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!
What is a Runner?
For a lot of working film and television professionals, the first foray into the industry was in the entry-level position of ‘Runner’. Whilst it may not be the most glamorous of positions, the role offers an opportunity to gain an idea of the inner workings of a production, make contacts and ultimately get a foot on the ladder. It’s all too easy to dismiss the position of Runner as menial or degrading, yet it is the runners of today that will inevitably be making the television programmes and feature films of tomorrow.
Judging by the constant debate on our discussion forum, it seems this sensitive topic of ageism just won’t fade away. Looking back over the previous weeks’ threads it seems there is a genuine fear that anyone over the age of 35 is finished in this industry. Is this being fuelled by the high profile spates covered in the media of late or a genuine belief that talented, hard working people are being overlooked simply because they can be easily replaced by someone younger?
I’m sure you all remember the Arlene Phillips/Alesha Dixon debacle and the more recent ranting of Kirsty Young which implied that it was women in particular that were being discriminated against. And as Brucie signs up for another series of Strictly Come Dancing (what is it about that show?) alongside the much younger, Tessa Daly, its easy to see where that opinion manifests itself. Its probably fair to say that there are not too many shows of aging women working alongside younger men.
What does the research say? A recent Daily Mail article claimed that the average age for female presenters appearing in prime time slots has jumped from 32 years and 7 months from the 1950s to an average age of 40 today. In contrast, the average age of men on TV has actually fallen slightly from 46 years and 9 months in the 1950s to 46 years today.
This week, Shine TV’s Jamie Munro, explains the importance of brand-power when developing a hit series and demonstrates its significance in the domestic and international marketplace.
At Shine TV, creativity is at the heart of everything we do, from the creation of new ideas, to the execution of our hit shows but crucially, the way that our commercial and creative teams can interact to bring a new life to content both in individual markets and overseas.
There are 3 key components we prioritise as we push forward to propel our existing global franchises and fast track the best new ideas to screen: ‘Brand Creation’, Brand Building’ and Brand Exploitation’.
When do you start to think of your programme as a ‘Brand’? From the moment the programme idea is conceived, we are thinking about what it will mean to viewers and the relationship it will have. We are thinking right from the start in terms of ‘Brand’.
Broadcasters like any other business, might be tempted to tighten the belt (even if it’s not necessary), during an economic downturn, but how much will this assist the long-term agenda? This week I reflect on Delissa Needham’s theory and offer a healthy alternative.
Has your attention been caught by the In My View column in last week’s Broadcast magazine? Delissa Needham, who is an executive producer at the Bio Channel and an experienced programme-maker in her own right, holds that the BBC overspends on its independent commissions when it could be buying-in the same commissions for a fifth of the cost.
Ms Needham writes that the BBC is doing the equivalent of shopping for its groceries at Harrods rather than a supermarket brand by commissioning from the bigger production companies who, “can’t and won’t do low-budget programming. It’s a skill that needs the right producing talent and the right commissioners experienced in low budget”.