Electronic press kits, or EPKs, are commissioned by film and television production companies for use in publicity material sent to members of the media, as DVD extras, and in promotional packages. The footage included in the EPK usually consists of behind-the-scenes shots and “making of” videos, as well as interviews with the cast and crew. To produce this content, the publicity department of the studio hires a third-party production company or freelance crew, which consists of a unit videographer, sound mixer, and EPK producer.
The EPK producer hires the crew that will execute all EPK production, and is the point person between his or her crew and the unit publicist on set of the film or television show. It is the producer’s responsibility to collaborate with the unit publicist to create the shooting schedule for EPK material, arrange for on-camera interviews, and approve access to the set during regular filming. In many cases, the producer also takes on the role of a director, instructing the videographer and sound mixer in how to capture a particular segment and formulating questions for the interviewer. He or she will also be chiefly responsible for the EPK crew’s budget and expenditures, arranging transportation, and booking accommodations.
At the conclusion of each shooting day, the EPK producer will hold a review session with the crew and unit publicist to watch dailies and will make detailed notes regarding concerns for future editing, interviews to be re-shot, and other creative decisions. When production wraps, the producer will collaborate with an editor to take a first pass at cutting together the necessary segments. That version is sent to the studio’s publicity department for review, where additional revisions may be ordered, or the studio may elect to have its own editors complete the process. To close out the contract, the EPK producer will deliver an invoice to the studio, and upon receiving final payment, will forward payment to the EPK crew and reconcile invoices with vendors for rental equipment.
Skills & Education
A college degree in film and television production, broadcast journalism, or communications is recommended for a career as an EPK producer. This individual must have a thorough knowledge of the production process, video and audio equipment, and the inner workings of production publicity. Additional proficiency in non-linear editing and as a camera operator is also beneficial. It is necessary to be capable of creating and tracking a budget and estimating production costs, taking into account numerous variables; on-the-ground knowledge as simple as how much it costs to rent a Panasonic HD camera package in Louisiana is immensely beneficial.
What to Expect
Veteran EPK producers have several years of experience in some capacity of film and television production, and can work full-time for an EPK production boutique or as an independent freelancer. Obviously, permanent employment offers greater stability, but those who are adept at networking and are capable of effectively selling themselves often enjoy the freedom of being self-employed. There are also a number of successful producers who have opened their own shops to cater to the film and television industry. If you are certain EPK production is where you want to be, then seek out entry-level positions within a company specializing in that area. Most are located in Los Angeles and New York. Otherwise, moving your way up on set or in the publicity department of a studio will garner the necessary experience and opportunity to make professional connections.
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