Let's get right to it. The hardest part about the producing class, hands down, is the time commitment. Yes, it already seems like a lot of time going in at the start, with a full day from 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. blocked off, plus a three-and-a-half-hour class starting at 9:00 a.m. on another day.
But you don't actually comprehend it until you're doing it. And there's no downtime. Every minute of every shift, you're busy. And you're stressed. And you're hungry. And if you're like me you have a three-hour night class right after your day-of-air.
But it doesn't stop there. You have a quiz every morning for your shift, a blog post just like this due 24 hours after it, and Sunday night when other students at this school are either cramming to finish their homework or catching some much needed sleep, you're coming up with ideas for tomorrow's show (at least if you're a Monday producer).
Scared off yet? No? Perfect, you're fit for this.
I have several friends who graduated from Annenberg and are now producers. They wake up for work at 1:00 a.m.
Yes, you read that correctly. Wake up at 1:00 a.m.
And you know what? They love it.
I might not want to be a producer specifically, but I do want to be in journalism and will do everything it takes. That means getting a foot in the door any way I can, perhaps as a producer. So I'm not complaining; I understand what might lie ahead, and seriously appreciate the training and experience I got by taking the producing class. So if you're like me or my now-professional producer friends, step right up.
Let me be clear. I'm not pretending the time commitment was easy for me. It wasn't. Especially in the beginning. So once again I highly advise you try to comprehend truly how much time this class consumes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But be prepared. Because I wasn't, and took on a two-day-a-week, unpaid internship. So I essentially had four days in my week with three gone right off the bat. Then I needed to make money so I got a campus job. Calling my semester busy would be an understatement. I strongly recommend taking this class. I also strongly recommend you free up your schedule for it instead of borderline running yourself into the ground. But hey, I survived.
The other big piece of advice I have is to understand that the show, and subsequently your success as a producer, depends a lot on other people. That can get very frustrating. I'm the kind of person who wants to take care of everything myself rather than leave it up to someone else, and if I fail, fine, that's my responsibility. As a producer, you cannot have that attitude. When a reporter is out in the field or editing a package, you can advise them, but there's not a lot you can do. You have to be adaptable. Have a backup plan ready and be prepared if a reporter doesn't get the info you were looking for or isn't done with his or her piece on time. That mentality will allow you to control as much as possible instead of leaving things up to chance.
Lastly, keep in mind the experience you are getting as a producer, probably a big reason why you're taking this class. It doesn't get any more hands on. It provides incredible talking points on a resume or a cover letter. And most of all, you're doing what you love, good ol' television journalism.