Entertainment Jobs Q&A – What is a Preditor?

entertainment jobs qa what is a preditor

A Preditor in TV is a little different from the Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic, Predator. (But I wanted an excuse to use this picture)

The grand return of our Entertainment Jobs Q&A column – I’ve been slacking a bit over the holidays, thank you very much – is a question right up my alley regarding my beloved TV industry.

If you have a question you’d like is to answer for an upcoming version of the Entertainment Jobs Q & A just add it to the comments below and we’ll add it to an upcoming column.

Now to the question….which will help explain why Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the picture to your left.

The Q:

I saw a job posting the other day on your site for a Preditor at a TV network – can you explain what that is (other than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie)?

Ryan M. San Mateo, California

The A:

First off – let’s get one thing straight Ryan, Predator is not just an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie….it is the BEST Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ever.

As a huge Rocky fan you had me with Carl Weathers as part of the cast, but then you mix in an alien killing machine, Jesse “The Body” Ventura and some of the greatest dialogue in action movie history – I just can’t take it! My TV remote physically forces me to stop on that movie whenever it comes on.

But, I’m getting off track….What is a Preditor in the TV industry?

entertainment careers in television

In the new world of television production there are more stations, networks and potential employers than ever before, but at the same time many are downsizing and/or consolidating staff.

Sounds like a contradiction, right? Let’s make sense of this.

There is big money in advertising fees for the TV industry, especially in live events like sports and award shows, which has prompted a golden era of the TV industry where new networks seem to pop up on the dial monthly.

The problem is many networks have been drastically affected by two factors:  the internet and the DVR.

entertainment jobs qa preditor

A field producer who can also edit their own material, like Casi Smith, are worth their weight in gold to TV networks

The DVR allows viewers to push straight through commercials, lessening their impact and therefore the amount networks can charge to advertisers. And the interwebs delivers news to the audience faster than CNN can which negatively affects ratings and in turn impacts revenue generation since advertisers are charged based on ratings.

Many of the former stalwarts on the dial are struggling to carve out a revenue model that can sustain their enormous staffs and resources. Maintaining these precious ratings in a faster (re: internet based) news cycle and commanding top dollar from advertisers who are getting less impact, is harder than ever on traditional networks.

With those factors in mind, while the number of networks maybe growing, there is still budgetary pressure to get more results out of less people.

This is a long way of saying – instead of hiring a Producer and an Editor…you guessed it, TV networks hire a Preditor.

Creative, right?

What Is the Role?

Preditor is generally a term that refers to producers/editors that work in the field with a reporter on scene.

Their role is extremely valuable to a news, sports or entertainment organization because Preditors can work with a camera operator and reporter to turn a story quickly on scene. Editing programs like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro are powerful and mobile, so a talented Preditor can help gather, design and create a final version of a story without having to lose time returning to the station to work with an in-house editor.

Outside of a breaking news environment, Preditors also work on long-form feature stories. The ability of a Preditor to create a story from beginning to end is a more efficient process and the final results can often be superior.

Take this for example: A producer pitches a story idea on a blind runner who is training for the upcoming Olympic Trials (before anyone Google’s it, I’m making it up). The News Director gives the green light and a reporter is assigned.

The concept is the vision of the Field Producer, who works with the reporter and camera op to gather the story in the best manner possible. Even though time might not be an issue, it can still be more effective for the producer to sit in an edit bay and craft the final piece themselves, rather than trying to convey their vision to a features editor.

entertainment careers in television

Bottom Line

I’ve stressed this multiple times – the more you can do in the TV industry the more valuable you are to your employers.

Take the concept of Preditor and add in the ability to work a camera, now you’ve got a Precamitor and that is a beast you don’t want to mess with. Or a Reproditor, which is either a fire-breathing three headed dragon or a reporter who can produce and edit.

Learn more than one skill – you’ll get a cool title and quite possibly more respect from your peers and superiors.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

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