Day in the Life: Nikki Gusse, Line Producer
Mar 28, 2017
It’s easy to forget the amount of work – both in front of and behind the camera – that goes into producing videos for our clients. From the accounts team determining the client’s “ask” to the creative team pitching ideas, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into creating each unique video.
Nikki Gusse, line producer at Centerline, is responsible for that behind the scenes magic – and she got an early start in the world of production.
“I’ve actually been working in production since 5th grade,” laughs Gusse. “I started on the broadcast and news side of things – I did morning shows in elementary school, and continued that all the way through school. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was News Director. I did some things in front of the camera, like reporting, but I really enjoyed making all the wheels turn. All the hard work that goes into the behind the scenes of things, that was just more rewarding to me.”
After high school, Gusse channeled her passion for film and her love for production into a major.
“I went to Peace College, thinking I wanted to pursue a career in broadcast news, and pursued a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. While there, I did some radio production before I started getting more into the creative side of communications, like editing, graphic design and video production.”
Gusse’s first internship helped her dip her toes into the world of professional video production.
“I ended up securing an internship my junior year with SAS, in their new media and video development department. I worked as an intern on the production and video side, and did a lot of on-set, production assistant type work. For my final internship project, I produced a company-wide training video for their housekeeping department.”
Still unsure of her desired career path, Gusse found another, much different internship opportunity.
“I decided to do a second internship, because I wasn’t quite convinced whether or not I wanted to do news, or if I wanted to move towards advertising or corporate video production. I started an internship with Time Warner Cable News, and I worked in their sports and special projects division,” said Gusse. “I began associate producing and technical directing there, and it helped me decide that I didn’t want to go into news after all but wanted to work on more creative content.”
Fresh out of college, Gusse found an unexpected fit in Centerline’s Accounts department.
“I was looking for jobs, trying to find something in production and ended up stumbling upon Centerline. I started in project management, always with the goal in mind of moving into a more production-focused role,” said Gusse. “I started as a project coordinator, and was working on the Lowe’s account, which was the heaviest production account at the time. It was an ideal fit – they were looking for someone interested, or at least enthusiastic, about production – and my background made it a perfect fit.”
From there, Gusse worked her way from project coordinator to line producer.
“I made my background in production known to all my managers – everyone knew that I wanted to do production,” laughs Gusse. “From there, I constantly pursued the production opportunities that were available. (Senior Line Producer) Alisha Hawkins really helped me learn – she advocated for me, and provided a lot of mentorship. I started at just the right time to be a part of this movement that was happening to make production an official department here at Centerline.”
Obviously, the time Gusse spends in the Centerline office is vastly different than her time on set.
“The time I spend in the office is really spent on pre-production planning. It’s a lot of phone calls, lots of running in and out of meetings with both creative and accounts teams to better understand content and needs for production,” said Gusse. “We also work heavily in the studio when we’re not on set – working with the equipment, making sure it’s organized. It’s definitely a ‘multiple hats’ kind of thing for the days I’m in the office versus the days I’m on set.”
What is it about the production that hooked Gusse all the way back in 5th grade and keeps her interested today?
“I love the thrill – it’s kind of a weird high,” she laughs. “You’re not sitting at a desk, staring at a computer. You’re being creative, you’re working and collaborating with people. I’m a people-person, so I really enjoy getting to work with people, and meeting new people. Everyone has a different vision, and I think the rewarding part of production is getting to see all the moving parts, and being a part of the end result – seeing everything come together, seeing the vision become a whole.”
You could definitely say that Gusse had a vision for her role at Centerline, and through hard work made that vision a reality. It’s no surprise that her advice for someone interested in getting their start in production relates back to having a strong focus.
“I think that ambition and willingness to learn play the biggest part in following and realizing your dreams,” said Gusse. “If you are interested in something, those two things can really motivate you. Keep an open mind, and be open to opportunities to learn and grow in the area that you’re passionate about. Be flexible to your environment, and the people you work with – production is a very collaborative effort, and it’s all about working with others and growing by learning.”
I followed Gusse around on a video shoot in downtown Raleigh, recording her time on set. It was a blur. Pictures from the video shoot have been included, along with a rough timeline of Gusse’s day. Check it out:
Interested in any of our open positions? We’re looking for Senior Project Managers, Creative Directors, Motion Graphics Designers and Senior Video Editors. Check out the Careers page for more information, or reach out with questions on Twitter – we’re @Centerline.
As always, check out our other “Day in the Life” profiles here.