Interview With TV Producer: Kirsten Kates

July 15, 2014
by Tim Rabjohns

Welcome to the second in our series of interviews with UK advertising TV producers – the people who make the commercials, sponsorship spots and marketing films happen.  Last time we posted an interview with Gemma Crawley.  This time we talk to:

Kirsten Kates is a really experienced TV producer for the advertising industry having worked at Mother, Leo Burnett and Bates Dorland.  She also spent time repping and producing for Blink and Adelphoi – and so we, think has a very well rounded sense of the UK advertising industry.  I asked her “how did you get into this job?”

“In a very strange way, I think – I started off as creative at Bates Dorland many moons ago and then started working closely with one of the producers there and liked the look of what she was doing.  I think I realised that although I am a creative person, I didn’t like the label of “being a creative” and that I liked to work as part of a team

I then left Bates and went to work for music company Adelphoi as a new business and creative producer for a while. Then some time at Blink productions as a rep, which was when I did the  APA producer’s course.  I was lucky enough to do some work experience at Mother for a week, after which Zoe Bell rang me up an offered me a job to come and PA for her.  I did that for about two to three years, but I was already producing smaller project after a year.

As a TV producer you get to make a lot of decisions about who to hire for a job, so I wanted to know what do you look for when booking directors and composers?  “this kind of question could have a very long answer, however the main things I look for are: talent, collaboration and what I call “Magic Dust”.  Talent is fairly self explanatory, by collaboration I mean the ability to collaborate with tight budgets or tight timings and people who can make a good rapport. As for Magic Dust – this is the more elusive quality that adds a certain something to a project that is greater than just one person, something that lifts a project from ‘good’ to ‘great’.

Whats you best job/worst job?  Hand on my heart, I’ve been really luck and never had any nightmare jobs.  On the plus side I’ve worked with some amazing people like  Shane Meadows and Danny Kleinman. for plane stupid – took 2 years – go from PA to producer – great achievement.  Live action & heavy post – favours from danny K & favours from MPC – enjoy giving back

Finally tell us something that most people don’t know about being a TV producer?  That its a job where you really do learn something new everyday – there is always new technology, new directors or new techniques – the list is endless.  It’s also true to say that when you manage a lot of people all the time – it is very challenging to try and please everybody…

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