By Mellini Kantayya
In December, New York Women in Film & Television presented “Producer Boot Camp for Digital,” hosted by RED Digital and led by freelance producer Julie Gomez. Julie’s vast experience includes running the Upright Citizens Brigade’s production company Don’t Think Productions, as well as producing Thank you Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon, which premiered at SXSW in 2016.
In true boot camp fashion, Julie took participants through the steps of a digital project from concept to in-the-can, sharing pragmatic and unexpected gems on the art of producing along the way. Among them were:
- Take a holistic approach to producing. Always be mindful of being a creative and a leader—a steward of the project and your team.
- Key in implementing the above, is the “Liz Lerman Critical Response Process”—a technique for getting and giving useful feedback on creative processes and artistic works-in-progress.
- Surround yourself with genius. Having a great team elevates you and the project.
- And since you’ve surrounded yourself with geniuses—listen to them. “Don’t block flow.” Often not-so-great ideas and way-out-of-budget ideas pave the path to creative and useful solutions. And always deliver feedback respectfully (see #2).
- Treating your team well includes feeding them well—healthy meals with a comfortable place to sit, enjoy, and recharge. This gesture is not only one of respect, but increases productivity and prevents a junk-food-sugar-crash halfway through your workday.
- Don’t make ballpark guesses when it comes to budgeting a job for a client. Be clear about what the client wants and then offer options at varying budgets.
- Avoid using with animals when on a tight budget, especially cats because…cats.
- Think “post” in “pre.” Involving post-production from the start can keep you on budget and will avoid potential disasters.
- Imagine the worst—what happens if it rains? If someone is late? If the location is locked? Be prepared for anything.
- Lastly, Julie recommended the following books: Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film by Paula Landry; Production Management 101 by Deborah Patz; Film Budgeting by Ralph S. Singleton; In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch; and Making Movies by Sydney Lumet.
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