Stephanie Connell – Producer – M18PA – Blog Provocation 3

Throughout the 2-week Introductory module I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with a number of accomplished artists who had previously worked in collaboration with Frantic Assembly (See Introductory module week 1&2 posts for more info) All of the guests spoke passionately about how vital collaboration was to their processes as artists and all championed the openness that a Frantic Assembly production process entails.

I was inspired by the way in which ideas are and can be shared during a collaboration.Playlists, imagery and simple references can open doors and support the work moving forward. I learnt that a shared understanding of the story and a collective awareness of the overall aims of the piece are vital in nurturing a fruitful collaboration. Many of the guests artists spoke about how important stories were to them. Irrespective of their individual role in a production, knowing how they are enriching and how they can enhance the narrative is key.

One of the most surprising things I learnt from the guest artists was just how ‘hands-on’ the role of a producer is. In my naivety, I’d always assumed that a producer predominantly, was charged with sourcing funding for a production. Stephanie Connell who has worked in a producing role for Frantic outlined just how expansive the role is. I was taken aback by the responsibilities that can fall on the shoulders of a producer. Stephanie described herself as a ‘connecter’ and stated how it was her role to keep communication flowing between all creative and financial stakeholders. As such, Stephanie highlighted that a producer can often be required to take on a pastoral role similar to that of a human resources department within a business or organisation. In addition to managing contracts, outreach, tour-bookings and negotiating fees ,the role encompasses offering support to colleagues, signposting and providing advice.

I was also surprised to learn that Stephanie felt strongly that a good producer should be involved in the research and development process and the production from the outset. Again, it was probably naivety, but I’d always assumed that a producer involved themselves at a later stage of the creative process. She said that an early involvement in the process was highly beneficial and that it meant a producer is in a position to offer higher levels of support and input. Finally, she recommended as artists we try to network and build relationships with producers.

Moving forward, I’d like to expand my network of producers. I have a friend who works as a producer for Fuel and I’d definitely like to nurture this relationship more now I have a better understanding of the role. I also think I have a better understanding of how to work collaboratively with a producer and what the role entails.

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