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My job explained: Producer

chris producerSpectacular stunts and worldwide travel are all in a day’s work for Chris Hale. Read on to find out more about his adrenaline-pumping job as a producer.

Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I’m a freelance producer and director. I work on various productions for different companies. For example, my last two jobs were producing the Top Gear Christmas special in the Middle East for the BBC, then producing a live Top Gear festival in South Africa. It’s my job to make whatever I’m working on as exciting and entertaining as possible.

What’s a typical day like?

There’s no such thing – which is why I like it! As a producer you’re responsible for the whole project, from coming up with the original ideas, to setting up and running the shoot, and making sure everything happens when it should. That means that every project is constantly progressing and developing. So one day you could be having lots of meetings and brainstorming sessions, the next you could be driving around scrapyards looking for cars you can crush, or even trying to work out how to prevent the crew getting diarrhoea when you’re filming abroad.

How did you get into the media?

I picked up an interest in film from my dad, and then got some work experience. I literally telephoned every media company I could find in the Business Pages, until I found someone who gave me a job as a ‘digitiser’ – which is like a postproduction runner. I kept bugging people for more work there, sometimes doing the work of two people so I could get up the career ladder.

What qualifications and training do you have?

I left school at 16 and started work experience. Experience and enthusiasm are definitely the most important things, although a lot of the analytical and problem-solving skills you’re taught on an academic course can be useful.

What other skills do you need?

Creativity, an open mind and a willingness to learn. You need the right attitude – where you’re prepared to work long hours for low pay at first and rise up that way because it’s a learning curve. You should also take pride and put your all into every project.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I get to dream up ridiculous ideas and make them reality, travel all around the world and experience things that money just can’t buy!

What’s the most difficult thing about your job?

Because you’re coming up with new ideas all the time, it’s difficult to anticipate every problem that might occur. Even the best plans might suddenly collapse and you’ve got a day – or maybe even just an hour – to sort it out. But that gets the adrenaline pumping and it’s a great feeling when you find a solution.

What advice would you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Work hard, look, listen and learn – and keep a smile on your face!

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