Producer with TV channel

STARTING from deciding the format in which a report submitted by a reporter is to be aired to prioritising the news content to assigning som...

STARTING from deciding the format in which a report submitted by a reporter is to be aired to prioritising the news content to assigning someone at the news desk to value-add, edit and package the news report in the desired form — in short, plan, execute and produce a TV programme till it is aired. Sounds exciting? Well, that's exactly what the job of a producer in a TV channel is all about.

JOBS GALORE

From 10 channels in 1993 to over 200 channels in 2007 tells you the rate at which the Indian television industry is growing. With increasing number of programmes and competition between channels heating up, good producers are much in demand. Whether they are producing news or entertainment programmes, they are in total charge of a particular programme. It is the producer who is responsible for organising and coordinating a diverse range of activities involving reporters, technicians, cameramen, script writers, sound recordists to actors, music directors, set and costume designers and others. A producer also needs to make budgetary provisions for all related expenses that goes in producing a programme and needs to look into the marketing aspects of the programme as well. "It is also very important for a producer to understand the sociopolitical dynamics, both in the national and international arena, as well as the image of the channel," elaborates Riten Roychowdhury, news producer, NE Khas Khobor. A fresher desiring to become a producer is recruited first as an assistant producer. The basic eligibility is a graduation degree. While some channels hire freshers directly as assistant producers, some may want the candidates to work on the desk for a while. Shai Venkataraman, bureau chief, NDTV, Mumbai, says: "We hire people as trainees in production for a period of six months. After completing the training, the candidates can work in a studio or help a reporter in his assignments. So it's pretty much on-the-job training," she adds.
A production assistant is expected to do all kinds of jobs ranging from helping the crew, aid the producer to even assisting the logistics management. "The fresher must have the flexibility to do any form of work that he might be asked to do," says another producer with a Bengali news channel.
"It also helps to be technologically savvy in understanding the equipment you work with," explains Venkataraman. In sync with the common saying in television circles, 'you are as good as your last story or programme', how fast one can get promoted to the next level depends on how efficiently and effectively one performs.
Sreenivasan Jain, managing editor, NDTV, Mumbai, however has a word of caution for youngsters aspiring to step into this profession: "A producer's job is generally behind the scene, so it's not that glamorous. It is also a high-pressure job, so be ready for long hours. Television is very personality-driven, and so a producer has to deal with different personalities," he says.

MOOLAH MATTERS

As a TV production job is a synthesis of many roles, you have various career options available to you like direction, editing, cinematography and so on. Depending on the work profile and the company, the starting salary varies from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. The pay packet of a fresher depends also on his location. In Mumbai and Delhi, one can get fatter pay cheques than in other centres.

ON COURSE

The area of TV production is considered to be a rather new industry; still, there are many reputed institutions in the country that provide courses in the area. These courses are offered in two ways, as a specialised course or as a part of the mainline curriculum of mass communication.

INSTITUTES

Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi

Jamia Milia Islamia,New Delhi

Film and Television Institute of India, Pune

Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune

Xavier's Institute of Communication, Mumbai

Satyajit Ray Film and Tele vision Institute, Kolkata

Calcutta University, Kolkata

Kolkata Film and Television Institute, Kolkata

St Xavier's College, Kolkata

Wigan and Leigh College, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune

COMMITS, Bangalore

Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai

Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida

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