On January 29, 2013, Shirley Saldamarco, who is a faculty member of the ETC, visited the SV campus. She teaches the “Fundamentals of Producing” course that I took a year ago, and also has an extensive background in television and video production. While she was stopped by for two days, I was able to talk to her about some questions in regards to my independent study:
Her definition of producing was “guiding the talents of other people to create the best possible product.” I liked how this definition describes the actions of a producer as well as the target goal of those actions.
Her most interesting insight she had was about the spectrum of producing from film to television to gaming. Having been around all of these industries, she said that creative control was one of the biggest differences she had seen: In television, a producer really influences the vision, while in gaming, it is more production management/administration.
At the film end, though is where things get interesting: In film as opposed to television there is less control for the producer because the director gets the final say. However, there is more money in film, of course. Moreover, whereas the credits in television tend to be more straightforward, producing titles in a film can often be assigned for a variety of reasons and can sometimes simplify the variety of roles people had. As Shirley put it, “you never know who did what on a film unless you were there.”
A specific insight she also had was about her experience with scheduling for programmers. Programmers can have difficulty estimating how long something will take because of compounding factors but a producer really needs an estimate from them for planning purposes. So Shirley has come up with a system of asking programmers for the “best case.” It’s not the most accurate but it’s a great way to help a programmer mentally simplify those compounding factors, which are things that the Producer should be helping to ameliorate anyway.
Shirley’s years of experience have given her some great insights, and I am very glad to have had the chance to speak with her especially on this topic.