The role of a producer has been interpreted in so many different ways. Largely, it is Mr or Ms Moneybags.
Producers are often stressed about the large funds they are investing in their production companies or creative teams, and the fear drives them to micro manage. The dominant position of controlling finance can often build a risk averse environment where the focus lies in demanding accountability and assured profit margins and that’s where the vicious cycle of monotony and predictability of style and approach kicks in. Such producers play to the market. They play safe. It is a successful model. A profitable model. But it is also an authoritarian model.
If we were to change the lens from which we view this role we’d probably arrive at a different model when it comes to content creation. What if this role were loosely described as : Patron of Art, Creative Maestro, Innovation Facilitator, Orchestrator of Creative Incubators.
The focus immediately shifts to a person in the unique position of facilitating talent and providing them with a safe, unthreatening, stress free environment to indulge their ikigai. This person then protects creative talent and liberates this talent to think out of the box and soar unfettered.
Two things happen.
The producer becomes a nurturer with a keen eye for spotting and building talent and moves beyond pure business considerations.
By allowing genuine creative talent to thrive without limitations they provide a space for quality, innovation and game changer ideas.
Does this producer make money? That’s a fair question and my thought here is … eventually. This person will inevitably build a name, gain credibility, establish a track record and become a magnet for talent over time. This type of producer is not defined by skill or by business acumen alone but by their temperament, their compassion, their passion for quality and their belief in the people they choose to patronise above all else.
For this producer the money they are punting is on a creative visionary and not just the vision. The vision can be achieved by several people following a prototype or a template. The creative visionary is unique for his or her vision, craftsmanship and passion and is not easily replicable.
The Patron producer however needs two absolute and non-negotiable skills to succeed.
Ability to pick the right talent with the right attitude.
Ability to create an environment that fosters creativity, excellence and pride in the process of creation.
The best marriages between producer and talent are those that bring like minded people together. You can spot those marriages from afar. The happy to be mediocre, blockbuster crowd pleasers, the experimental innovators, the jury pleasers, the socially conscious, and the award winners. The final product is usually a reflection of these ideologies.
In the current climate where the demand for content is only increasing … what kind of a producer would you want to be? What sort of marriage would you want to be in? What would you like to leave behind as legacy?