If there is a project that could wake a producer in the dead of night drenched in a cold sweat, it could be one that places the fate of a campaign for a major client, its website and more than one human being in the hands of the online public. For Lean Mean Fighting Machine head of production Rachel Bishop, this was Samsung's recent "Adventures of Nick Turpin."
The project sent street photographer Turpin on the road for 28 days with just a Samsung Pixon phone and destinations voted on by online users as his guide. For Bishop—who got her start in design and multimedia at Virgin Net, then worked as a producer at Glue London until 2007 on projects for Bacardi and Mini, including Mini's award-winning Clubman R55 campaign—the Pixon job represented the best type of production challenge. From choosing Turpin as the roving photographer to making sure there were people on call for 24 hours a day for all 28 days, it was a high risk endeavor that would test the mettle of any producer.
"Anything involving risk is worth doing," Bishop says. "You need a bit of excitement and fear. Otherwise, why bother? We had a plan in place to allow us to react in the most beneficial way to any potential situation."
Indeed, flexibility is a key part of being a good producer, Bishop says. "Ideas grow and often change direction throughout a project lifecycle, so it's important to know how to manage and adapt effectively to bring the project in on time and budget without compromising the creative idea." That, along with openness to collaboration, solid planning skills and a strong team are other elements that go into great production.
Bishop says that she "fell into the role" of a producer, but clearly relishes where she is now. "I was never going to be a great designer or a developer, but I understood the process and got a kick out of seeing an idea on a scrap of paper and helping make it come to life," she says. "If I could be a part of making that happen and seeing people enjoy the finished product, then it had to be a good way to spend your working life."