Do I need a producer or a director?

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Every marketing director with a great team has project deadlines. When new projects stretch your team, it’s common to recruit freelance talent. Here’s a short read to help guide your search.

The busiest marketing directors build time into projects and staff scheduling to accommodate most unexpected or unplanned requests. But the reality of marketing in the 2020s is that channels, messaging, and priorities are in constant flux. And your team, like everyone’s, has had one of the biggest challenges of their career in 2020. In 2021, you may need a producer or a director as part of the project when you are facing:

  • Unexpected projects.
  • Short timelines or deadlines to launch.
  • VIPs will be on set, as talent or observers, and your focus needs to be on them.
  • Opportunities for staff growth working with other creative professionals.

The difference between a producer and a director.

In major motion picture studios, the roles of producer and director are more clear. Motion picture friends, excuse my oversimplification.

Broadly speaking, the producer is the person who manages or acquires the financing and staff to create the next blockbuster hit. They put the key people and resources together before production begins, check-in during production to make sure there are no changes in needs, and then manages the distribution, placement, and metrics.

The director is hired by the producer and responsible for casting actors and combining their on-screen talents with the script and then overseeing the movie edit for public release. A director controls what happens on set and on screen, a producer controls what happens around the set, before and after production.

Not every marketing project has a blockbuster budget, but we can dream, right? On more common team projects, the basic rules are the same, however, there may be some crossover or the same person may fill both the producer and director roles. Let’s simplify this in a typical marketing team context.

The producer is managing the brand, the director is managing the message.

Contract producers and contract directors are able to quickly get up to speed, learn your style and voice, and create a successful project that matches both your brand and vision.

As a contract producer, I typically do this scope of work:

  • Capturing the project in a simple statement.
  • Identify the key components for the broad concept.
  • Review the script and or work with a writer to develop the script.
  • Review the budget and/or create a budget and identify the needed resources.
  • Make recommendations for talent, and locations,
  • Work with the director to identify rehearsal times, shooting schedules, and deliverables both during production and on completion.
  • Manage client-requested documentation.

As a contract director, I typically perform this scope of work:

  • Script review and production budget.
  • Location scouting and selection.
  • Crew selection, as the director I may or may not fill a crew role, depending on the complexity of the project.
  • Direct and assure the quality of on-screen performances.
  • Direct and assure the quality of additional resources, such as audio, b-roll, soundtrack music, graphics
  • Creation and sharing of deliverables in agreed file formats.

As we all look to future projects, I would be happy to talk with you your team to identify your projects that can benefit from additional resources.


About the author

My name is Fritz Nordengren and I am an award winning producer, digital strategist, and multimedia storyteller. I guide corporate and freelance digital media teams as they balance of strategic process and creative execution of brand focused storytelling. letschat@nordengren.us