Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ThulsaDoom

Switch from Designer to Producer

Recommended Posts

Just from observation I would say you need to widen your skillset, depending on what you want to produce. Like our producers understand the whole pipeline. You don't need to be an expert, just know what's involved and what it costs. Also, money skills are important, as is project management.

 

You need to be able to look after several projects at once and be the person who is ultimately responsible for the life or death of that project. Oh and being capable of making quick decisions helps too. I would imagine that it helps if you are articulate and have good written skills as you'll most likely be the person on the business end of pitches and/or defending your designers from those pesky clients.

 

More tips are available in my book "The Perfect Producer" which is available in autumn.

 

EDIT And as for the "how"... Most producers work their way up from the bottom. My current line producer got work at our studio as an assistant doing offlines, loading tapes, logging, helping out on shoots, doing tea + coffee etc. Probably not what you want to hear but I don't know how else you'll get the experience other than learning on the job. Probably best to do work shadowing or interning in your spare time.

 

Dan

Edited by dan_hin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What skills are needed to become a producer? If someone has been a mograph designer for a while and they want a career change. How would you cross over?

 

You know when you were a kid, and you were on a long car journey sat in the back picking your nose, and every three minutes for six hours straight you asked, "... are we nearly there yet?". That's all the skills you need right there.

 

The rest you can pick up as you go along :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm producing a project now for the first time and it's a pretty different skillset than being a motion designer. Knowing the pipeline and process helps of course but the one thing I'm finding tough is you really have to be able to negotiate (both with clients and with talent) you need a pretty thick skin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know when you were a kid, and you were on a long car journey sat in the back picking your nose, and every three minutes for six hours straight you asked, "... are we nearly there yet?". That's all the skills you need right there.

 

The rest you can pick up as you go along :P

 

Ha...you got the snarky comment in before me :P

 

My advice....insert the word "edgy" into every second sentence. That's soooooo totally hot right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What skills are needed to become a producer?

 

Get hit by a car to erase how to do anything technical, then ask your crew how long it will take them to do stuff. Then fill in a bid form to fit that guesstimate. Then be a liaison between technical people except be as vague and loose as possible with really important specs like a DVD is a "DV" and a Quicktime is an "Mpeg". Another favorite is to say the client needs a CD. To which we ask, "Did they mean a DVD? If so, do they want it as a playable DVD in any player? Or a DVD Rom with files on it? If a DVD Rom, which computer format? If they want video files, what are the specs? Quicktime? Which codec? Framerate? Resolution?. I can suggest something if I can know what the purpose is....web? Broadcast? Uncompressed?"

 

Then you're ready!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get hit by a car to erase how to do anything technical, then ask your crew how long it will take them to do stuff. Then fill in a bid form to fit that guesstimate. Then be a liaison between technical people except be as vague and loose as possible with really important specs like a DVD is a "DV" and a Quicktime is an "Mpeg". Another favorite is to say the client needs a CD. To which we ask, "Did they mean a DVD? If so, do they want it as a playable DVD in any player? Or a DVD Rom with files on it? If a DVD Rom, which computer format? If they want video files, what are the specs? Quicktime? Which codec? Framerate? Resolution?. I can suggest something if I can know what the purpose is....web? Broadcast? Uncompressed?"

 

Then you're ready!!

 

I have this situation almost every. Single. Day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how professional the mograph industry is in that regard. In the web business you'd be expected to know Prince II, scrum, waterfall, all the various way of handling a project. You'd be expected to be able to manage workers, budget and client expectations. To be a shield in between the production crew and the client, to carefully lead a client back to reality from the endless possibilities promised by an account manager and to basically be responsible for any shit that happens. Cuz that's what project management in the end is, cleaning up other ppl's shit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You also need to learn how to ask the designer's question of the client in the most round about way possible, not straight forward, but round and round and round about.

 

haha. this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just remember that when conveying deliverable specs to the designers "full-res", "uncompressed", "hi-res" and "final" are all interchangeable terms.

Also, when the client asks for 16:9 letterboxed-HD make sure not to question the spec and pass it right along to the editors, it's their problem now.

 

In all seriousness, get good at dealing with pissy, cynical, creatives with a smile. Our producer has the patience of a saint and if it weren't for that getting things done would be like pulling teeth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hover over artists while they try and work, like you don't trust them to do their job.

 

Be condescending to artists in a very subtle, indirect manner.

 

Talk incessantly about how you don't know anything about any of the technical aspects of the work artists are trying to do while you hover over them.

 

Act like you're an art director or a creative director, even though you're the producer and you've never even taken a type class.

 

Give artists verbal direction but refuse to send or copy them on any emails documenting that direction, so that you can always turn around and deny that you told them to do something regarding said direction, avoiding any blame for mishaps from those higher up in the chain of command.

 

Mismanage projects and do everything in your power to blame the artists working on said project for your mismanagement.

 

Have a subtle bitchy tone in your voice towards everyone except those with the power to fire you or have you fired.

 

Low-ball artists on their rates as much as possible.

 

Evade paying over-time and Employer taxes on pain of death, by using EORS and other shady business practices like intentional Employee misclassification.

