Somebody: "So what do you want to do in Taiwan?"
Me: "Be a drama producer."
Somebody: "What's that???"
There's two paths you can take when it comes to finding a job in (drama) production in Taiwan: proposal and execution. The proposal path is usually a more office/admin type of job where you're writing and/or evaluating proposals for potential dramas. Usually TV station and drama production company employees hold this type of position. The working hours are more regular and it is more of an office job.
The other type is the execution part where you're on the set and making the actual drama. Most people in this role are freelance and take on projects as they choose. Because drama budgets are so tight, the production team is usually managed pretty tightly, with anywhere from 2 to 5 people, doing all of the following and more random tasks:
- Location scouting
- Buying supplies
- Creating schedules
- Hiring the filming crew
- Shooting logistics
- Managing the set
At a filming location with stuff we have to carry around (and move) everyday.
Plus you're always the first on the set and last to leave and the first team to join the project and last to leave. The tasks on a basic level are not difficult and are actually quite menial. The challenge is in managing the large number of menial tasks and handling unexpected situations that come your way. In Taiwanese there's a term, "mei mei ga ga" which literally translates as "corners and edges", which refers to the tiny little details that you should pay attention to, for example someone being vegetarian. The production team is all about taking care of everyone's "mei mei ga ga" to ensure smooth filming. Though it's definitely the toughest team to be on, you get to make decisions that significantly and directly impact the drama which is very cool.
Hope this sheds a little more light on what drama production is. Curious about anything else? Let me know in the comments!