Interested in digital video and media production? An associate producer may be an entry level role in this industry. The associate producer is the producer’s right hand and supports them with whatever is needed. As an associate producer you’ll need good multi-tasking skills, be deadline sensitive and make sound decisions. You will also need to be a problem solver, able to supervise a crew, and use your innovative and creative technical skills to operate production equipment. You may be asking yourself, “What does a producer and associate producer do?” You may also be wondering what the different stages of production are. If you are ready to work in a highly rewarding, fast-paced and creative job, becoming an associate producer may be the right career for you.
What Does an Associate Producer Do?
The associate producer assists the producer to put a TV program, media project or film together. They will coordinate schedules for content production and direct teams as needed. They will also write and create content, communicate between colleagues and edit video. Associate producers also ensure that projects conform to style guides and standards, write copy, cue media and make sure scripts are in order. An associate producer will work in the development stages, pre-production, production and post production as delegated by the producer.
What Does a Producer Do?
According to the Producers Guild of America, the producer initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls all aspects of the film and television production process. This includes creative, financial, technological and administrative processes.
Skills Needed to Do the Associate Producer Job
Do you have one or more of the following skills to do an associate producer job? If you have some of the skills, the rest can be learned at a vocational school, externship and on the job. A successful associate producer will be good at multi-tasking, deadline sensitive, resolver of problems, a good supervisor and leader, innovative and creative and have the technical skills to us different types of tools and production equipment.
Multi-Tasking – the associate producer manages multiple tasks to get the TV program or film through each stage of production. They also juggle many people, props, equipment and schedules in production.
Deadline Sensitive – each element of the production will have deadlines so the next phase of production can start. Also, the associate producer’s job is to make sure people are in the right place, content is delivered on time and production runs on time. All productions are deadline sensitive and so too should the associate producer.
Decision Making Skills – associate producers may be responsible for hiring crew members or making an important decision without the help of the producer. The associate producer’s job is to understand the producer’s point of view and make the proper decision in their absence. Knowing exactly what the producer wants takes time and a deep knowledge of the producer’s philosophy. However, many times an associate producer just needs to make the best decision possible to leave the producer to more pressing issues.
Problem Resolution – during production problems may arise and the job of the associate producer is to solve those problems. The associate producer will need to make sure that production of the TV program or film can run on time and under budget.
Supervisory Skills – the associate producer must be a good leader as they may manage subordinates and be ambassadors between colleagues. Good supervision and leadership skills are paramount for an associate producer to keep the production meeting sensitive deadlines.
Innovation Skills – it is the associate producer’s job to come up with innovative and creative ideas to keep production moving forward. An asset may not be available, or production equipment might be broken. The innovation skills of the associate producer will be tested, and they need to step up to the challenge. Being innovative and creative is important for an associate producer to be successful in their job.
Technical Skills – the associate producer should know how to use all of the different types of tools and production equipment that will be used during the production of the TV show or film. They should keep up with trends and new equipment that is introduced into the industry. The associate producer needs to stay on the cutting edge to be successful during pre-production, production and post-production.
The Phases of Production
The production process refers to the phases required to complete a media product. The producer and associate producer are involved in every phase of the production including the development stage, pre-production, production and post production.
Development Stage – the production starts with pitching an idea to a studio or executive producer. Then notes are given about the pitch from the studio and all others involved. The outline of the TV show or film is produced and turned into a script. After the first draft of the script, the studio and producers will give notes to finalize the script. Once the script is completed, pre-production begins.
Pre-Production – this phase happens after a script is approved and before the camera rolls. This is the time to confirm a preliminary budget and schedule for production. Next, the production team heads are hired, the creative planning begins, storyboards are created, and graphics conceived. The budget and production schedule are refined based on the production team heads experience and knowledge. Then, the associate producer will secure rentals, any props needed, file for permits and confirm a location for the shoot. The rest of the crew is hired and tasked based on the production schedule. Finally, the cast and crew will rehearse before production begins. Once pre-production is complete, the camera rolls and the real action begins.
Production – this involves the actual shooting of the TV show, media production or film. This phase captures all the scenes from pre-production. The associate producer is responsible for making sure crew is present and punctual, props are managed properly, and any media is cued for the producer. B-roll will be shot to supplement the production during post-production and editing. Once all footage has been collected post-production begins.
Post Production – all footage is “in the can” and ready to be assembled. This is the time to add anything including images, music, color correction and special effects. The footage is edited into a final product and the TV show, media production or film is given a test screening to identify any issues and make it ready for syndication.
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