Saturday, December 11, 2010

What is an Interactive Producer?

The key role for an Interactive Producer is to deliver digital products on time and on budget. Microsites, websites, portals, banner ads, Facebook applications, mobile applications all can fall under 'Interactive'. Interactive blurs into almost every form of media now, including TV commercials and in-store promotions. And depending where you work, you may be responsible for delivering one or all of these.

It requires a swiss-army knife of skillsets. Great Producers are great communicators, great motivators, great project managers.. and have an innate ability to 'get things done'. As a result they wear many hats. From writing scope of work documents, to adjusting pixels in Photoshop, to testing browsers in QA. Being a producer requires you to be versatile, no one day is ever the same.

Knowing a little about a lot is a key strength. Whether it be HTML, CSS, online media, search-engine optimization, or specific software - Photoshop, InDesign, these skills will often be required at different stages in a projects lifecycle. Whether it be to scope effort upfront, to help out in crunch time, or to test and validate work closer to launch. The Interactive Producer role is a relatively new one, and as such there's no clear path to being one. People come from diverse backgrounds including designers, content editors and information architects, and all these skills can be drawn upon as a Producer.

You may or may not manage the client. Depending on the size of your company, you may or may not take on the role as client service. Larger agencies team up producers with account management, while smaller studios will ask that you manage the client also. Managing the client and the team can be a tricky balancing act when you're at the coal face of a project. It requires clear communication, expectation setting and set process. And the reason a role as a Producer at a smaller studio is one of the most challenging roles you'll find.

All being said, being an Interactive Producer can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the land of digital. You're a part of every stage in the production, your role is diverse, you work across all facets of the business, and are responsible for delivering digital awesomeness.

Below is a keyword summary of a selection of job descriptions for interactive producers. It's no surprise that 'team', 'creative' and 'communication' rank so consistently.