The Associate Producer

Want to get a leg up on the competition when applying for jobs? Looking for a new skill?

The associate producer is a crucial job in any documentary and television magazine production. The AP is called upon to fulfill a wide range of duties: reporting, logistical planning, budget management, archival acquisition, organizing deliverables and managing personalities — and each one has to be executed with precision for the project to be successful.

APs come from both print and production backgrounds. Should you find yourself working in production after graduating from J-school, you’ll be lucky to be an AP – part reporter, part problem solver. It’s the first step toward learning the totality of the production business. All this becomes more critical in the real broadcast world.

This course, taught by IRP producer Zachary Stauffer, is open to students of all media backgrounds, not just the TV/documentary track. Students who envision any work in TV and documentary, expect to collaborate on any documentary projects or are eager to explore other approaches to in-depth journalism are encouraged to enroll. The Investigative Reporting Program has hired students out of the television and documentary tracks, as well as people with minimal video experience. Each has contributed to our projects in meaningful ways.

Each week, instructors and guests will screen clips and discuss all the variables they had to consider in order to help bring the scenes or projects to fruition. Students will be given assignments based on that week’s lecture and discussion: plan a shoot for your crew, organize a schedule, figure out insurance challenges, budget the project, report on aspects of the story and others.

Discussion topics include: contributing to the reporting and the producer’s vision; collaborating; production budgets and how they work; planning and scheduling a shoot; archival research; fact checking; wrapping up the project and securing rights.

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