What does a producer director do?
Producer directors do two jobs at once; creating and producing the content while also directing the action. On a high-budget show, they may direct a crew with one or two cameras. On smaller shoots, more often than not they operate the camera themselves. In effect this means they do three jobs at once.
Depending on the production, a producer director may be responsible for making an entire programme, such as a documentary featuring one or two main characters. This is so they can build a trusted relationship with the person or people they are filming and manage the narrative. But often, several producer directors are employed on the same production and are responsible for certain parts of a programme, like making small inserts for the news or several longer films within a consumer show.
Producer directors usually have an assistant producer and a researcher working with them to help find the information, locations, props, archive material and extra people required. The team might assist on the shoot too. Before filming, producer directors write a shooting script, detailing what they intend to film and any script that may need to be delivered by a presenter. If there are no presenters, they may interview people themselves (cutting out their questions in the edit). They will also write a filming schedule, listing what they intend to shoot and when, and the production management team will include this in a final call sheet. Producer directors also sign off health and safety forms to ensure they have considered every possible hazard that could impact on filming, and may consult with company lawyers to ensure their script and intended content is within compliance guidelines.
Some producer directors edit their material too. They are almost always freelance.
What’s a producer director good at?
- Creativity: be ambitious making a variety of content, write well and create an appropriate accompanying visual style, have flair and originality
- Communication: clearly direct a team on what’s needed and a crew on shots, instruct presenters on delivery, produce contributors and put all at ease
- Multi-tasking: be able to focus on what people are saying while checking shots and possibly operating the camera, be responsible for everyone’s safety
- Adaptability: work well in challenging and changeable environments, problem solve on the go, make quick effective decisions and be able to prioritise
- Photography: have a good understanding of composition, light, colour, texture, focus and framing, be up-to-date with the latest technology, how to operate it and know the best options for different productions