What is a Development Assistant Producer?
Development Assistant Producers (or Development APs) are part of the team that comes up with the ideas that get transformed into TV programmes. They research and flesh out briefs given to them by the Development Producer, using their contacts and industry knowledge gleaned from several years’ experience. They have lots of ideas themselves and a nose for a good story.
What is the Job?
Development APs help condense diverse ideas into a communicable 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 contributors, including 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.
What is a Development Producer?
A Development Producer is at the front of the development team (or on their own in a small independent company), and is responsible for bringing stories to life, in order to generate revenue for the company by securing commissions with broadcasters.
What is the Job?
The Development Producer has to have the creative ability to come up with new ideas, or to help develop other people’s ideas. However, they also need to have business knowledge and drive as they are responsible for pitching to commissioners who are often hard to please. The Development Producer has to know the idea inside out and must be prepared to answer any questions and queries at the pitch.
If the Development Producer fails to sell the idea in the pitch meeting, they will have to think on their feet and they must present alternative suggestions. Put simply: if the pitch isn’t a success, the company risks not securing any commissions, and therefore not making any money!
This week Producer and PB member, Simon Henderson talks about how the Development Producers Meeting has brought together a community of development enthusiasts and hales the benefits of sharing the highs, lows and creative hurdles.
Every so often a friend will collar me and tell me about their great idea for a TV show. As I listen to them talk I usually think ‘Really? Just ONE great idea?’.
Working as a researcher, AP or Producer in development isn’t about one great idea, its about being able to churn out hundreds of ideas all the time, knowing full well that 99% of them will be unceremoniously ditched before they turn into the next big series.
With such a small opportunity for success, I want to celebrate people in development, and that’s why I’ve set up the Development Producers Group.