For our final blog posts of the semester, ATVN producers have been tasked with providing advice to the producers of the future. For this purpose, I will address next semester’s producers directly, below.
So, you want to be an Annenberg TV News producer? First of all, let me congratulate you on deciding to take an extremely stressful, yet rewarding class. Hopefully, you didn’t just sign up because you thought this would be an easy opportunity to knock out a whole six units of journalism credits. You will soon be in for a very rude awakening if you are currently operating under that delusion. To best advise you on how to make the most of the next semester, I’m going to review the most important lesson I learned in my last semester.
A little less than four months ago, in the first producing class lecture of the semester, our instructor asked every student what we believed was the most important quality or skill of a television news producer. Multiple people (myself included) gave variously worded forms of the same answer that ranked time management and task delegation as the keys to success.
I still stand by my answer in a general sense, but I think that a better answer may have been “time valuation” rather than “time management.” You have to understand that as one of two or three producers on any given day, your time is incredibly valuable to the organization. The worst part of any producer’s day is going to be when you’re right in the middle of one thing and something else comes up that requires your immediate attention (it will happen at least 15 times a day).
I wish I could say that Ron Swanson’s famous advice to Leslie Knope in “Parks and Recreation” would suffice. To paraphrase, Swanson says that you should never half-complete two things instead of wholly completing one thing. Unfortunately, one-story shows simply don’t work. Instead, you’re going to need to “wholly complete” a whole lot of things throughout the day. Remember that you’ve got a team around you that is largely capable of accomplishing tasks. Identify the members of your team who you can trust early on and give them the important stuff. It will save you that precious time that you can’t afford to waste.
All the same, as this is my last non-exam assignment at USC, I would advise that everyone take some time (not that there’s a lot of it) to enjoy the experience. Relish in the fact that you’re working with a wonderful group of people on an important task. Whether you’re producing from home or working under the halo in the media center, this is a moment in time that you’re never to going to forget.
I’ll now close my final producer blog with a quote from someone who knew how to live life to the fullest and make the most of just an ordinary day. As producers of a show that literally recaps the happenings of the day, I think that’s a pretty nice goal for us all.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
- Ferris Bueller (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”)