Sex, Drugs, and Rock’n’Roll
are not things you will read about in the post below
Hi! My name is Yuliya, and I’ve been a producer for exactly 1 year. It’s been a road full of weird twists and turns, but it led me to a magical place where I was able to combine my passions, and mold them into a beautiful career — a producer.
At the moment I work at MadGlory where I have countless opportunities to learn new things everyday! That’s the best part of what MadGlory offers. It’s been a year of many firsts, new emotions, valuable lessons, and acquiring a group of new witty friends. I’ve been reminiscing a lot about the last 365 days spent in the company of great and smart people, and a lot of those days I’ve been thinking how to explain what I do, and how I got here.
pro·duc·er /prəˈd(y)o͞osər/ a person or thing that makes or causes something.
Nowadays, many of us are self-taught. We find new, non-traditional ways of acquiring new skills and learning new concepts. Many engineers, designers, content producers, and many other professionals come from backgrounds not necessarily related to fields they are striving to break into. Be honest, how many of you reading this found ways to learn new things through doing totally unrelated things to what you did, or do currently?
So, let’s rewind back to me introducing myself as a producer. Imagine me trying to explain to people what I do. 85% will start listening, 15% simply will not care. And 100% will start thinking “hmmm, I hear a slight accent, I wonder if I should ask where she is from next.” Regardless of what I am doing right now, I ticked off the list of required skills when I got myself into photography.
Me /mē/ a person that designs web-properties & software, and manages projects (here is your “makes or causes something”)
Those of you who know me well — act surprised — and those of you who don’t, here is a twist: I’ve been shooting live music photography for the last 4 years. Why is it relevant to what I do now?
Photography is how I’ve learned a lot about the real-world business, and how to apply those skills to what I do in my current position as a producer. Here is a tiny glance into a few lessons live music photography taught me.
Lessons taught at the University of Life
Live music industry in general is 95 % preparation and 5% action. For example, an average performance lasts about 1.5 hours, but it takes a whole day to set it all up, and for thousands of pieces to fall into place, for countless emails to reach many parties involved, for many meetings to be coordinated, for agreements to be agreed upon and to be signed… well, at this point you should’ve gotten the point :)
Being a professional photographer requires agility and flexibility. Negotiating access to the live performance is tricky and scheduling a perfect time might be even more so.
Lesson 1: become a detailed-oriented, hyper-focused, and always searching for creative solutions project manager, because every shoot, no matter how big or how small, is an important project.
According to Google:
Job /jäb/ a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid
Based on this definition, this is a definition of a life music photographer’s job designed based on the example above:
A job as a live music photographer IS a task or piece of work, because one gets paid in one way or another.
Lesson 2: If being a musician is a job, then being a live music photographer is a job too. A fun one, even when it gets rather tough. However, treat it with respect, treat people in the music pit with respect, and focus as much energy on the technical and tactical side of it, as you might do on having “fun” at an actual live show.
Learning more about design reminded me how photography taught me to be self-aware, when working with other creatives, editing, sharing, and producing content, shared with people, who expect only the best.
A few years into having “fun” (aka learning how not to be the most scared and shy photographer the world had ever known) I realized how much I’ve learned about things like composition, color, design elements that make images stand out. Photography teaches skills in utilizing software and creative thinking, decision-making, and ability to understand audiences’ needs.
Lesson 3: PM: Problem-solving skills are developed only when you put yourself outside of your comfort zone, and willing to go the extra mile to make your final product stand out among the competitors.
I hope I managed to explain how photography helped me in becoming a producer. I can draw many parallels between the two fields and skills. Besides the examples I’ve listed already, photography taught me contract writing, negotiation, client relations management, budget planning, communication design (that is strategic business thinking, using market research, creativity, and problem-solving), visual communication, relationship building. And most importantly, as a producer I always keep in mind that
Often communication with humans in a world of computers in such a competitive environment gets lost. It is a true success to learn how leverage human relationship to make meaningful and trusting connections
This kind of skill can be learned in any field, and in any profession; you just have to know how to apply it to get you where you want to be.
*I shared my story. Now, I’m super curious to know where you started your journey, and where you hope to take the knowledge you’ve gained. Let’s chat; and, maybe we can find even more similarities between our professional fields, and things we do outside of jobs.