Creative industries

Producer (creative industries)

Producer (creative industries)

Producers turn creative ideas into reality. What that involves depends on the idea and the output – whether it’s a video game, podcast, play, music recording, live event, film or community art.

Some producers stay within one genre or sector and become brilliant within that particular field – think of Cameron Mackintosh in musical theatre, or animation producer Nick Park. Others use their core skills in a range of different creative industries and develop a portfolio career that can span radio, theatre, film, live events, TV and digital content.

Of course, specialist knowledge is required for each output. Games producers need know about rights and licensing within games and have an in-depth understanding of game stores and platforms. Music producers need to know what’s happening in the world of music publishing and understand how music’s made.

But producers are essentially the people who ‘make it happen’ and the right kind of person can make it happen in a variety of different places and spaces. When someone combines skills as storyteller and organiser with being able to learn the specific needs of different genres and sectors, there is enormous potential for developing a portfolio career spanning a range of creative industries.

Case study – Daljinder Johal

Daljinder is a creative producer based in Leicester who works across theatre, film, audio and festivals in journalism, marketing curation and production. She specialises in telling joyful and thought-provoking stories from voices traditionally underrepresented in the arts and film industries.

Daljinder works across different sectors because it gives her the opportunity to choose the best way of communicating the stories she wants to tell.  “There're some stories that I found       particularly suited to audio that are really close and intimate, whereas actually then some of my film and theatre work has been for wider audiences, thinking about big themes,” she says.

Core skills for producers across the creative sectors

"You have to have the leadership skills to walk into a room to bring a team together and very clearly set the terms of engagement."

Daljinder Johal
  • Leadership – be able to set the tone of the production, manage all departments, motivate and communicate well with everyone, create a good working atmosphere
  • Organisation – be on top of the whole project, prepare schedules and a production budget, negotiate salaries, make room for creativity within this structure
  • Storytelling – know how to craft narrative and use this in marketing and team building as well as in the production
  • Negotiation – be able to cultivate relationships, raise funds, get the best deal on products and services, negotiate with financial backers to get funding for projects, cultivate good relationships
  • Sector-specific knowledge – understand the production processes of the genre or sector in which you are working
  • Freelancing – be able to keep your books, manage your finances and stay alert to new business opportunities. For ScreenSkills’ guide on how to do this, go to Freelance Toolkit.

Tips for producers moving between creative sectors

  • Immerse yourself in the sector in which you want to develop – go to the theatre, study podcasts, play games
  • Get to know people in the sectors into which you want to move. This will pay off in terms of securing roles and asking people for help when you’re learning new things. Finding a mentor in the area where you would like to grow is ideal
  • Show your passion for your new sector or genre at the same time as acknowledging your need to learn
  • Think like a marketer. Learn about the interests and concerns of people in the sector into which you want to move and use the language that resonates with them when you are selling your services
  • When working in a sector for the first time, be inquisitive about the different production processes and understand how decisions get made.

Related job profiles

Producers in all creative industries

Explore the range of producers across the creative industries: Discover! Creative Careers: producer