by Maria Alonso
Some days ago, a well-known theatre company, Agrupación Señor Serrano, posted a thankful note on its facebook page. It was an appreciation of the producers’ work for the company. They did it by listing all the crazy tasks they usually do: from chasing payments to buying small figurines for their plays.
I remember when I started to produce cultural projects that some senior producer said to me: “You know you are doing a good job when some mad artists urgently asks you for a yellow skay sofa in the middle of a desert and you nod without even a flinch”. And that is our superpower. It’s not really anything special. The only tools needed are: multitasking skills, a very organized brain and the ability to say no with a huge honest smile.
A good producer’s job is that which remains invisible. A bad producer is very noticeable as his/her errors cause huge flaws on the project. This is why sometimes it is a very ungrateful job.
However I wouldn’t change it for any other job in the world.
I don’t like spreadsheets anymore than you do. The producer is always the first to arrive and the last to leave (or among the last, as there’s always the tech crew dismantling). More often than I would like to admit, artists get me on my nerves. And I am pretty sure that going through my to do list before bedtime does not help my sleep. But the adrenaline of the job, the months of preparation just to feel the thrill of the moment before the event starts, the vision behind the curtain or the camera, the wonderful places and people you meet along the way… I know this is my place, this is what I’m good at and what I really enjoy.
These feelings, this vocation, cannot be taught. Either you feel it or you don’t. If you don’t, producing is not an option for you, it will drive you crazy. If you do… well, welcome to a hard dog’s life. It’s so amazing that it gets almost impossible to explain the experience.
So Hurray for the producer!! Your very best invisible friend.