A story producer in reality TV is part of the editorial team and is responsible for following and developing storylines throughout the series on a production. As a story producer, you will often be the main point of contact for contributors (cast) on set.
What can I expect to do as a story producer?
Every production is different and the role can vary depending on the show but usually a story producer will be responsible for the following tasks:
- Prepping and producing backstories
- Organising shoots – including creative development, sourcing locations, organising permits, scheduling, managing appearance and location releases, briefing contributors and talent on requirements
- Directing and producing shoots
- Coming up with ideas to drive story
- Taking detailed field notes and summarising story
- Producing scenes and directing camera and audio crews
- Identifying and developing storylines
- Preparing interview questions
- Interviewing the cast
What skills do I need as a story producer?
- Good people skills: As a story producer you will spend a lot of time with cast AND working closely with crew, so you need to know how to get along with all personality types.
- Strong communication: Whether it’s interviewing the cast, briefing your crews or directing over comms, you need to know how to communicate clearly and concisely.
- Organisation and planning skills: TV is a fast-paced industry and you’ll often have multiple things you need to be across at once so being prepared in advance is the best way to stay on top of everything.
- Problem solving and decision making: As much as you can plan a shoot down to a tee, things can AND will change in a second in Reality TV and you have to be able to think on your feet and come up with solutions on the spot.
- Creative thinking: Reality TV is entertainment after all and you need to be armed with ideas and able to come up with new and innovative ways to make great television.
- Eye for story: It’s an obvious one but a very important one. You need to be able to identify what is story and how to tell a story.
How do I become a story producer?
In most cases, it takes years of television experience to work up to the role of Story Producer – it’s not a role that you can jump into straight out of university. There are a lot of different paths to progression but here is an example of roles a person might do on the way to being a story producer and why…
Runner: This is the entry-level to television where you learn the ropes of being on set.
Live Logger: A live logger works from the control room and transcribes everything that is said and done on camera. This is a great role for someone wanting to get into story producing because you are in the action of the control room, working alongside producers and learning how to identify story.
Production Assistant: Although not in the editorial department, this is a role for someone who is ready to take on more responsibility on a production and is a great way to build relationships and gain a greater understanding of the inner workings of TV.
Story Associate Producer: This is the pre-curser to becoming a story producer, where you will support story producers and learn what you need to know to eventually become a story producer.
If you think you have what it takes for a career in TV? Check out my post 5 Awesome Entry-Level Jobs In TV You Never Knew Existed in TV.