A Great Video Producer

A Great Video Producer

We often hear from our clients that working with Sparkworks is a great experience. It feels really good to know that we’re meeting or exceeding our client’s expectations.We think a lot of it has to do with the producer.

The video producer’s job is to ensure a project is produced on time, on budget and to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. 

On Time: This means everyone on the team (client team and production team) knows the schedule for the project. 

This includes the macro schedule:

  • Pre Production:  how much time for discovery, client discussion, scripting, casting etc
  • Production: how many days planned for filming/animating, etc
  • Editing: how many hours will be spent for choosing footage, adding music, grading etc.

Review time for the client at each stage of this process needs to be built in. 

And it includes the micro schedule:

  • How will production days be organized? How long will production occur at one location vs another? Who needs to be where and when? How will they get there and where will they park? What needs to be rented? 

Timings do change. Reviews can take longer (or shorter). A key on-camera person isn’t available till later (or is only available tomorrow). It’s up the producer to coordinate with the client and production team so all the people and places to align.

On Budget: This seems pretty straight forward but can be quite complex and even part of the creative process. 

There may be a total budget target for the client but the producer may find some expense categories are higher and others are lower than expected. Keeping track of these expenses and knowing when to say ‘yes, you can spend more here’ or ‘no, you’re at your max’ to a production team member means not just hitting the total budget mark, but also includes a creative decision on what efforts will lead to the best video. 

The producer is also the first to know when a total budget might exceed target and must be ready to discuss options with the client. A good producer can help explain why it could be very worth the extra $500 to hire professional talent or rent a location to make the video that much better. Or how cutting that one scene could save thousands. 

Stakeholder Satisfaction: Every video project has a lot of stakeholders. 

There’s the client of course, and that can include everyone who might see the video and have an opinion about it. The client goals are a creative video that grabs attention and tells a story people remember and believe in. So the producer is at the client’s side as their champion, helping make sure the project works strategically and creatively to meet those goals. 

Other stakeholders include the writer, director and production team – and the producer themselves! They all want to work on interesting projects with people that allow them some creative freedom and expression (within limits the producer defines) and that allows them to pay the rent. 

But there’s also stakeholders you might not think about like the City whose street you want to film on. The FAA who cares where we fly that drone. The client’s landlord who wants you to use the loading dock to bring cameras in, not the front entrance. 

Regardless, of who the stakeholder is, we want the process to appear as smooth and stress free as possible. So the producer must consider all these potential stakeholders and communicate with anyone who needs to know ‘what’ and ‘when’. The communication should be clear, concise and complete while at the same time adding the right amount of finesse to negotiate any hurdles. 

And for those working directly on the project (the client and production team) we want it to be a creative and satisfying experience. That means we’re working on each client’s behalf to help meet their goals and being sincere in our desire to see everyone succeed. 

How does that happen? It starts with a producer who is always looking ahead to the next step. A producer that has a vision of how all the people, places and things will come together. A producer that has a plan make things happen and the perseverance to ensure they do. 

This all sounds like a full time job and on some projects it is. But even if you’ve worked on projects that didn’t have an assigned producer, if the project was smooth and enjoyable, effective and fun, we’d wager someone on the production team was working behind the scenes as a producer. A great one.