Pierre-Antoine Cohade, producer at Sparx*, a Virtuos Studio, talks about wearing multiple hats, the need to be versatile and the opportunity for career progression
What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?
I am a producer, but most days I wear two hats in my role. The first is acting as a line producer on our multi-department triple-A
and double-A game projects, working across teams to deliver complex projects for our clients. The second is acting as producer for our Brief & Concepts Group.
Most days start with stand-up meetings for the multi-department projects currently underway. This is followed by a check-in with each of the artists in our team individually to make sure everything is on track and identify any obstacles. The rest of the day then consists of meetings on a variety of topics, from team management, to visually checking current work, to reviewing KPIs, before wrapping up in the afternoon with calls to update our clients.
What qualifications and/or experience does someone need to get this job?
I wouldn’t say that there are any specific qualifications needed for this role, however there are certain attributes that are important to have and many of these do come with experience in similar roles, either inside or outside the games industry.
Firstly, you need to have good managerial skills, so you should have some experience managing a team. In my role you need to manage directors, team leaders, artists, other producers, and more.
Secondly, you need to have experience as a project manager, with ideally some knowledge when it comes to managing finances, legal contracts, and measuring against KPIs.
Thirdly, you need to be adaptable. The ability to adapt your processes to those changes is crucial as every client will not have the same requirements. If you’re a good problem solver who can think on their feet, you could make a good producer.
Finally, you need to have an interest in the games industry, and always be on top of new trends and the latest new technology.
If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?
I would certainly be looking for versatility when it comes to the artists on my team. We work with 18 of the 20 biggest games companies in the world, so our projects can be so different that an artist who performed well on one can find themselves struggling on another.
It’s important that my team can work with different styles (from oil painting style, to cartoony, to photorealistic) and are able to do different types of work (from environment or character concept, to set-dressing, to 3D modelling). Having a speciality is great, and all my artists have something they are particularly awesome at, but we always encourage them to diversify their skills.
What opportunities are there for career progression in your industry?
The great thing about the games industry is the variety of paths people can take as they build their careers. For me as a producer, there is a clear progression path to more senior production roles, such as leadingup to production director.
For my team of artists initial progression goes from junior artist to senior artist roles. At a big global studio like ours, those that truly excel at team management might well progress to team leader, and in some cases to art director.