What Does a Television Producer Do? (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Television (TV) producers are instrumental to a successful release of a tv show and have the overarching creative opinion on a filming set. TV producers are skilled individuals that work and lead many people in multiple settings every day. Understanding what a producer does and how to become one can help you make the right decision for your career. In this article, we discuss what a television producer is, including a guide to becoming a producer and what skills producers find useful.

What is a television producer?

A television producer sees a television production from start to end and integrates with the business side of production and filming. They may take part in the planning, scripting, casting and filming process, but may also work as part of the business team. Here, they ensure the programme complies with any broadcasting regulations and work with a legal team on copyright laws. TV producers are also responsible for marketing the production and managing the timeline and budget.

What does a television producer do?

Television producers fill a variety of roles in production, as their position is prevalent throughout each production stage. They oversee the filming, direction and release of the programme. These professionals have many tasks like securing funding, auditioning cast members and managing legal enquiries. Here is a list of some daily TV producer duties:

  • auditioning cast members and hiring staff

  • raising funds for production

  • scriptwriting

  • scheduling production timelines from start to finish

  • liaising with broadcasters

  • creating budgets

  • supervising directors and wider crew members like lighting, sound and visual

  • helping legal teams to avoid copyright infringement

  • catering to cast requirements

  • negotiating contracts

  • supervising the editing process

A television producer may not work alone. Depending on the size of the budget, a TV producer may work as part of a team, each focusing on a separate speciality like writing, casting or directing.

Related: What Does an Executive Producer Do? With Career Steps

How much do television producers make?

The average national salary of a television producer is $87,194 per year. Producers' salaries may vary depending on how successful their TV show is and how advertisers or networks respond. Producers' salaries also fluctuate depending on the TV show budget,.

How to become a television producer

Here are some steps you can follow to become a TV producer:

1. Earn a high school qualification with creative subjects

A high school certificate is a path to further study and may place you in a more competitive position for particular university courses. Consider studying creative subjects like film, media, music, art or English and creative writing to expand your creative portfolio.

Experiencing all elements of creativity may provide you with more engaging ideas to present in pitches. TV producers may consider all aspects of creativity in their products such as lighting, sound, dialogue and visuals, so experience in related subjects may be beneficial to produce a well-rounded project.

2. Study a bachelor's degree

Consider studying for a bachelor's degree in film, media, theatre, radio or music to gain vital experience and qualifications in all elements of production. All the skills gained in these courses may be present in a production process, so experience and formal training in these areas may be beneficial. Specialising in a topic at university may also help you decide what type of career you want. Students may also get to experience or work on productions whilst at university.

Studying such topics at a university level equips you with the skills necessary to navigate production by taking you through essential elements like camera operation, scriptwriting, concept creation and editing with software.

3. Choose a genre or speciality

Once graduated, it may be useful to focus on a speciality or genre of production. This can be the production of reality TV, thriller or horror series or a large scale live production. Making this decision may help you narrow down job opportunities and entry-level experiences, such as internships. Focusing on a speciality also gives you time to further nurture and develop your hard skills.

4. Increase your professional network

Creative industries primarily function by recommendation and networking. This means that meeting professionals in the entertainment industry, like broadcasters, other producers, actors or writers, could significantly benefit your future television production. Creative industries are social and see candidates working with many people at one time. Growing your network may open up more employment experiences and simplify many elements of production, like casting, editing or even funding. Consider joining a professional body of filmmakers or producers. This recognition demonstrates professionalism and a high regard for the industry and its members.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

5. Get experience

Once equipped with the relevant technical skills, you may seek entry-level opportunities like internships. First-hand experience in the industry is a great way to understand the production process from end to end. Internships may give you the opportunity to grow your professional network and plan your own creative ideas to take to pitches and produce your own TV show. Your supervisor may also give you some professional advice and allow you to assist in their production. This may give you a competitive edge when looking for future production opportunities.

6. Pitch your ideas to progress

TV producers can progress to more senior roles by pitching their ideas to networks and broadcasters and developing a portfolio of production. The more shows you produce, the more reputable you may become. Senior producers get the chance to have full creative control over their productions and potentially work with celebrities or high influence people. Consider sending your ideas to networks or producing a short film as part of your portfolio.

Related: What Does a Creative Director Do? (Job Duties, Skills and Salary)

Television producer skills

Producers work in all kinds of settings with many people every day. This may require a certain level of skill to be adaptable, personable and creative. Working in production can also see a candidate conducting multiple tasks that each require a different speciality, so TV producers may be flexible to handle many jobs. Below are some skills necessary to enter this profession:

Technical skills

Producers may assist with editing or filming during a production process, so compatibility with technology and technical competency is useful. These professionals may require technical skills for following regulations or protocols. Strong technical skills may help them have more creative control over their productions, as they can direct editors in their creative direction.

Creativity

Creativity is an important skill for a producer, as they may have the most creative say over the content generation and filming process. Producers may create and write scripts following an engaging story line that appeals to a large audience, so creative thinking and direction is useful. Creativity is an important skill to have in a creative industry to network with like-minded people successfully.

Problem-solving

Producers may face casting challenges or projects going over budget, so producers may think of quick solutions to compensate for any issues that may delay production. As producers have significant creative control over a production, they may solve issues that other producers in more junior positions can't. Cast and crew members may seek a producer's opinion on a procedure, so they require efficient thinking skills to guide and mentor their staff effectively.

Communication

Communication is an essential skill for working with many people. Producers work hard to maintain clear channels of communication to liaise with potentially hundreds of team members in control of various elements of the production. Communication is also useful for negotiating deals and contracts with actors during an auditioning process to maintain a healthy working environment.

Interpersonal skills

The creative industry is very social and producers spend a lot of their time networking. Interpersonal skills are useful tools for expanding their professional contacts and producing high-quality television programmes. Interpersonal skills help maintain open and honest channels of communication and create a more stable working environment. Producers may liaise and negotiate with broadcasters, networks or actors they have not previously met, so good interpersonal skills are important for a successful television production process.

Leadership

Producers have the overriding say in a production process and lead the auditioning of actors and hiring of crew. This means that they may require strong leadership skills and good judgement of character to make the best choice for their production. Cast and crew may also seek professional advice from producers, so good mentoring skills are essential for helping aspiring producers or those in a junior position.

Teamwork

Production is a collaborative career that involves many people to focus on aspects like filming, visuals, costumes, set design and business. This means that producers may liaise with multiple sources to achieve the same goal. Producers may work collaboratively with multiple teams at once to align schedules and budgets for a streamlined production process.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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