You know how the saying goes– Producers, you can’t live with ‘em. You can’t live without ‘em. Am I right?!
This is Sean, blogging on behalf of the Red Arrow team, and if you’re an editor by trade (like myself) or aspiring to be an editor one day, you’re going to run in to one of these creatures sooner rather than later. I mean there’s at least 9 or 10 of these people that work just down the hall from me. (I keep my door closed most days.)
Editors, artists, musicians, creatives in general, we like our privacy and our space. However, there are times in our profession where personal collaboration with a producer is necessary. And, yes, even helpful. So, whether it’s your first time working with a brand new producer or your hundredth, here are five tips that have always served our Red Arrow editors well.
1) The Art of Small Talk
Learning to make small talk is a great way to break the ice, especially if it’s someone you’ve never worked with before. An easy way to do this is to ask basic questions about them; “What do you like to do on the weekend? Do you have any pets? What kinds? What do you like to eat? Do you have a favorite restaurant?” You’re bound to find a common interest that connects you and your producer.
2) Being Flexible
Be willing to meet your producer on their turf. In my experience, most of the time producers are super flexible and can come to you. But every now and then, something prevents that. So if you can make yourself available to go to the producer, do it. And when a producer comes to you, make them feel welcomed. Show them around. Offer them a drink. Make space in your edit suite for them. Offer to plug in their laptop, even if that means crawling under your dusty desk to reach the outlet.
3) Forgetting Your Personal Bubble
When it comes to having a producer around, accept defeat in having personal space. It practically doesn’t exist at that point. More often than not, producers are going to set up right next to you…at your desk…in your same breathing area, and that’s okay! Don’t let that freak you out, because producers are typically very busy people, juggling multiple projects and episodes at once, which means they’re not watching every single move you make and every button you press.
4) Be a “Yes Man” (or Woman), but in a Good Way!
Abandon your pride. Don’t forget they’re paying for your time, so be willing to do whatever they ask. There’s nothing wrong with loving your work enough to defend why you did things the way you did, but don’t be so consumed by your ego that you aren’t willing to make changes. Go ahead and look for that alternative shot (you know doesn’t exist). Make that additional edit (you don’t think will work). Send that revised cut they requested, and if they decide your first cut was better, don’t say “I told you so”.
Keep producers updated. When they can’t come to you and you can’t go to them, let them know at the end of each day how far you got and how far you plan on getting the next day. There’s no need to write out every little detail to make it look like you had a busy day (they don’t have time for that), but don’t be super vague either. And when a producer sends you an email with other people included on it, make sure you hit “Reply All” when responding. They were added on there for a reason. You’re not keeping secrets from anyone.
BONUS TIP! Play Nice
Be nice. We’re all working toward the same goal. We all want a finished product that we’re proud of. Remember, unless you’re a freelancer, you’re not only representing yourself, but the company you work for.