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"A Good Balance Between Creativity And Management...
I think what surprises me most about being a producer is how competitive the industry is and how hard it is to find good, reliable talent. It's really about relationship-building and project management. It is also a rewarding career in that you have some creative freedom and don't sit behind a desk all day." (Production Manager; 2013)
"Less Money Than Expected...
Most people are surprised by the salary of a producer. It is very low for the amount of work that you do. We are required to work holidays and weekends and often don't get extra compensation for overtime or holidays." (Producer; 2013)
"Confidence Is Key...
It has been incredibly hard to find work. I should not be surprised, looking back, but the reality is that very few people can make it outside of the film meccas like Hollywood. The competition for jobs everywhere is fierce. You also have to be prepared to lie about your abilities and competence. I have found so many disingenuous people, full of-- not to be crass-- BS. It's not just about your passion, it's about your personality, because it's a hundred times harder if you're not precisely the right combination of things. Even independent film has a lot of competition for jobs. In other words, you need to be bursting with confidence, which is the major thing I lack. Confidence in yourself means confidence in the project, even when the project may not warrant it. And that is fundamental to getting a production off the ground." (Photographer; 2013)
"It's All About Who You Know, Not Necessarily What You Know...
I was surprised to find out how much it was about "who you know" than "what you know" when it comes to television production. Instead of simply applying to jobs, I had to research specific contact information to try to get my foot in the door. Once you've had your first freelance job and made a good impression, your name will be passed along to other production companies or groups. This also means if you don't do a great job on set -- you probably will have a hard time getting another job." (News Producer; 2013)
"Media Jobs Are Disappearing...
It is surprising how fast the industry is consolidating causing jobs available to be low pay and long hours. Many jobs are being terminated because of budget cuts. The industry is ultimately concerned about the bottom line, not artistic expression." (Producer; 2013)
Most people are surprised at exactly what happens to get a show to air--from concept to production, post production, premiere and even the research we do with ratings. Television is presently evolving quite fast and anyone in the field needs to stay abreast of all changes." (Producer; 2013)
"Creating Original Pieces While Starting With Nothing...
I had not originally planned on working on television. I had thought I would end up working for a paper or magazine. However, I got this job accidentally, and I have grown with the position. I love the ability to tap into my inner artist. It amazes me that I can create things that people will enjoy and start from absolutely nothing. The bad surprises are the immense amount of work and concentration that this job takes." (Writer Producer; 2013)
"Unexpected Skills You'll Need...
Producing and directing films and video work involves a lot more than knowledge of what it takes to make a film. You need very strong interpersonal skills, time management skills, and the ability to lead in order to be successful. A lot of this can't really be taught; you've just got to gain experience as you do different projects, (unfortunately) failing at times, but hopefully always growing and improving. And you can't anticipate everything! Something will go wrong. One of the best skills you can foster is an ability to solve problems and keep your cool, because people will be looking to you." (Video Producer, Director, Editor; 2014)
"Film Industry Is Full Of Jerks...
People really want to work in the film industry, and you hear a lot about how the people who work in this business are jerks, but I was surprised at what HUGE jerks they actually are. The lack of ethics and compassion in this business is unbelievable." (Film Executive; 2014)
"A Producer Must Respond To Nearly All Problems...
What has surprised me most about being a theatrical producer is the amount of time I spend putting out proverbial fires. For example, not only do I have to address issues associated with making sure a show is profitable but I have to deal with nearly every other problem that arises during a production -- from actor superstitions to house managers that have personal issues -- everything." (Theatrical Producer; 2013)
"Games Are Fun, But Making Them Isn't The Same As Playing Them...
Video games aren't as glamorous as they seem on the outside. Games are great to play, and you might think that creating them would be just as fun. As with any industry, there are a few bad apples that ruin the experience for everyone. The ones that cross my path did not get into games because they liked or even loved them, they got into them because the pay was good. Unfortunately, many of those people run the companies, which is a reason why some games that come out aren't good. I believe that you should work in a field that you believe in and are passionate about." (Game Production; 2013)
"Technology Creating Opportunities...
I was surprised at how technology has changed the film industry. Almost anyone can make videos of decent quality with a high end consumer camera and some know how. You don't necessarily have to go to Hollywood to follow your passion. There are plenty of people making professional videos and big money on YouTube etc." (Video Producer; 2012)
"Internship Positions Are Plentiful...
I was surprised how hands on the class was. You get placed in an actual live studio and get to learn how it works. I was also surprised how easy it is to get an intern job at local radio stations." (Radio Television; 2012)
Video Production Technical Director: "The best part of my career is that I get to work in a variety of different venues. I've worked in concert halls, offices, hotel ballrooms, and even the Capitol building in D.C. My work takes me all over the country. It's exhausting, but it's so much better then being stuck in an office all day long. The worst part would be that doing the same thing time and time again can get tedious. Most set-ups are identical, and the lack of creative output can feel stifling at times." (2011)
Program Director: "The best parts of the job is every day is different. Although the responsibilities are the same, each day brings some unexpected opportunity/problem/challenge. The people I work with make the job enjoyable. I have the opportunity to meet with many different people looking to clear their program on television. The worst part of the job is taking viewer complaints. When a show is cancelled or preempted, the viewer does not care why, they just know their show is not on and they get very irate." (2011)
Broadcast Coordinator: "The best parts are the sense of satisfaction I get at the end of each day. I love to help people get their work done, and I take great pride in what we do and how it is received. The work I help support reaches millions of people every day. The bad parts are when we get very busy and I have to sometimes say no to people, or ask my staff to work extra or odd hours. My job can be very stressful sometimes." (2011)
Casting Associate: "The worst part of work? It is random and there is no way to predict how busy or slow it will be. We are at the call of the casting directors. It would be nice to have steady work, instead of the highs and lows we have. The best part about it is how much freedom I have: more than any job I had in corporate America. I work for a small company; it's just the owner and myself, but I feel more appreciated and useful than I have in corporate jobs that have held me back in the past." (2009)
"Experience Over Formal Education...
