Day in the life of
Producer – Stephanie Purcell
I am a Freelance Producer for TV, Film, and Live Events.
My Typical Day
Because I am a freelance producer the project or show I am working on is always changing, which to me is the fun part! Sometimes you are in pre-production where you are busy gathering together all the logistics, making sure casting and the hiring of crew is under way. There is also a lot of talking with the network and studio to make sure everyone is on the same page. When a show is in production I am usually on set making sure everything is running smoothly and that we are staying on time and on budget. After the production, there is post-production where, if there is any editing, I mark notes on first cuts and give feedback to the editors on any changes to make. If there isn’t any real editing involved I work on closing out the books, finalizing any paperwork, and submitting reports.
The work is always changing. You get to work on a variety of projects/shows and you are not tied to one continuous project. You get to meet a variety of people and build up a resume quickly with lots of different experiences. On the flip side, if there is a particular crew you don’t love working with, you know the job will end soon and you do not have to be stuck with them.
Some of the cons are that your schedule is not always consistent. Shooting days can go long and there are often a lot of last minute fires to put out and deal with, which can be stressful.
You are always looking for the next job. You are in a continuous state of hustle and job hunting. Networking will be your best friend. Because you are freelance and contracted for a certain time period you do not get paid vacations, sick days, insurance, or 401ks. You have to plan your doctor’s appointments and holidays in the gaps when you are not working.
As the producer on set, it is your job to set the tone and that can be hard when you are constantly jumping in as the new person. Just remember to keep things positive and get your crew good food. (Lol-but seriously, a happy well fed crew goes a long way.)
Advice to aspiring freelance Producers
Be nice to everyone, the entertainment industry can often be a close-knit world and you never know who you will see again or who knows someone you may be working with in the future. I mentioned it before and will say it again, networking is huge. Whether you are looking for your next job or trying to pitch your next show idea, the more people you know (actually know) the better. Join as many professional groups as you can and be sincere-we all know when we are being hit up for work, so make some real connections where you can. I volunteer a lot with the Producer’s Guild of America and it has been a wonderful way to meet other producers and connect on a more personal level.
Things to consider
Whether it’s for the next job, pitching an idea, trying to find an investor, and getting financing, etc. – you will always be working to make connections and tie up loose ends. Additionally, you need to be organized and good at keeping a lot of balls in the air. If you can’t multi-task then you need not apply. It is also helpful if you are a whiz with budgets and can squeeze every penny where you can. So if you don’t love that kind of daily grind, I’d suggest another career choice. As a producer you’re essentially the project manager, making sure the show is a success. You have to have confidence in yourself, your team, and your work-or at least fake it! Others will be looking to you for advice and feeding off of your emotions. At times it can be a lot of pressure, so if you are not ready for that kind of responsibility, you need to reconsider.
You need to be able to work well with a variety of personalities and be a people person. This job is all about the connections and relationships you build. Whether it’s investors to crew members willing to work with you again. You also need to be able to get things done. The office clown is great fun, but can they actually get the work completed in a timely manner, and under budget?
If you are up for all of that, then it’s a great job with a lot of variety, and getting to see a project from idea to completion is so satisfactory!
plan and coordinate various aspects of radio, television, stage, or motion picture production, such as selecting script, coordinating writing, directing and editing, and arranging financing.