Producers are known to be organized people who are responsible for organizing other people’s work in an organization.
As you would have realized, I have already used the word organized or a variation of it several times in the above sentence. But what does it mean?
Dictionary defines it as “arranged systematically, or in order.”
I define it as a system itself. One can find order in chaos if one knows what to look for. I have met some really messy people and they always tell me “I know what is kept where and I have system!”. And it is a producer’s job to find that system within that chaos we call a team and make it work.
Production is like a game. Games are all about rules. There is a mechanic and there are some rules associated with it. Production has process and the process has some rules to be followed. But how many times have we broken those rules or mended them to suit us. Or how many times we have made exceptions to those rules for people to get the work done.
That's what I feel a system should be about. There is a standard system, but it needs to mended and broken according to the team you are working with. Like no two people are the same, no two teams are the same either. So one can not and should not expect that the same system can be applied to different set of teams.
As a producer I am always thinking about the next challenge I will face in the day. The biggest part of my job is to work with people and they are the biggest anomaly in the system. They are the most unpredictable variables in any system. Yes we do place a lot of mitigation around the issues that can come up but can we mitigate them all?
The most important super power for a producer would be the ability to read people’s minds and day in and day out it is expected in some sense that we develop this as a skill.
But has someone ever wondered what goes on in a Producer’s mind. It is a labyrinth of thoughts going around with one path, that reaches the goal. It is as chaotic as this article but whoever will read it will know where it is leading up to.
All day of every week at work all I think about is what is the best way to get this thing done. What do I need to do to facilitate adaptability to change? What should I do to make these bunch of people work as a team? What is the best approach to talk to a stubborn person without offending him/her? What do should I do to make sure that this new person feels at home with the team? What can I best facilitate to make sure that the team is working towards the best interest of the product and the business.
None of the above mentioned is about the business itself or the product. The common underlying factor here is again people and that is the essence of the job. As a producer you need to be a people’s person to ensure that the product is good, to ensure that the business goals are being met, to ensure that the players are happy. All this can be achieved if we ace the art of managing people, the most unpredictable variable in the system.
And that what makes it harder every time, but who doesn’t love a challenge right?!