TV Producers supervise the budget, script, actors, and distribution.
In every television production, the producer is the ultimate boss. The producer supervises everything from money and script to hiring actors and distribution. They have the power to make or break million-dollar careers--and the vision to push a project through from idea to 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 DVDs. The work is very creative, occasionally glamorous, and incredibly hectic.
Here are a few ways to break into this fabulous job, all based on the fabjob.com Guide to Become a Television Producer:
The Easy Way
The first way into the industry is very, very easy: Have a relative or friend in the business give you a job as a TV Producer. More than a few producers landed their job this way. Unfortunately, this is somewhat unlikely for most of us.
Volunteer for all the different positions on a crew--no matter how small they may seem.
The Hard Way
Just start knocking on TV station doors. Forget about 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--or even lower--and the trip up will be terribly hard. This doesn't sound like much fun, I admit.
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, you can use this basic plan to find success.
- Go to school. Ideally, you want a bachelor's degree or at least 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. There are also some alternative ways to educate yourself, including evening classes and self-study on the Internet.
- Work on as many school and community television projects as possible. Chances are that some television shows are being taped at a public access cable TV station in your community. Volunteer for all the different positions on a crew--no matter how small they may seem.
- Join professional organizations, like the American Association of Producers and the Broadcast Education Association, as soon as you can. This is a great way to network, observe people in action, and possibly get that first job.
- 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 hard. This is also a great place to make contacts in the industry for the future.
- Produce an effective cover letter, demo reel, and resume and keep them current. Your resume should be complete, describing every little thing you've done. The demo reel is a collection of excerpts from productions you've worked on. It becomes your calling card when starting your career and a great record of your achievements later on.
- Get that important first job. Start looking as soon as possible. If you are in school, start looking before you graduate. Just looking for that first break may seem like a full-time occupation.
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, and subscribe to industry magazines. And, of course, watch a lot of TV!
Tag Goulet is the author of several fabjob.com Guides. The information in this article was based on The fabjob.com Guide to Become a Television Producer by Clay Reynolds. You can find that guidebook and many others at www.fabjob.com.