When I started out in tv news – eons ago – I had an anchor who didn’t let me write. He would say, “Producers produce, not write. That’s my job.”
And I would ask him, “What do you think a producer does?” but he didn’t have a great answer. I knew he longed for the old days (very olden days if you’re my kids age), when the anchor (or anchor-woman as he called females) was king and ruled the roost and the producers sat in a control room and just timed everything.
Of course, anchors still rule, but producers, in my experience have always written. Now producing is much more. Hiring managers now expect producers to shoot, to edit, to create small graphics, to understand codecs and deliverables. That includes knowing about compression; frame rate, live streaming just to name a few. It can be daunting and overwhelming.
I guess in a way I was lucky I was forced to learn it. When I was Executive Producer at EnergyNow my bosses asked me to take over as technical supervisor, while still keeping my editorial role. Well, it wasn’t a request, but it wasn’t mean, and I have to thank Hardy and Kelley for steering me in that direction. Panic does not begin to describe what came over me, but I did it. And it’s paid off. We can go over specifics, such as how I went about building a server system that made me dizzy, at a later date. Codecs – check, gear – yep, streaming – you got it. I learned non-linear editing years ago. The bottom line: I can do almost everything, doesn’t mean I can do everything well since producing is still my calling. More importantly, I understand all of it. I can help my clients maneuver this strange world to produce a video, and get it online, on their website, their mobile devices, a broadcast channel or stream it live.
When clients come to my company they expect one stop shopping. I like to say I know enough to make me dangerous – which means having a great team. You won’t be able to see everyone I work with on this website, but you’ll see their work. I partner with strategy firms, web developers and designers, SEO specialists, graphic artists in animation and print, editors all capable in After Effects, Motion, Smoke, wonderful videographers with backgrounds in broadcast and film. All people I trust, with skill sets for different projects. They aren’t all staff for Alejo, but my client doesn’t know and doesn’t care.
I spoke on a panel recently for the Producers Guild of America, and a woman said she didn’t want to do any of this. She just wanted to write. She missed the days when others did this or that. I get it. But this is the reality in today’s multi-media world: a producer who knows a little bit about a lot of things. I miss those days too, but I like to think that the knowledge I’ve gained makes me a better storyteller and producer.