Becoming a Line Producer

You’ve been working in a reality TV for some time and you decide you want to be a Line Producer. How do you get there?

First – let’s determine your ability to withstand pain and pressure. The type of pain and pressure associated with being hurled into space at 2000 miles per hour in a tin can, reminiscent of the scene in the film Apollo 13 when Tom Hanks and his crew are about to burn up upon re-entry.

Second – let’s see how well you handle 10 people asking you 1000 questions while juggling 10,000 purchase orders containing information about monies you or your team have spent, with or without your approval, subtracting from the ever shrinking bottom line that you are responsible for. Reminds me of Dan Akyrod and Eddie Murphy on the trading floor as the bottom drops out on the price of oranges in Trading Places.

Third – Can you solve problems? Face them down like so much cotton candy instead of the brick wall you perceive them to be. Can you dream up out-of-the-box solutions? Can you really, truly, without a doubt live with the constant, unrelenting lists that go round and round in your head all hours of the night like Sara Jessica Parker in I Don’t Know How She Does It.

If you can check yes, yes and yes then you’ve got a good chance of making it.

Here’s one route to becoming a Line Producer:

  1. Start in the field as Production Assistant. Do whatever is asked. Watch and learn what everyone does.
  2. Then become an Office Production Assistant so you can learn the ins and outs of what happens in the production office and get cozy with the production accountant. (Always follow the money.)
  3. Get back out in the field and work closely with the Production Manger and get yourself promoted to Production Coordinator – learn everything you can about managing a shoot.
  4. Get yourself promoted to Production Manager and work closely with the Line Producer. Learn how to create and manage schedules and budgets, hire personnel, negotiate contracts and the inner workings of post production,
  5. Work your way up to Line Producer.

There are dozens of ways to get to where you want to go – the above is just one route.

Good Luck – in whatever route you choose.