We are all producers and influencers.
"I wanna be a producer And sleep until half-past two I wanna be a producer And say, "You, you, you, not you"
I wanna be a producer Wear a tux on opening nights I wanna be a producer And see my name, Leo Bloom, in lights."
- Leo Bloom, I Wanna Be A Producer - From The Producers (The Musical)
The term "producer" can have a variety of meanings. In the field of events and entertainment, this person is responsible for overseeing the entire project. From dollars and cents on a page to the seconds and minutes on a clock during the run time of an event or show; they are the captain steering the ship and the one that every bit of detail trickles down from.
Strong producers create strong results. You may think that this is a glamorous position, but it is quite the opposite.
When I first began in the live events and entertainment world, I wanted to be a producer. It was the goal I had my mind set on. I shadowed some of the top producers (terminology to follow) in live television during my days in Los Angeles. They called the shots, hired the camera men, and saw each detail through to completion. Those were shoes that I aspired to fill one day.
Looking back, I see that I only saw a minor detail of the entire job description of what a producer does. What I didn't see were the hundreds of emails hitting their inboxes on a daily basis, the phone calls left and right, and maintaining a skill of juggling 12 balls simultaneously. If a producer drops even one of those balls, the entire production will suffer.
Now that I consider myself a producer of live events, I understand how much your mind has to stay in the game when you're in the thick of the project. You steer the ship, and you have to stay on task so that the rest of the project will. No one teaches you every detail or task when you assume a producer role. There is no handbook, job description, or rules for becoming a producer. Once you're in the fire, you have to work quickly to put it out. You're hired to produce a kick ass final product.
I'd like to highlight a few producer positions within the entertainment world and define what each one does. These are just some of the producer titles that you may see scrolling through the credits on a television show, or in a program at your favorite play or musical. In the events world, they may have a slightly different meaning than in theatre or television. Allow me to elaborate:
Executive Producer - This role can be seen as the money person and the top executive of a team or group of people working to make a show or event happen. They may be responsible for raising a certain amount of money or obtaining the rights to mount a show or event. They also oversee the project from every angle to ensure that it is on time, within budget, and meets technical and artistic standards. Everything trickles down from this individual.
In the events world, they may be seen as the CEO of an events company or the person fronting the bulk of the cash to produce an event. A strong executive producer takes pride in their team's productivity and negotiates well. They also understand every person's position on their team and works with them to make sure that the execution of an event or project is as flawless as possible. I believe this role has to be as much of a team player as anyone else involved.
Senior Producer - This is the head or lead of a project. They are below the Executive Producer. There may be multiple producers on a single event, but this is the lead producer who oversees each area of the event and the team assembled to execute. This position may also be designated within an events agency where there are multiple producers of multiple experience levels. I have been in situations where there has been a senior producer assigned to a project accompanied by a junior producer. There may be multiple junior producers on a project depending on the size and scale. The senior producer is the key individual who really sets the pace for the project, deadlines, and the management of the team including the junior staff. Good senior producers inspire the hustle and the hard work in the rest of their team.
Producer - The manager of the operations of a project. This person is more hands on and hires the people to create a cohesive team. They oversee the project's schedule and daily operations to move the show or event forward to completion. They are the executer and the tracker of the budget. A good producer creates a good event, and they aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. I don't know how many times I've jumped in and helped carry a case of water bottles or moved furniture around to set up a room literally 5 minutes before the doors to an event or show open. Don't just think that a producer points all the time - they jump in and make things happen.
(We could get into the difference between film producers and live entertainment producers, but that is another topic for another day.)
Here's the key: Producers are managers and influencers.
I'll bet one of the above positions reminds you of yourself or even someone you've worked for. Perhaps you're currently working for someone who fits one of those above descriptions. How are you or that individual encouraging your team and others around you? Are you or that person inspiring great work? No matter what your work place or home life is like, the way things are run starts with you and your current outlook on your career and life.
(News flash: Even if your career title isn't 'producer,' you set the pace and determine the success of your every day life. You are an influencer!)
Cue the motivational music!
Like a producer in the entertainment business, you are a producer of your daily schedule and routine. The way you manage your every day duties, responsibilities, and team (including your family!) has a great impact on your life and how well things run. A well-oiled machine produces great results. There are areas that you have control and influence over. See each detail through, expect greatness from yourself and others around you, and encourage the people who have the greatest impact on your life. It's all about teamwork, and getting your hands dirty. Are you ready to be a great manager and influencer? I hope so!
(This photo was taken during the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. I think I need a bigger desk.)