Development Assistant Producer

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What does a development assistant producer do?

Development assistant producers are part of the team that comes up with the ideas that get transformed into TV programmes. They have lots of ideas themselves and a nose for a good story. They also research and flesh out briefs given to them by the development producer, using their contacts and industry knowledge gleaned from several years’ experience.

They write well and help condense sprawling ideas into a packageable pitch. Depending on the type of programme they are developing, they may be responsible for filming and editing 'casting tapes', which are short interviews with potential new experts, presenters or members of the public. They may also be asked to shoot and edit a short 'taster tape', also known as a 'sizzle', to give the commissioner a taste of the content, style and tone of the show they are hoping to get commissioned. If they are working on the development of a new quiz show, they may have to write questions and test games or rounds to see if they work.

Development assistant producers work across several projects at one time, all of which will be at a different point in their journey to our screens. They work either with independent production companies or broadcasters.

What’s a development assistant producer good at?

  • Knowledge of television: watch and have a genuine passion for factual TV, understand the current programming landscape, be able to identify gaps in the market and potential new trends
  • Research: be curious, identify areas or people of interest and back these up with facts, figures and potential audience
  • Communication: express ideas clearly, write well and help generate proposals that really sell a programme, convey what you need from researchers and runners
  • Working to briefs: respond to producer requests promptly and efficiently, listen to the demands and desires of various broadcasters and audiences and ensure these are delivered in pitches
  • Using shooting equipment and editing software: operate basic cameras, lights, and audio and editing packages to create casting tapes and visual references

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