Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chris Williams & the role of the producer

As a producer, Chris Williams takes control of projects from an early stage and is responsible for guiding them towards a finished product. For me, the role of a producer, along with that of the director, has always been something of mystery. This artist talk did something to at least define the role of producer working for radio.

Firstly, Chris sources the material for the end product. This may include Radio Drama, Poetry/Spoken word for radio, Documentaries (presumably) or anything you can image on radio. So in the case of a radio drama, he solicits a script and helps to develop it if need be. Then he finds actors/performers, rehearses it with them and finally records piece in raw form with an engineer. From this point he begins "post production" and sequences the piece together, making sure that any problems of structure are resolved and also giving mind to where and how music will effect the piece.

One thing that become apparent in this process is the variability of the actually process. For example, as Williams freely points out he used to receive the music last and fit it too the script. However, that is open to change and now he makes sure that the composer (of the score) and the writer (of the script) can have some dialogue between each other. If Chris was an independent producer, then he would most likely be responsible for finding someone to sell the finished work to, as that is where he would make his profit. As Chris works for the ABC, finding the end buyer is not so much of a problem.

My initial response to Chris's work was one of shock, I wasn't aware that the ABC commissioned such abstract works! Whether or not this is always the case for Chris I don't know but it's good to see that it exists. One work was a spoken word piece about the events September 11, 2001, which he did with local act The New Pollutants (pictured above).


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