THE EVOLVING PRODUCER IN THE NEW MEDIA
You don’t have to be a young tech guru to understand how new equipment and the internet are upending the way movies and shows get made.
Used to be there was only a few folks held the reins and pulled the levers. Nowadays regular Joes are seizing control. Scores of self-sufficient media wizards are out there posting their own stuff without benefit of big-time backing. Some of them are even making pretty good feature films for an astounding fraction of what it used to cost.
And while all this is going on over here, over there the cry for what they now cynically call content is on the rise. News shows all over the place, TV series and webisodes—they’re all hungry for more and more things to show in the ever-booming explosion of outlets. What with technology everywhere, a barking demand for programming and tight budget leashes are resulting in a cross-fertilization of what my old man used to say were skill sets.
People are offering themselves up as a one-stop shop for content origination, giving various studios and production companies the kind of staff that can shift easily between brainstorming an idea, then shooting it and doing the post, all in record time.
This spanking new combo approach is turning the usual staff of producer, crew and editor (that used to be required for a promo) into a stunning snapshot of has-beens.
PR-EDITORS (say it like Predator!)
Originally pretty exclusively a promo position, the Preditor would write your copy, pull clips, lay in voice-over and cut the piece for air. This creature combines the work of dozens into one, an operator who can run with it, taking a project from start to finish.
The demand for Preditors is growing at a rapid clip as news shows and other TV formats scream for that dynamic all-in-one package. The producer nowadays doesn’t have to schedule time with the editor after a shoot when he can take over that part himself. For something that’s only gonna air once for, what?, 3 minutes?
Well, the hustle and economy of this particular evolution in media jobwork is the common-sense choice for any show. How could you possibly beat it?
THE ONE-MAN BAND
What’s next in this kind of trend? Here’s what’s next: the producer that shoots his own footage, grabs her own sound bites, writes his own copy, performs her own stand ups, edits his own footage—and the whole time copes with the client. Along with the wide availability of smaller, lighter and easier to operate cameras, the days of dragging around a cameraman with a sore shoulder from a Beta SP are looooooong gone.
The media bosses are searching for people that don’t just have the skills, but also have the gear and the software. You own your own camera? You’ve got a Mac with Avid? Your hire-ability just notched significantly upward. Some knowledgeable people are even saying Final Cut Pro X isn’t bad for speedy output of short segments or news stories.
Guess what. Today, film school graduates have all those skills and more, lots more. Prepped by the right filmmaking program, they know how all things film- and TV-related work—and how they fit together—and they can hit the ground running the day they toss the mortarboard. It’s an entire generation that grew up plugged into the internet, only watching new media. They’ve got it engrained in their thinking, it’s hard-wired into their brains. They know where they’re coming from and where they’re going.
Need a short spoof featuring pseudo-interviews on The Daily Show? It’s in the can! Need someone in the mix on that short-notice gubernatorial press conference? No big deal!
Now you only need one person to do all that, and it’s a starring role.
It’ll be students like this, coming fresh out of film school, who’ll be able to put it all together. That makes a big difference.