My tip would be to get involved! Get involved in other peoples productions, be there with an open mind and a willingness to work, and recognize that you'll probably learn more on set than you every will in a classroom. Just make sure you're open to the experience." (Video Producer, Director, Editor; 2014)
"Choose Another Career Other Than Film...
If you can think of something you'd rather do than work in the film industry, do that instead. The money will be better, the hours easier and the people nicer." (Film Executive; 2014)
"May Require Relocation...
If you want to be a successful news producer, be prepared to move around the state, even the country. To make more money, you have to work in larger markets. You may have to move to a very rural, small town to get experience, then move to a larger market." (Producer; 2013)
"It's All About Who You Know...
If you want a successful career in television production, you should take as many jobs as possible and make as many contacts as you can. Quality workers are hard to find, and if you make a good impression, your liable to get work on different sets and with different companies." (News Producer; 2013)
"Gain Relevant Experience...
No job is too small--get as much experience as you can while you are in school. Volunteer at your local news station, even if it's just sitting there. Ask to hang out if they don't have a job for you and immerse yourself in the language and tempo of a television studio." (Producer; 2013)
"Advice On How To Prepare Yourself For The Gaming Industry...
Make games and game assets on your own time, for fun and for the practice. Even design something like "Pong" just to see how it was done. There are plenty of tools out there that are free and affordable that would allow you to create things on your own. Finishing a game ("shipping" it) is something that not a lot of people end up doing, and is an accomplishment once you make it into the industry." (Game Production; 2013)
"Flexibility And Hard Work Leads To Dream Career...
If you want to be successful in the creative industry, you must be flexible. You must be open to trying everything and working very hard for it. Do not ignore possibilities because it is not something you want to do. It may lead to new ventures down the road." (Writer Producer; 2013)
"It's Who You Know...
Be prepared to work on your own. Don't expect you'll graduate and go find a job. You need to make your own job. Film production is becoming more and more accessible to the average person, so it's possible. Set out to carve your own way. And make connections. Connections, and making an impression on the people in the field whom you meet is the number one thing that will take you anywhere. In film,, it IS who you know more than anything else. If you don't believe me, look at some of the terrible movies that have gotten made-- it isn't talent that drives the process, it's connections." (Photographer; 2013)
"Be Prepared To Response To Any Crisis...
If a person elects to enter into the field of theatrical production, he or she must be adept at dealing with a wide range of different types of production related emergencies." (Theatrical Producer; 2013)
"Networking To Career Advancement...
If you want to succeed in the production industry, it is important to network and never burn bridges. You never know when you will need help with a project in the future." (Production Manager; 2013)
"Get To Know Industry Insiders...
If you want to successfully work in Television you must meet as many industry people as you can. It is very hard to get a job and keep it unless you know the industry insiders. Get every internship that you can while in college in order to get those connections." (Producer; 2013)
"Be Enjoyable To Work With...
The first tip I can offer is to always maintain a friendly disposition, especially when working with clients. Financial success in this industry relies on maintaining a long list of contacts, and no one wants to work with a grumpy person. The second tip would be to make sure you always arrive on time prepared. This may sound obvious, but clients remember who's punctual and who's not. The third tip would be to keep track of new technologies. Video production, as is any field that's heavily based on technology, requires you to know all the new and useful technologies available to you." (Video Production Technical Director; 2011)
"Be Happy To Get Your Foot In The Door...
1. Intern as much as possible while you are in school. This will get you experience and help you create contacts you can use after graduating. 2. Take a job that will get your foot in the door, don't think it is below you. I started as a part time night receptionist almost 20 years ago at the station. 3. Once you get your foot in the door, learn as much as possible about the business. talk with people in different departments to know how the business works and how each part affects others." (Program Director; 2011)
"Follow The Work...
Go to where the work is. My first job was at a very small radio station in North Dakota. Be willing to learn anything and everything, and don't be afraid to take shifts at funny times. Sometimes you have to give up some of your personal life to get the work done. Always keep a good attitude. Most people will respond better to a smile and friendly conversation rather than being dictated to. Keep in mind that you're dealing with people, not just things." (Broadcast Coordinator; 2011)
"Talk To As Many In The Business As You Can...
Entertainment is a very tough industry. If you know someone in it, get some advice on how it really works. Most people do not know the reality of working in entertainment. A lot of it is luck, the right people and/or situations. It can happen, but classes are not necessarily the most important thing to do. Talk to everyone you know who's involved in the business. But a word to the wise: being an agent's assistant will give you many options in areas of TV, film, being an agent, etc. Hard work then can pay off with the right people around you." (Casting Associate; 2009)