Producers supervise everything from the money and script to hiring actors and distribution. They have the power to make or break million-dollar careers, and the vision to see a project through from idea to TV broadcast.
As a producer, you might be responsible for overseeing the production of sitcoms, music videos, made for TV movies, newscasts, talk shows, commercials or even . The work is creative, glamorous, and incredibly hectic.
Here are some ways to break into this sometimes hectic job:
The very, very easy way
The first is the very, very easy way… have a relative or friend already in the business get you a job as a TV Producer. Unfortunately this is not possible for the majority of us.
The very, very hard way
Another is the very, very hard way. That is to just start knocking on TV station doors without education, experience or connections. The chances of being hired are few and far between, but it does happen every so often. You’re most likely going to start at the very bottom and the trip up will be terribly hard. Doesn’t sound like your thing either?
The path of least resistance
Luckily, there is a third way: a path of least resistance based on my experience and the experience of colleagues in the industry.
Step 1: Go to school
The traditional way is to get either a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in communications, media or broadcasting. It doesn’t hurt to go on and get a Master’s degree, but it’s not necessary. For those who don't have the time or wish to college full-time, there are some alternative ways to educate yourself including evening classes and self-study on the Internet.
Step 2: Get volunteer experience
Work on as many school and community television projects as possible. Chances some television shows are being taped at a public access cable TV station in your community. Volunteer for all different positions on the crews no matter how small a position it is.
Step 3: Join professional organizations
Organizations to join as soon as possible include the American Association of Producers and the Broadcast Education Association. Getting involved is a great way to network, observe people in action and possibly get that first job.
Step 4: Get an internship
Complete an internship program at a television station. This is critical. Many of these internship positions lead to full-time work after you complete them so work your butt off. This is also a great place to make contacts in the industry for the future.
Step 5: Produce effective materials
You will need an effective cover letter, demo reel and resume. Your resume should be complete and describe everything you’ve done. The demo reel is a collection of excerpts from productions you’ve worked on. It is your calling card when beginning your career and a great record of your achievements later on. Make sure you keep your materials current.
Step 6: Get that important first job
Start looking as soon as possible. If you are in school, start looking before you graduate. This will be almost a full-time job for a little while.
Step 7: You’re in, now what?
It’s all up to you now. Work hard. Keep your eyes open. Volunteer for any positions that will give you producing experience or expose you to projects where you can observe Producers in action. Stay active in those professional organizations, attend conferences, subscribe to magazines and watch TV!