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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Future Producers: Being A Good Producer Will Make You A Great Parent, I Think

Time flies when you’re having fun, on deadline and doing something you enjoy. After more than 10 shows, the end of producing ATVN is here. 

As with anything in life, there are a few things I wish I would have known before starting the class. To aspiring Annenberg Media Center producers, see the following for what I hope are useful tips.

Be In A Constant News State Of Mind

It might seem like the easiest thing to do is to sit at your computer at 11 p.m. Sunday night to crank out all your package ideas for Monday morning, but what I found is that trying to crank out story ideas in such a marathon fashion often yielded weak packages. The stories I came up with seemed forced. What I suggest is to always have your newscast on your mind. This sounds more tedious than it actually is. All it takes is jotting down a story idea when you think about it. Then, when Sunday night comes, find a way to make it current if you can. 

Much like your baby, you would want to give your show the newest gadgets. (Flickr)
Much like your baby, you would want to give your show the newest gadgets. (Flickr)

Think Of The Show As Your Baby

The final product that airs every night at 6 p.m. is more than just a grade. It’s part of your digital footprint whether you like it or not. That’s why when producing your newscast, make sure it’s something you’re proud of. I cannot stress this enough. It’s easy to say “I’ll be creative.” It’s harder to actually do it, especially when you have to coordinate with two other producers, your executive producer and meet a deadline. The opportunity to produce a newscast without having to worry about the ratings at all is one that might never come again. Also, much like you would do for your own baby (finances permitting), you would want the newest technology and gadgets for your child. Keep your pulse on media news for new software coming out that could enhance your viewer's experience, like Periscope did this semester.

Don’t Just Be A Delegator, Get Your Hands Dirty

As a producer, it’s easy to get into the routine of crafting ideas, delegating tasks and only being a supervisor. Time is definitely a factor, but especially when you’re the web/graphics teammate, use the lighter task load to really experiment with graphics. Don’t be afraid to open up After Effects or Photoshop yourself. This workflow of creating things independently probably isn’t one you want to get too used to, seeing as it takes tasks and challenges away from multimedia journalists. But every now and then, it’s pretty neat to have your own signature touch on the newscast. That’s probably one of my regrets, not being more of a segment producer when I wasn’t lead, if that makes sense.

Finally, Watch A Lot Of TV And Video

It doesn’t have to be news. Just watch a lot of video content. It’s way easier to be inspired by others’ ideas than to try to create your own from a brain that’s not reacting to what’s happening in the industry. Pay attention to the sequence of shots your favorite sitcom employs, the cutlines on your favorite and least favorite newscast and the variations in pace throughout episodes of your favorite shows.

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