors, and lighting and sound teams all need to know what they are doing, where they need to be and when.
You are also most often client facing and what clients love most is to be kept in the loop. Therefore, communication is an essential skill for any video producer.
When your outdoor shoot is scuppered by rain, you need to come up with a creative alternative. When your soundie gets stuck in traffic, you need to be able to implement Plan B quickly.
When the client loves your concept but doesn’t have the budget for it, you need to be able to propose something different. When you’re filming a live event and you have very little control over what happens next, you need to be able to think on your feet.
The most successful producers are those who can combine technical skills with these core soft skills. These are the people who will rise to the top of the video production industry.