Here's a little secret: great projects don't just *happen*. They are the product of hard work, stellar cinematography and fine tuned editing. But knowing how to film & edit is usually just half the battle to creating awesome projects. More often than not - a great project will be the direct result of quality producing.
If filming & editing is the heart & soul of a great project - Producing is the body. Producers help projects come to life by coordinating all of the different aspects of the production. Often, producing a project means working on the concept, coordinating info with the clients, creating a budget, finding the location(s), scripting, casting, buying props, creating a schedule, sending out call-sheets, verifying addresses, setting up appointments, renting equipment, coordinating the production days, etc.
It's finding a snake shop who will let you "rent" a snake for 1 hour so you can film it on top of a PlayStation. It's knowing exactly which cliff you need to stand on to get the perfect shot of the water at sunrise. It's knowing which questions you need to ask the interviewee to get the sound bites needed for your narrative.
It's ALL of the leg work and gritty details that are rarely seen.
Here are 3 quick tips to being a better producer and creating better projects:
#3. JUST ASK! (and pick up the phone)
One key ingredient we learned early on in our producing is the power of "just ask". When a project starts, or a concept is approved, a young Producer might be overwhelmed with the idea of where to start. "How do we get access to film at an Olympic pool?", "Where can we find dancers who want to be in this video?". We learned that just ASKING can open so many doors. Researching businesses and then reaching out to ask if they'd be willing to help your project. You might get "no" often, but when you get "yes", it can lead to great things.
Another huge we made early on was trying to produce all of our projects via email. Email is great for regular correspondence, but when you're producing - you're usually trying to get info FAST. You want to see if you can film at a specific location. You need to know what the pricing is to rent a specific camera. You need answers! In our experience, picking up the phone and calling is much faster (and way more successful - it's so easy to say no or not respond via email).
#2. LOCK-IN THE DETAILS EARLY
Want to know another secret? Well, it's really not much of a secret; more common sense: if you don't finalize every possible detail of the story & concept before you start production, you'll find yourself doing twice the amount of work. Trying to produce while details are still in flux is like trying to juggle but the items you're juggling keep changing. Not fun. Work with the client to finalize all of the important details of your story or concept before you start the leg work of your producing.
#1. THINK OF EVERYTHING (and then have a back-up plan for it ALL)
As a Producer, it's on you to ensure the concept, crew, gear, locations, location contacts, etc, etc are all good to go come shoot day(s), all the way to final delivery of the finished project. However, like most things in life, not everything always goes to plan. Weather changes, construction crews make noise you didn't plan for, people get sick, tires go flat, and everything in between. Being a great Producer is always being prepared; and having a back-up plan for it all.
Let us know if you have any specific questions about being a better Producer and creating better projects! Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org