Producing 101 — What They Don’t Teach You in Film School

In film school, you learn all the technical aspects of how to manage your production. While those lessons are important, there are key items you can only learn through experience. Here are some of the lessons I have learned through my 10 years of experience in the business.

Lesson # 1 — It’s ok to be a little afraid

Fear in moderation can be the catalyst that moves you forward. It can keep you on your toes and make you strive to be better and do better. That knot you get in your stomach before every project or new job is normal. It means you want do your best in order to succeed. The moment you lose that fear of failing is the moment you lose respect for your craft.

Lesson # 2— Everyone is trying to figure it all out

Contrary to what we would like to believe, we don’t know everything and we are constantly trying to figure out what the heck we are doing. You won’t have all the answers and that is ok. This business is ever-changing; we must roll with the punches and evolve. The key is to keep learning and stay in the know:

READ — Read the trades, keep up with the latest Hollywood trends, and use resources available on the Internet.

ASK — Ask colleagues or mentors for help. Most people are willing to lend a hand or give you advice.

WATCH — Watch the work of others; it’s often inspiring and revitalizing.

INTERACT — Interact with your social and career network. It is very important and a key way to grow as an individual and further your career.

Whatever you do, soak up as much knowledge as you can. You won’t have all the answers, but by reading, asking, watching and interacting, you will have some.

Lesson # 3 — Always think several steps ahead

Murphy’s law states that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Although we cannot control every situation around us, we as producers must prepare for every scenario possible in order to act rapidly and efficiently. The excessive planning and work we put up on the forefront can make for a smooth production. As a producer, you should always be aware of what is going on within every department and provide assistance and management where needed. After all, you are the one that should know most of the answers.

Lesson # 4 — The power of team work

Production is not a one person job. In order to succeed we need the support of our team. Every single position, from your director to your PA, has an important job on your set. Create a working environment that thrives on respect for one another, positive encouragement, and collaborative effort and you will get a group of people that are excited to see your project succeed!

Lesson # 5 — Enjoy the process!

At the end of the day, our purpose is to entertain and provide the world with our interpretation of what art is. Things will get done. You will complete your script, short, series, or commercial. It is what you and your team have been working so hard for. Trust in the process no matter how many mistakes you have made. Remember that we filmmakers are resilient and know how to adapt. Take a moment to step back and observe all the greatness around you because not everyone is as lucky as we are to be working in this crazy business of ours. Truly enjoy the process!

By immersing herself in different aspects of production such as commercials,
reality and short films, Margoth Barrera has acquired a well rounded experience that has lead her to become Crown Chimp’s producer. With an affinity for both the creative and business side of the industry she has been able to succeed in many roles. In addition to producing work for big clients such as SONY, eBay, BMW Allsteel and big name artists, Margoth has worked for shows airing on majors networks like CBS, NBC, and FOX. Her longest run was on the show Big Brother for 7 years, working as a casting coordinator and production
manager. On a personal level, she believes in leadership that is based on professionalism, collaborative effort, and a positive, friendly and uplifting attitude.

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