Cody> I advise aspiring producers to get on as many sets as possible - especially across a bunch of different mediums (commercial, music, branded, etc.). The bulk of producing is learning how to avoid / prevent issues before they happen and you only learn how to avoid and prevent mistakes by encountering them.
Cody> There are a lot of different departments with their own unique lingo and needs, which can be overwhelming to a new producer. I would recommend getting at least a base-level education on what those needs are for each department and how to communicate those effectively. Producers (in my opinion) are often a 'jack of all trades and master of none.'
Code> Hope for the best and plan for the worst. I think this lesson is key two-fold. Bring hope and positivity to set but also trust nothing to go correctly. Always be ready to pivot, and come up with three fallback plans in pre-production.
Additionally, don’t assume anything. Assumptions create a false sense of security, and that can be dangerous for production. Overcommunication is just the right amount of communication when it comes to this field. There are times when even the smallest assumption (charging radios, double-checking talent call times, etc.) can lead to a huge issue down the line.
Cody> Our team is always looking for recommendations for new crew + vendor introductions and I think that is critical. As a producer, one of your goals is to minimize risk and ensure productions have the fewest variables for issues. This is great and very important, but it can also lead to being stuck in your ways and never introducing new people to the mix. I’m proud that Gear Seven focuses on intentional and persistent efforts to bring on new & diverse crew.
Cody> In a creative field like video production, you want to have as many voices in the mix as possible. A lot of production is learned through experience; having folks with different life experience and background can provide valuable perspectives and insights to the process.
Cody> I think when people are getting started they need to understand that even in the realm of 'professional productions,' no set is the same as another; it’s a spectrum. Every production will have its own set of challenges, benefits, learning experiences, etc.
I don’t believe a tension exists between the two. I would almost say that they are two different camps of creation. I think once the 'creator economy' reaches a scale of production it then morphs itself into an amalgamation of the two. Look at one of the largest creators on YouTube, Mr.Beast: the scale of what he is doing requires much more 'formalised production' than people probably think.
Cody> Well the first that comes to mind is having to learn a great deal about transmissible diseases, testing protocols, etc. when covid first came onto the stage. I probably learned more in pre-production on shoots during covid than I did in all of my biology classes in college (joking, but maybe serious). It really just goes to show you that you always need to be on your feet, prepared and ready to adapt. If you have a solid base of communication skills and critical thinking experience, you are in a much better position to adapt when scenarios like this come out of left field.
Cody> There are definitely projects where the churn and burn speed of modern productions can lend itself to a lack of 'appreciation,' for the craft, but it is not a necessity. It is very important for you to internally find the value in a project and not leave that up to an external source to decide. When it comes to how the volume / speed of production affects 'learning the craft,' I think it provides much more opportunity for growth. The more you do, the more you learn.
Cody> The key to retaining people, no matter the industry, is making that individual feel valued and appreciated. That goes for outside the hours of a production too. Ask someone how their weekend was. If you know that a DP has a favourite coffee order, have it ready for them when they arrive. The little things go a long way.
There’s a million attributes that lend themselves to a stronger producer, but I think being forward-thinking is invaluable. Being able to see a situation and visualise potential issues lead to prevention and a much smoother shoot experience. Also, being calm under pressure is a great attribute. Stress and worry are very transmissible on set, like a disease. If you exude positivity and resolve even under the most chaotic of circumstances, people see that and mirror the sentiment.