Viewpoint: Agency Producer
How would you describe what you do?
While my official title is Executive Producer, it's not completely indicative of what I actually do. I do produce most projects - including all productions - but because we're a small agency, I also oversee most operations of the company as well. I manage and work with our team - which includes the Director of Content, Project Manager, and Design team. I lead creative discussions, manage budgets, and work closely with our clients. I also generally watch out for the Kworq brand - oversee our social media presence, company culture, awards submissions - anything that has to do with making sure we portray ourselves in the correct manner.
How did you get into this job?
By accident? After college I traveled for a few years waitressing and bartending and when I landed in New York I started to do freelance minor production assistant work (thanks to my best friend hiring me for my first job.) After a couple jobs, Kworq's former Creative Director found my resume online and reached out to me for an interview. I knew nothing about advertising and little to nothing about production when I started.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Delegating work. I like being in control of outcomes that I'm a part of. I've been with this company as it's grown from 4 people to 9 people, and for a while I was doing a combination of everything. Letting go of that is really difficult, but ultimately for the best. It also took some time to realize that not everyone does everything the way that I do - sometimes that's a bad thing, but a lot of the time it's a good thing. I had to learn that.
What is most rewarding?
I love when a creative idea is a culmination of the work of the whole team - maybe it starts with a spark from one person, then someone piggybacks off that idea - leading us to gold. When the client sees that vision as you do and is as excited about it is extremely rewarding.
What’s a typical work week like?
There are no typical work weeks for me. One week I might be shooting a production, the other I might be managing five different jobs in the office, the other I might be writing a script or a blog post. We all wear many hats, so it's pretty hard to say what a typical week is.
What do you look for when booking directors and composers?
We are are story and purpose-driven. We don't like pretty for the sake of pretty or design for the sake of design. I want to know why a director shot something in a particular why and I don't want that answer to simply be "it looked good." We look for people who are atypical, don't do things because everyone else is doing them, and is ok with taking some risks.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was when something went wrong: "it's only advertising, we're not saving lives." We take ourselves very seriously as an industry - working long hours, making serious deals, working with big budgets. But as anyone who works in production knows: nothing ever goes right the first time. I think its the same in advertising. Be ok with failure, just know how to learn from it and bounce back.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about being a producer?
It's all about creative problem-solving and being good with people. A producers job is to put out fires while keeping calm, cool, and collected. I'm internally freaking out 85% of the time for most of the productions I manage, but I like to think no one knows that (unless I'm wrong.) You need to be able to quickly assess situations as well as people and their different personalities, and manage them properly.
Finally how do you use AdForum and how useful is it to see the latest work of Directors and staying up to date with industry news?
I do think it's a good summary of our industry. In browsing adforum I usually find new or unexpected information I probably should have known but didn't.