When I told my mom I wanted to be a producer, she willingly backed me up on fulfilling my dream [like the great mother she is]. It wasn't until much later when she finally asked me what a producer actually does. In fact, that's pretty much the exact question I get whenever I tell people what I do.
So here's a fairly good timeline of how my day goes/what i do. For more wiki-detail click here.
9:40 am: Leave the house (praying there's no traffic).
10 am: Arrive at work, start up computer and grab legal pad.
10:05 am: Morning Producer meeting. Learn what stories reporters are covering, and top stories of the area.
10:10 am: Crack open first Diet Coke. Begin selecting stories for the day--scan Associated Press wires, ABC and CNN video services and email with press releases and police reports.
10:15-11:45 (on a good day) am: "Stack the shows" i.e. putting stories in order according to how well they flow into each other and based on the seriousness level of the stories. During this we also format the show so that directors and production staff have the proper cues in scripts and rundowns (a version of the lineup with additional technical information for the studio and control room crews). Also stingers, chyrons (full screen graphics) and other visual elements.
11:45 am-3:00 pm: Write. Write. Write. That takes up the majority of the day. I write for 2 different shows. If the anchors read it, I write it. Reporters take care of their own content, I write "copy" for the anchors. Crack open 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) Diet Coke. Sometimes there's lunch included somewhere in that.
3:00 pm: Executive Producer checks rundown, approves or asks me to move things around a little, adds in late breaking stories, reformat.
3:30 (and throughout the day) pm: Check on reporters. Make sure they have everything they need and that they're staying on task. Find ways to help them out.
3:45 pm: (pray for no breaking news in the next hour.) Add over the shoulder graphics, and anchor reads (i.e. assign which anchor will read each story).
4:00 pm: Polish the show. Make sure video is being edited and attached to our video system. Clarify stories.
4:45 pm: Head into the Production booth, check live shot--make sure we can hear audio and see the camera from them, open up iNews and wait for anchors to mosey on into the studio.
5:00-5:30 pm: Time the show, make sure it starts and ends on time, picking which stories we may need to skip in case we are over time. Make sure anchors, reporters and directors know what's going on in the show so we can make it look good.
(and then I add more video and stuff to my cable show and wait to film it at 7pm after our 6pm newscast.)
7:15 pm: Head home. Put on sweats.
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