Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Exactly Do You Do?

Art Garfunkel was once asked that. Paul Simon wrote the songs and played the guitar, while Garfunkel provided only half of the vocals. Garfunkel rambled thoughtfully about being a producer of the record (back when we had records), and how he had to manipulate all the subtle nuances to create the final package.

As a producer, I can relate. When you watch a sports broadcast on TV, I’m not the guy calling the game, cutting the cameras, or coordinating the graphics. So what exactly do I do?

I have one boss who likens the producer role to a conductor of an orchestra, bringing all the different components of the show into harmony.

If I were my own boss (which, technically, I am), I would say that being a producer is about weaving a tapestry of storytelling and using all the personnel and equipment at my disposal to create a seamless journey through synergy and association. And I would make damn sure I was wearing a suit and tie when I said it.

Look, the real fun part of a production only really happens around getting all your breaks in, and running all your promos and sales obligations. That’s when it’s time to get creative and use your instincts. To try and anticipate what happens next and hope that you haven’t only mapped it out in your own head, and properly communicated it to your crew.

Content. Visuals. Replays. Graphics. Music. Forecasting. Sometimes you do nothing but enjoy the sounds of silence. A lot goes into producing a live TV show. I used to joke with a colleague that “You have no idea what I do.” That makes two of us.

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