 

Make sure you always get artists to agree to net 45, net 60 or net 90 payment agreements even though no payment should be greater than net 30 and those checks your crappy EOR is sending them should in reality, be coming every two weeks; because who really cares if they need to eat and pay bills like everyone else. If they die of starvation and / or go bankrupt you can always just get a new one the next day.

 

Manipulate newer artists just out of school into low balled rates and fail to mention that your company uses MBO or Yurcor EORS that are going to double tax them, making them pay your Employer taxes, and charge them a 5% to 10% processing fee on that crappy flat day rate you just got them to agree to.

 

Get artists to agree to flat day rates with no over time compensation. Never specify how many hours per day artists are to work for the flat rate and then demand that they work 12 to 16 hour days once they've signed all of your shady work agreements.

 

Try to pressure artists into signing your contracts without reading them.

 

Put artists on hold whenever possible, even if you know there's a 90% to 99% chance you aren't going to use them. Ever.

 

Tell artists you'll call them back or email them back by the end of the day or "shortly" and then never call or email them back.

 

When it comes to artists, stick to the tried and true philosophy of "Turn 'em and Burn 'em".

 

If anyone ever questions any of your shady contracts, project mismanagement, employee misclassification, refusal to pay over time, use of EORS like MBO and Yurcor, etc.. make sure that you infer that you can have them "black listed" by making some sort of off hand remark about what a "small industry it is" or something to that effect. Hell, do that on a regular basis any way just to maintain an atmosphere of underlying fear. Sometimes you'll see Creative Directors use this one too. In this case, follow their lead and enjoy the process of intimidating people.

 

Remember, it's a fucking privilege for those peons to work 16 hour days with no over time at your mograph / vfx shop.

 

Treat all artists like they're a dime a dozen and it's your God given right to treat them like shit. Remember that most of them are spineless with low self esteem and no business sense. The ones that aren't are so few that they're easy to get rid of and replace.

Edited by tvp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hover over artists while they try and work, like you don't trust them to do their job.

 

Be condescending to artists in a very subtle, indirect manner.

 

Talk incessantly about how you don't know anything about any of the technical aspects of the work artists are trying to do while you hover over them.

 

Act like you're an art director or a creative director, even though you're the producer and you've never even taken a type class.

 

Give artists verbal direction but refuse to send or copy them on any emails documenting that direction, so that you can always turn around and deny that you told them to do something regarding said direction, avoiding any blame for mishaps from those higher up in the chain of command.

 

Mismanage projects and do everything in your power to blame the artists working on said project for your mismanagement.

 

Have a subtle bitchy tone in your voice towards everyone except those with the power to fire you or have you fired.

 

Low-ball artists on their rates as much as possible.

 

Evade paying over-time and Employer taxes on pain of death, by using EORS and other shady business practices like intentional Employee misclassification.

 

Make sure you always get artists to agree to net 45, net 60 or net 90 payment agreements even though no payment should be greater than net 30 and those checks your crappy EOR is sending them should in reality, be coming every two weeks; because who really cares if they need to eat and pay bills like everyone else. If they die of starvation and / or go bankrupt you can always just get a new one the next day.

 

Manipulate newer artists just out of school into low balled rates and fail to mention that your company uses MBO or Yurcor EORS that are going to double tax them, making them pay your Employer taxes, and charge them a 5% to 10% processing fee on that crappy flat day rate you just got them to agree to.

 

Get artists to agree to flat day rates with no over time compensation. Never specify how many hours per day artists are to work for the flat rate and then demand that they work 12 to 16 hour days once they've signed all of your shady work agreements.

 

Try to pressure artists into signing your contracts without reading them.

 

Put artists on hold whenever possible, even if you know there's a 90% to 99% chance you aren't going to use them. Ever.

 

Tell artists you'll call them back or email them back by the end of the day or "shortly" and then never call or email them back.

 

When it comes to artists, stick to the tried and true philosophy of "Turn 'em and Burn 'em".

 

If anyone ever questions any of your shady contracts, project mismanagement, employee misclassification, refusal to pay over time, use of EORS like MBO and Yurcor, etc.. make sure that you infer that you can have them "black listed" by making some sort of off hand remark about what a "small industry it is" or something to that effect. Hell, do that on a regular basis any way just to maintain an atmosphere of underlying fear. Sometimes you'll see Creative Directors use this one too. In this case, follow their lead and enjoy the process of intimidating people.

 

Remember, it's a fucking privilege for those peons to work 16 hour days with no over time at your mograph / vfx shop.

 

Treat all artists like they're a dime a dozen and it's your God given right to treat them like shit. Remember that most of them are spineless with low self esteem and no business sense. The ones that aren't are so few that they're easy to get rid of and replace.

 

 

I'm not sure if I should feel sad that so many producers are no-talent bullshitters or happy that it's not just me that has to deal with these types.

 

I've worked with a few really good producers. They are worth their weight in gold. It's just such a bummer they are so rare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the web business you'd be expected to know Prince II, scrum, waterfall, all the various way of handling a project.

 

uh... not really. At least not in my experience. But then "web business" is kind of a hugely broad generalization.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...