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Educational Feature: ‘Production Basics and Beyond’

Laura Fryer is an executive producer at Microsoft Games Studio, currently working on Gears of War 2. She spoke at GDC recently to explain the ins and outs of production, revealing the true importance of producers. GameCareerGuide.com
February 28, 2008
Laura Fryer is an executive producer at Microsoft Games Studio, currently working on Gears of War 2. She spoke at GDC recently to explain the ins and outs of production, revealing the true importance of producers and what they really do. GameCareerGuide.com, Gamasutra’s sister site for career-related advice in the game industry, covered the session. Here’s an excerpt from the coverage: “No one in game development is exempt from needing good communication skills, but producers are really the people’s people. Good producers learn how to get along and communicate with everyone on the team, which is a bit more complicated than it sounds. For example, producers might have to literally change their own personal schedules to accommodate others on the teams. Programmers might work very different hours than writers, and the producer should make an effort to be in-house with each group. Designers might be at their most approachable during formal meetings, whereas artists might welcome a work-related chat more informally over lunch. For the producer to be clued in and have good working relationships with everyone on the team, she needs to adapt to all these people and their ways of life. ‘You don’t just have to meet people half-way. You have to meet them more than half-way,’ Fryer said. ‘Everybody’s different. You have to learn how to communicate with a bunch of different people,’ adapting to their personalities and values, as well as their schedules, Fryer said. Fryer also spoke about the ways in which a producer creates trust between herself and the other team members. For example, producers need to know when something goes wrong; it’s the only way they can readjust their schedules and strategies according to what has happened. But if developers are afraid the producer will chide them for their mistakes, they’ll hide them. ‘You’re going to need to be forgiving. You’re going to need to not have a chip on your shoulder … People mess up on the project, and you’re going to have to let that go.’ Fryer said. ‘You have to let things roll off your back’ and ‘give people the benefit of the doubt. You also need to make sure you praise freely … You need to do it, and you need to do it all the time.’ To read the complete article on the subject, alongside a number of other notable GDC-related news items relating to career matters, interested parties can visit GameCareerGuide.com.

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