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[PATV] Extra Credits: S.3 ep.11 - So You Want to Be a Producer

RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazedby the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
edited October 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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Posts

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    I'm still catching up on the back episodes. Up to James' on his game addiction. Beautiful ep. <3

    Oh brilliant
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    That was a very smart talk, awesome.

    A lot of what was said can be applied to the producer job in just about any industry. It only really got video game specific when the focus was on making sure the product ships and cutting features. Pretty much my favorite part was describing the role as a facilitator. As soon as that word was said I knew where the whole thing was going. :^:

    Also I need to catch up on all the back episodes myself. I've only seen Extra Credits for the first time fairly recently, a couple scattered episodes, and to be as not-creepy as possible the show gives me a hard-on. I mean, I like it. A lot.

  • XiaNaphryzXiaNaphryz Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    That was a very smart talk, awesome.

    A lot of what was said can be applied to the producer job in just about any industry. It only really got video game specific when the focus was on making sure the product ships and cutting features. Pretty much my favorite part was describing the role as a facilitator. As soon as that word was said I knew where the whole thing was going. :^:

    Agreed. As someone who's done game production in the past, and is effectively still doing the same thing under a different title in other software development, it's good to see a clear yet concise description of what producers do.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    XiaNaphryz wrote:
    Henroid wrote:
    That was a very smart talk, awesome.

    A lot of what was said can be applied to the producer job in just about any industry. It only really got video game specific when the focus was on making sure the product ships and cutting features. Pretty much my favorite part was describing the role as a facilitator. As soon as that word was said I knew where the whole thing was going. :^:

    Agreed. As someone who's done game production in the past, and is effectively still doing the same thing under a different title in other software development, it's good to see a clear yet concise description of what producers do.

    I've never had a producing job but I consider going for it from time to time.

  • SkexisSkexis Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    When I had video games as a job goal a few years ago, I always saw myself being a designer, but watching this video, I think the position I had envisioned, as a kind of facilitator or focusing lens for the project, was always closer to producer than anything. A lot closer, in fact. It's weird to have someone describe your current work style and then give it a name.

    Good episode, though. Some great perspective on a producer's role and perceptions of their role.

    Skexis on
  • FramlingFramling FaceHead Geebs has bad ideas.Registered User regular
    Well, now I know what position I'd best fit if I ever moved into game development.

    you're = you are
    your = belonging to you

    their = belonging to them
    there = not here
    they're = they are
  • TheySlashThemTheySlashThem Registered User regular
    count me among those who honestly had no idea what a producer actually did until now

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Pretty good. The corporate equivalent seams like it would be chief of operations.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    count me among those who honestly had no idea what a producer actually did until now

    My oldest brother had a production job for Dreamworks. I had an inkling it wasn't too far off from it.

    Hey so if anyone reading the forum is a producer in the VG industry, or has been, or knows any, what sort of background and experience could put someone into the position?

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    I find it a bit ironic that a Producer does not, in fact, produce anything.

  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Garthor wrote:
    I find it a bit ironic that a Producer does not, in fact, produce anything.

    To quote Howard Stern speaking to his producer, Gary, "Why don't you go produce me a cup of coffee?"

  • PaperLuigi44PaperLuigi44 My amazement is at maximum capacity. Registered User regular
    Guest art marathon was great, but it'll be good to have Alison back, I love that the robot arm has been a running joke the whole time.

    As for the producer role, I wasn't too clued in on it either, but now it makes perfect sense, nice work.

  • horrorsaurushorrorsaurus Registered User new member
    I laughed at the line "without producers, none of us would ever manage to ship a game". Because clearly a producer is the first role you need to fill in a dev team, much more so than programmers, artists, designers, QA...you know, people who actually make stuff.

    This may be a bit harsh, but I'd say in my years of industry experience 90% of producers are useless. They might imagine themselves to be masters of scheduling, but they are no more useful than an excel sheet. Unless you have real background in a discipline, you can be certain that, yes, people are lying to you. What's scheduled to take a month might only really take a week (and the rest is spent on youtube), or it might take 6 months due to unexpected issue. The producer would have no idea and the schedule they produce is bunk.

    The example quoted in the episode (coder fixing an artist's problem in minutes, thank to a producer) is pretty much the wet dream of producers, often used to justify their existence. No, the problem is that the artist should've talked to the damn coders themselves. The producer is an unnecessary middle man in this case and often, in attempts to power-grab, would actually institute policies such as "no one gets to talk to coders except through producers".

    That being said, I have actually had producers that were helpful and integral to the team. Most of them came from a background in coding or art, and can produce realistic schedule; they are also smart enough to stay out of the way. Even then, a sure sign of a mismanaged team is having too many producers. If your team is falling behind schedule and you think hiring more producers would solve the problem...something is terribly wrong.

  • KochikensKochikens Registered User regular
    I love my producers. I will take yours, Horror. Give me all of them.

    I have been really fortunate to work with some AMAZING producers, and though I was skeptical when my first one came up to me, holyshit I could not imagine finishing some of the projects I have without them to take the burden of stress off of me and just letting me work. The best are the ones who at least have a vague concept of what you're doing or are very willing to take a few moments to try and understand, and sometimes just act like they completely know what you're talking about, which gives you confidence that you can completely trust them to take care of you.

    The, No one gets to talk to coders/artists/whatever except through producers is sometimes implemented because when you're trying to work and you have someone coming up to you and making nonsense requests, it is a lot easier to go, no sorry you'll have to ask my producer! Especially when it's higher ups in the company making requests over your shoulder (or behind someone elses back) you normally can't refuse.

    I
    Love
    Producers

    and I really love that they did an episode about this!

  • horrorsaurushorrorsaurus Registered User new member
    The team I'm on right now is one producer to about 20 people. He's really good, you can't have him :). I think he is a case where I genuinely appreciate a producer's presence. He deals with publisher bullshit, sets realistic schedules (since he was a coder), and never ever gets in the way of team communication. The entire team plays together and hangs out together. No one ever needs to go through a "facilitator" to talk to another person on the team.

    Some of the teams I've been on, though. My god, I would've taken a trade in a heart beat. Give me more coders, modelers, animators, and world builders and take all the producers you want. Hell I would've paid you for it. In my experience, it's better to deal with what might be unreasonable requests head on, rather than through a filter. Assuming everyone wants what's best for the game, it's much better to talk it out with people who are intimately familiar with the issues. As long as it's given in the interest of the game, people can beat on my ideas and my work all they want, and I'll do the same in return.

    Still, though, everyone works differently and I don't doubt what works best for you, Kochikens. All I know is, having been through several styles, my relatively producer-free team is the best one I've been on, and the most rewarding creatively.

  • noxaynoxay Registered User new member
    Just watched this video today and I just want to say how much I love it. I am actually a developer turned project manager for software development, but its the same thing. Some days I feel like I struggle on what my value to the team is, since I don't design, code or sell myself, but this helps put it in perspective.
    The, No one gets to talk to coders/artists/whatever except through producers is sometimes implemented because when you're trying to work and you have someone coming up to you and making nonsense requests,

    We have this rule at my work. No client, no matter how loudly you yell, gets to talk to an engineer. In fact, none of our engineer even have office lines. You need dev work scheduled? You want to bitch about something that is clearly user error? Talk to me, I set it up. They are busy :)

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