R.A.P. Forum: So You Want to Be a Production Director?

by Larry Williams

First, ask yourself a few simple questions:

Do You Like Working With People? ...people who walk into your office and ask you stupid questions while you're writing copy on deadline? Or worse yet, they waltz into the studio while you're trying to finish that promo or spot that airs in ten minutes! But, you have to remember; it's important to know if you have the time to edit a song down to two minutes for their kid's school talent night!

Do You Like to do Several Small Projects at Once? Projects like dubbing cassettes for clients. These usually need to be done right away, you know...before you can get a lunch break.

Do You Like Doing Big Projects? My favorite is the "Auditorium Testing Hook Tape." This usually consists of over 300 hooks of your favorite tunes from the music inventory list. This wonderful project comes up at least twice per year.

Do You Like the Hours? It's a great 9 to 5 job... especially when an order is turned in at 4:50 p.m. on a Friday that consists of three fully produced spots with four different voices and sound effects! It runs first thing Saturday morning. Gotta get it done! (No, really...this has happened to me more than twice!)

Do You Like the Pay? How about all that "free-lance" business that comes with the position? Some stations actually require that anything the Production Director does can play on other stations FREE! I think these GMs feel that the Production Director is already paid for his work by salary. It's just another way to make points with the client. (Of course, all other air staff can charge a "talent fee" because production is not their primary job!) This is a rare case, but it can actually happen.

Do You Like Not Having to Work Weekends? You had better pray that the people doing spots and dubs don't screw up very often. Every time there's a missed spot or any kind of problem on the weekend, YOU are the one that has to come in and fix things!

Do You Like to Order Supplies? Then you'll love the Production Director's position. You get to order, inventory, and keep track of all: recording tape, cassettes, splicing tape, cart labels, cassette labels, reels, boxes.... Oh, let's not forget the Q-Tips, alcohol, grease pencils, razor blades, Sharpies.... Oops, I almost forgot typewriter ribbon, white out, pens....

My mom always told me: "You'll find a job doing something you love." I guess I just didn't realize HOW MUCH I'd love it. No, really I do! Wait a minute. That's my phone.... "What's that? Cart deck #5 just ate spot #310? But it's 11:15 Saturday night! I have company! .......Okay, I'll be right there."

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