As the name suggests, a post producer works in the final stage of the production process – post production. A post producer in reality TV is responsible for working with rushes to create a story and will work closely with an editor to prepare an episode or segments of an episode for broadcast.
What can I expect to do as a post producer?
Post producers will typically take responsibility for a whole episode or segment of an episode depending on the nature of the show, which usually involves the following:
- Reading field notes and story summaries to get an understanding of the narrative shot
- Viewing all rushes and often watching every frame of what is shot in the field relevant to the episode/segment
- Making decisions about what stories to follow
- Ensuring the stories chosen make sense in the broader context of the series
- Cutting down rushes to tell the story in the most engaging way and preparing cut downs for an editor
- Reviewing and selecting interviews that enhance the story
- Working closely with an editor to deliver a broadcast-ready episode/segment that has the right pacing, music and visuals to tell the story and complies with the format of the show
- Scripting voice over
- Screening the cuts to supervisors, executive producers and network executives and making changes based on feedback
- Writing a detailed episode summary
What skills do I need as a post producer?
- Strong story-telling skills: As a post producer, it’s your job to be able to figure out what the story is amongst hours and hours of footage that’s been shot – so being able to identify story and build a narrative is vital.
- Basic-intermediate editing skills and knowledge of AVID editing software: You’ll be working with rushes and preparing cut downs in editing software (usually AVID for reality TV). The better your skills are in editing, the better you can prepare your cut downs for an editor.
- Ability to work autonomously and collaboratively: A post producer has a lot of responsibility in terms of making an episode, so you need to be confident and capable in your own abilities, at the same time, you will have to work closely with an editor and will need to be able to collaborate to achieve the final product.
- Solid organisation skills and ability to work to deadlines: Post production is a fast-paced environment with numerous deadlines that need to be met – good time management is essential!
- Resilience: As a post producer, you’re very exposed when you screen your work, so it’s important not to take constructive criticism personally and be open to taking direction.
- Creative-thinking: The ability to think outside the box is key to the role of post-producer – being able to come up with creative solutions to building narratives and working with the rushes you have, will be what sets you apart in the role.
How do I become a post producer?
As with most roles in reality TV, there are many different paths to becoming a post producer. Some people may work their way up in the field and then move into post, while other post producers are based in post from the start. Here’s an example of a career path in post production.
Transcriber: An entry-level role where you transcribe interviews and rushes – a great foot in the door to post-production.
Post Production Assistant: An administrative role supporting the post coordinator and post production manager.
Post Associate Producer: An editorial role where you will assist post producers and editors by finding shots and grabs, locating scenes, create first pass story pods and packages.
Junior Post Producer/Support Post Producer: Similar to a post associate producer but with more responsibility, you will work closely with a post producer on an episode to essentially learn the ropes before you become an independent post producer.
Ever wondered what a story producer does in reality TV? Find out in my post What Is A Story Producer In Reality TV?
Want to know all about what it takes to be a production runner in reality TV? Check out my post What Is A Production Runner In Reality TV?