March 22, 2013

Why I Want to be a Producer

By Andrew at 2:14 AM
Mountain Hike

I have known for many years that I was interested in the animation and moviemaking process. However, it was not until my junior year of college that I realized I was especially interested in producing and production management. In fact, it is more than just an interest in that area, I seem to have acquired certain skills conducive to such roles through various job opportunities, classes, and volunteer efforts. But why is it that I would choose production management to concentrate on? What makes this area so unique that I would choose this as the focus of my vocational endeavors?

Technology and execution of technical art has become my specialty. Studying art and learning artistic skills has been something I have forced myself to add to my learning, but over time it has paid off. I do not have a natural skill in drawing, but it is something that I have learned to do when needed. However, I do have an eye for design, and while it may not be as well defined as a more naturally skilled artist, I have participated in professional projects where my sense of design was utilized. With that being said, I realize that executing artistic design, even in animation, is not my strong suit. What I have come to learn, though, is that helping others who do have these skills is one area that engages my attention.

While some may see management as a way to acquire power, to me management in filmmaking is a way to enable others to create with their skills what I can only imagine for myself. I enjoy empowering others to create and design by helping them manage their time, resources, and priorities. Instead of establishing a focus on power, I find that such partnerships can generate an environment of trust. In such arrangements, however, it requires trust to stem from both parties. Trust that the producer will continue to provide paying work for the artists, while at the same time, trust that the artists will fulfill their commissions.

Production crews are perfectly able to manage their own time and resources, but such tasks tend to distract from the creative portion of the production, whether that be acting, animating, designing, and so forth. Workers dedicated to the minutia of day-to-day activities can help address the complexity in the background in order to allow the rest of the crew to focus on their own primary creative tasks. To me, a good production manager remains largely invisible, always at the ready to assist where needed, but just far enough behind the curtain to not be a distraction during the take. Afterward, however, they maintain an open dialogue regarding any outstanding issues and the preparations needed for the next scene. This level of commitment and availability is something that must be mutual, in order to best understand and empower those whose help makes the magic of a story turn into a visible reality.

While producing a student film, several of my tasks involved such non-standard “production” tasks as wrangling, modeling, and compositing. Not only were these tasks where my talents were best utilized, but they were areas where I could remove some of the stress of production from the rest of my team. I am energized by assisting others to accomplish their own goals, especially when it prevents them from worrying about organizational tasks. That is why I am so interested in becoming a producer, and why I often solicit opportunities that allow me to empower others. I hope to have many more opportunities in the future to pursue this interest in production management.

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