Of the many professionals operating in the entertainment industry today, very few can lay claim to being the executive producer of a popular tv show. The rarity of that success just goes to show how competitive the industry can be and the high level of skill and other variables that go into such an endeavor. Looking to the example set by those who have attained those lofty heights can help to inform aspiring producers as to what can help them along in their own career goals. Toward that end, we’ve examined how Bennett Graebner, executive producer of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has made a name for himself in television production. Read on to gain insight into his career and what has helped him succeed.
Education and early career
Formal education is a great place to start when examining the career of Bennett Graebner as he showed, even from an early age, that he was interested in a pursuit in a creative field. To service that desire he attended Vassar College as an undergrad to study English. He would go on to graduate from the institution Phi Beta Kappa, considered the nation’s most prestigious honor society. After Vassar, the entertainment professional went on to study film at USC’s school of cinematic arts. There he not only learned many of the technical aspects of film production that would aid him later in life but also met others pursuing a career in entertainment who would go on to work in the industry.
Beyond his education, the producer spent much of his early career in a variety of different roles across numerous specialties. As one would expect, he held a range of positions related directly to production, including time spent as an intern, production assistant, and second assistant director. In addition to his work in production, he also spent time working in the camera and electrical department. At various times during those efforts, he would work as both a grip and a cinematographer, experiences that would help to inform his later ability to collaborate with a range of on-set professionals.
One of the reasons the producer’s shows have been hits with audiences is due to the manner in which they draw viewers in and make them care about the narratives contained within the content. While this may seem like a simple enough pursuit to some, those familiar with the entertainment industry understand that such a goal is easier said than done. This is, in part, owing to the fact that a compelling story requires very specific components, such as proper pacing, character arcs, and theme, in order to engage audiences. When these elements are lacking, content popularity often suffers.
These observations are often just as true in reality television as they are in any other entertainment format, a fact that the producer has shown himself very capable of understanding. Though reality shows focus on real people in real situations, it is still incumbent upon production teams to highlight the drama intrinsic to those situations and present them in a way that entertains audiences. Some of the most popular reality shows on television at present are those that understand the need for stories to be presented with coherent narrative structures with respect to plot and character.
Challenges of reality television
Of course, since reality television does focus on real people, it can actually be more difficult at times to showcase the elements that make for a quality story. In these cases, it is important for reality television to create intriguing contexts and populate them with people who are compelling in their own right in order to build situations in which drama can thrive. In these pursuits, the abilities of Bennett Graebner are on full display within the shows that he produces. After an extensive career working in his field, he has developed a well-known expertise in seeking out drama in real situations and showcasing it in a manner that keeps audiences engaged.
In pursuit of the above levels of drama, an executive producer’s work is often most difficult when creating a new show, something that the film professional has participated in on multiple occasions. For shows that already exist, there is often a proven “formula” that can be adhered to in order to give audiences the viewing experience that they’ve come to expect. Though this maintenance of stylistic consistency can be useful as it gives those on a production team a framework for their endeavors, it can also prove stifling to new ideas. In the case of a new show, however, there is essentially a blank slate upon which to work. Such was the case with the creation of The Bachelor, a recent project on which the executive producer worked.
Example of efforts
That project, which brought contestants from around the world to compete in sports and romance, was new territory for the franchise. When discussing the show, the producer highlighted just how groundbreaking the concept was for the team. “We didn’t know what the events would be, we didn’t know where they would live, we didn’t know how they would go on dates, we didn’t know how people would be eliminated or if they would be eliminated,” said Graebner. “We really didn’t know anything, so we tried to figure it out as best we could.”
That willingness to wade into new territory highlights some of what has made the film professional so successful over the years. Though any television concept is difficult to pull off, new shows are inherently riskier than those which have already proven successful. While some might have balked at the challenge posed by the project, it is telling that the producer jumped into it with the same passion to which he has approached every aspect of his long career.
Success as a producer in the entertainment industry is difficult to achieve, however, the examples set by professionals such as Bennett Graebner offer some guidance for those new to the pursuit. With a history of diverse talents and a focus on long-term goals, the executive producer regularly showcases the drive that has helped him rise to the top tier of his profession. For those seeking to emulate his success, the above information can be a powerful educational resource from which to learn.