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  • A Day in the Life: Producer

    [07.03.14]
    - Ben Bascom
  • I'm Ben Bascom (@ben_bascom) and I'm a producer at NinjaBee. I'm currently working on Nutjitsuwhich releases 5/8/14 on Xbox One. My previous capacities include programming and design. I've been a producer for several years now and I'm frequently asked what that means. What is it that I do all day? Well, it's hard to do it justice in a few words. I really feel like I should walk people through my entire workday so they can get a clear picture of what it means to be a producer. That is what prompted me to document one of my days and share it. I will preface this by highlighting that every day is different. This should, however, provide some useful insight to all the aspiring producers out there.

    8:50am

    My alarm goes off and I hit the snooze. No such luck for me. My daughter spies movement from where she's been sitting at the foot of the bed and tackles me. So, I slowly disengage from my 3 year old assailant and make my way to the shower.

    I spend a little longer in the shower this morning because I'm tired - I stayed up later than usual playing video games last night.

    With the shower out of the way, I take a look at my phone to check my emails. I'll probably only reply to any urgent emails right now but I want to get an idea of what I'll be facing once I get to the office.

    No urgent emails this morning. So, I grab a glass of OJ and quickly finish getting ready.

    9:40am

    I hop in the car and start making my way to the office. I like taking the time during my commute to think over game ideas. Today, I'm running through the details of an Xbox One concept that hasn't been fully fleshed out yet. I know the core experience is incredibly unique but it isn't enough by itself. There needs to be more peripheral gameplay, more rewards. Should I toss this idea or should I incorporate it into something else? We'll see.

    10:00am

    I arrive at work and jump straight to my emails. Nutjitsu has recently been sent off to certification on the Xbox One and Microsoft has some questions for me. We're working with the [email protected] guys. They're really helpful but this is all new still and, since we're one of the first to go to cert with this program, there are going to be plenty of unforeseen hurdles.

    I shoot off some more emails to external partners and I hike downstairs to grab some soda. One of the many cool things about working here is the free soda.


    No Diet Mt. Dew in the fridge and I forgo my standard backup Diet Dr. Pepper and Vanilla Coke Zero cocktail in favor of the Lime Diet Coke that catches my eye. As I grab my soda, I tell myself that I should drink less of it - but it tastes so good!

    10:30am

    I walk around the studio to talk with my various teams to see how things are going. We have an internal chat service that works great at facilitating communication between individuals and groups but I'm a strong believer that face-to-face communication still supersedes that.

    I also look for opportunities to praise the employees in-person for their work. I work with some great people so it's not hard to find things to compliment.

    11:30am

    It's team meeting time. We have a daily standup meeting - standup because it does a good job at discouraging people from getting relaxed and shooting the breeze. This is where I have the opportunity to get a snapshot of where everyone is at that exact moment and to formulate plans of action with all the team members present. It's also a good time to share feedback, announcements and remind people of pending deadlines.

    The team meeting is for a prototype that we are working on. It's nearing the end of the prototype phase and things are really starting to look cool. I want to share details but, unfortunately, it's still a secret at this time!

    11:45am

    We do yearly reviews with all of our employees. Steve and I are reviewing Paul now. He's one of the last that I have on my list.

    I enjoy doing these reviews. It's not always easy to have a personal conversation with someone since most employees share an office space with at least one other here. This is an opportunity to really dig down and see if there's any way to improve on the workplace experience.

    12:45pm

    It's nearly lunch time so I make sure I round up any loose ends from the work day so far. I answer the lingering questions that employees have posed me in our chat program and I run through the emails I have received since I've been away from my desk.

    1:00pm

    It's time for lunch. As a management team, we go to lunch together each day to sync on issues around the studio.

    Today, the hot topic is [email protected] It's very prominent in our minds because Nutjitsu is in certification. We talk about the pros and cons and what [email protected] could mean for the future. Naturally, we compare it to our experiences with Xbox LIVE Arcade on the Xbox 360. Both programs have their good points. Other indies who are running through the program right now have been contacting us and we've been sharing our experiences in the hopes that they can make smoother progress through the certification process.

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