Fake it ’til you make it… as a TV promo producer

Ed HolmesIn a feature that first appeared in Encore, Ten’s Ed Holmes tells us how to make good promos.

What does a promo producer do?

A promo producer is responsible for promoting television shows on air with the aim of enticing viewers to watch programs. In 30 seconds, you try and tell a story which excites, entices and intrigues a viewer to sample or try a show. A promo positions a TV show in an audience’s mind. Day-to-day you are conceptualising ideas for television shows. You write, edit and produce spots which promote programs. You are also reinforcing the brand of a network, helping to increase ratings and ultimately profits.

What skills do you need to be good at the job?

Having the ability to conceptualise is a really big one, followed very closely by having the ability to write. You need to be a really good editor and have strong attention to detail.

Who are the people you work closest with?

As a promo producer you work extremely closely with the creative director, as well as the programming and publicity departments, and also graphic designers.

Sometimes, when you do high level shoots, you work with producers, DOPs and general production crew.

Is there any lingo we need to know to do the job?

We try to avoid clichés. We try and avoid the “You won’t believe… You’ve never seen…” But if you can come up with new clichés no-one has heard before, then that’s the lingo you need. Your writing style needs to be punchy, direct, to the point and simple. Most new producers overwrite everything and they can’t condense their idea into a simple thought.

What does a typical day on the job entail?

Watching a lot of TV. Researching the hell out of what you’re doing. Brainstorming, writing, editing, briefing designers, and then following through the production – directing voiceover sessions and supervising the final mixes and ultimately delivering the finished spot.

What makes a good promo?

It must have a unique thought and approach. A clever promo makes someone want to watch a particular show. It should have a unique selling point and provoke an emotional reaction and a connection with the viewer.

What’s the best part of the job?

The fun part of the job is being creative and letting your mind play with all the elements required to bring a good promo together.

A promo producer is a jack of all trades: a writer, editor, producer, director. You get to see your work through the whole process, and in a quick turnaround. It’s creatively gratifying as the entire piece is your concept and work. The job is ideal for someone with a short attention span.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Doing something original to change audience behavior.

How do you become a promo producer?

With passion and determination. There are courses you can do, but being able to choose moments and shots is a skill – some people just don’t see them. It also helps if you love the medium you work in, and watch a lot of TV.

Ed Holmes is a promotions manager for Network Ten.

Issue 21This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.