Creators: Post Producer Kristin Riccio
Kristin is a Philadelphia-based producer who has been at Alkemy X for 6 years supporting our post production clients.
AX: What does your day-to-day look like as a Post Producer?
KR: A post producer is always working on multiple projects in various stages. When I am beginning a new project, I have creative kick-off calls with the clients, make estimates, post schedules, and track down all the assets needed to get the project and team ready to go. After editing begins, I manage contact with the client and the team, set up voiceover and color sessions, and constantly review all edits for quality control. When I finally get approval on a video, I assist in deliveries to TV stations or for digital web. I am constantly facilitating the process of all steps of post-production and try to make sure everything stays on budget.
I can usually get a feel for how busy my day will be; however, it can change on a whim with new project requests or last-minute client creative blow-ups. All the producers are in constant contact with each other every day to barter for time and resources. I’m lucky to be on a team with great producers who understand each other and try to make the best out of every situation to make our jobs easier.
AX: What do you believe to be the most important skills to have in order to be a successful Post Producer?
KR: I believe the most important skills to be successful are organization, initiative, instincts, and quality assurance. If you aren’t organized, then your workflow won’t be as efficient for you or your team. You also need to have your project structured correctly otherwise there will be unnecessary headaches down the road when there are creative revisions.
Initiative is imperative for good client relations. You want to make the clients feel important with rapid response times, going that extra mile to accommodate any need, and knowing how to adapt to solve problems that arise.
When you work with a client for a while, you develop an instinct to know their wants and expectations. An editor can go in a direction you might feel in your gut is off. You may see a shot needing more pop of a certain color or hear a music track and know the client will ask for another option. It’s incredibly helpful to your team to have a sense to ward off future changes.
As a producer, you need to be a second set of eyes on the creative process—not only to make sure you are hitting every detail of the client’s ask but also to make sure every revision is accounted for to complete your project and not have to go back into the edit.
AX: How did you get into the world of post production?
KR: In college, I was an editor on a lot of projects and thought that was going to be my career trajectory. It wasn’t until I was hired by the video production company that I had interned for in college that I became an assistant producer. I was in charge of scheduling, branding and quality control of content for 16 channels on Comcast On Demand. Even though it was a different job than I originally intended, I enjoyed working on a range of programming across genres, and realized just how much of a nerd I was for quality control.
I tried my hand at pre-production producing, but that only put into perspective that I enjoyed post better than production. I felt with post there was a payoff. We put all the ‘puzzle pieces’ together to create the end product. That is and always will be the greatest feeling.
AX: What’s an accomplishment or project that you are the proudest of?
KR: Working and finishing a political cycle is always a thrill. Especially if I get a chance to work on a campaign for a candidate I personally believe in and want to win. And if they do end up winning, I can get a feeling that I played a small part in their success.
On one occasion a few years back, we needed to record a program airing live on a specific day and the clients were going to be in the room writing spots as the event was happening. This whole process took a lot of planning and setup. Brad and the machine room created a behind-the-scenes workflow with live coordinated recordings. When we needed to use a certain part of the program, we quickly prepared the footage for Bryan to edit and Bob to mix. We ended up cutting three spots that day. It was one of the most nerve-wracking, yet exciting, experiences since if one thing went wrong, we couldn’t work. We didn’t have any second chances, but everything was set up so smoothly that it went off without a hitch.
AX: How has your job changed over time?
KR: I started as a post producer in 2006—obviously technology is incredibly different now. Now there are better cameras that can capture beautiful details, faster workflows, and amazing opportunities to enhance your product with graphics and VFX.
When I started working, the technology at the time was beta and digibeta tapes. After shoots, I had to digitize footage in real-time in order to have it ready for the editor. We had huge tape libraries and a whole machine room filled with tape decks running all hours of the day. My arms were in the best shape of my life from carrying boxes of tapes around and between buildings. I was working in tape-to-tape editing bays. I had to hit FedEx deadlines otherwise the video was not going to air. However, with this old process, there was a more definitive stop to my day. As technology has progressed and especially now with remote work, there is a new sense of perpetual availability.
AX: What do you wish other people knew about your job?
KR: I think people underestimate the amount of work that goes into post producing. We put a tremendous amount of effort into the projects we work on. We deal with everything from soup to nuts not only on Alkemy X’s side, but also the client’s side. We deal with real-time changes and issues on both ends, while we are focused on multiple projects simultaneously.
An editor or assistant might need something right away, but we are on another client call or in a VO session. We juggle as much as possible, while trying to stay on top of new requests and solve problems as soon as possible in order to prevent delays. And our work is not just during working hours—we deal with late night and weekend requests to make sure our projects stay on course.
AX: What has helped you the most over your career?
KR: What has helped me the most are the people I work with. I’m someone who always asks questions—some may think to an annoying extent. However, for me to do an efficient job I need to know what the team is capable of and trust the abilities of the people I work with closely. We have an amazing team here. Our innovative editors bring their own style and interpretation to an edit. Our amazing audio team elevates projects with creative sound design and can restore the worst audio recordings. Janet can work wonders to bring footage to life and fix problem areas on screen. Our machine room knows every kind of workflow and can effectively handle all client needs for prep and delivery.
I ask questions not only to keep projects on course, but because I need to know what the best option for a project is and what we as a team can bring to the table to elevate our work.
AX: What’s a future goal you have for yourself, career related or otherwise?
KR: My career goal is to be able to work on as many different types of projects as possible. I always want to learn the latest on our ever changing workflows.
My self-goal is trying to balance work and personal life better. I’m happy it’s moving in a more positive, healthy direction, but it’s still a work in progress.
AX: What’s the biggest challenge you have encountered as a post producer?
KR: I’ve had projects get stuck in perpetual creative changes with no end in sight and projects that had intensive workflows with multiple edit rooms working simultaneously. Logistically, those were tough, yet I think the biggest challenge was when the pandemic hit. There was a physical adjustment of not working face to face with the team. We had to use new technology to work from home. It was a learning curve when, right as the pandemic started, I helped with post for episodes of the television show ‘Dragnificent’. The team was scattered, with some working on the network and some off. Hitting deadlines with massive file sharing while relying on our own home internet speeds was difficult. If there were revisions, it pushed the schedule even more.
Initially, the clients didn’t know what the future held and were delaying projects. 2020 also happened to be a significant political year. Eventually, multiple clients resumed work at the same time. We had to catch up for lost time and work intensive schedules with long days and weekends.
AX: When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?
KR: I grew up in a house that always played music. It’s been a big influence on my life, even though I can’t play an instrument. I maintain a collection of over 1000 vinyl records, and I enjoy going to concerts around the Philly area.
I’ve lived in Philly for over 20 years, and I am always finding new things to discover.
Starting a few years ago, my awesome wife Lauren and I chose new cities to travel to together. We’ve planned a trip to Chicago for this year so far and are trying to decide on another destination to visit later in 2023. You can always catch us trying as many restaurants in the city as we can.