AMS Pictures Social Engagement Manager Brett Reisman joined her outside in AMS Pictures’ Japanese Zen Garden to interview her about her presentation.
What is an interactive producer?
“The responsibilities of an interactive producer are very aligned with those of a video producer, with creative strategy and project management being the key responsibilities. Ultimately, as a producer it’s your job to ensure that the project is on-time, within budget and meets your client’s expectations. I think the major difference between an interactive producer and other producers is the level of technical strategy that you are responsible for.”
What makes the best type of interactive producers?
“The best types of producers are the ones who have the ability to jump into any role on the team. And those roles vary tremendously, from the right-brained designer to the left-brained programmer, and then get in there and do testing, wireframes, and debugging. So it’s generally expected that a producer has, at least to some level, some expertise in all of these areas. If they don’t, then they better have a large enough team where there’s a technical lead that they can rely on. But again, that’s only on large teams, and on smaller teams the producer often needs to be able to jump in.”
What were the process and your role as producer in creating interactive kiosks for the Texas Education Agency?
“It usually doesn’t start with something like ‘I need a flash-based interactive touch screen kiosk.’ Instead, it’s ‘I have this problem and this need, and how can you solve this business challenge?’ The problem here was they wanted a communication tool that was localized in the schools, so students could physically engage with the content and have an interactive experience.
My job was to figure out what platform, what environment, and how to manage future revisions. The second challenge was a tight budget and short schedule. Ultimately, I conceived of a touchscreen kiosk system that elegantly tied together a user interface with a pre-built content management system. All of those decisions had to be made at the start, and with help from the Art Department to design the splash page, we got it knocked out in a week!”
Lately you’ve been working with a big technology company. Can you talk a little bit about the technical challenges and producer challenges that you’ve had to overcome to create some of the interactive pieces you’ve done for them.
“They wanted people to be able to touch, feel and play with their content in a 3D environment at an upcoming trade show. Again, there was a very quick-to-market timeline, and we chose a technology that would meet these requirements but would always necessitate rigid hardware configurations. After experiencing positive feedback following the rollout, they came back to us and said ‘OK, now we want to spread this interface across all platforms, including web, mobile, and tablets.’
Since the content requirements had already been defined (videos, thumbnails, content architecture), the challenge was to figure out how to devise a system that made the content portable across multiple platforms – with one data source – because they wanted to update the content themselves. That’s quite a challenge, attaining cross-platform compatibility from one data source.
How does the role of an interactive producer change when you work in a video production agency?
“Being an interactive producer in a video production agency, I tend to be more of the producer at the Team Level role, and an account executive communicates directly to the client. I often have to do the brainstorming and development of the technological approach for our interactive projects. I do of course participate in those initial meetings, but as we move along the project timeline, I pass the status update to the account exec and they serve as liaison to the client.
That’s not necessarily typical – usually producers have enough time to interface with the client. But I’ve got my head in the ‘weeds’ designing or programming. Different agencies do it differently, depending on resources. In our environment, I tend to be project manager of the development team. Once I get the client’s objectives up front, I create the budget and provide technical expertise for the creative proposal. “