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Film Producer

Laura Tyler

Tell us about your work -- what do you do? I am a Writer and Producer at a small, independent film and video production company. I write, produce and direct educational videos for high school and college age students. What skills are needed? If you're a creative thinker with strong organizational skills, you're in good shape. Communication skills are essential (writing, telephone skills, etc.). Part of the job is creative and part of it is tactical. It's not enough just to come up with a good idea. You need to be able to execute your ideas as well. This can mean managing multiple projects (and/or deadlines) over long periods of time. The last big project I worked on took over a year to complete. How did you get started in your career? One of the first things I did was take out an ad in the Production Resources Guide that represents my region. This helped me nail a few freelance gigs as a Production Assistant and gave me the chance to see what professional video production was all about. You won't find film or video jobs listed in the classified sections of your local paper. It's important to get involved in the community, connect with as many people as you can, find out who's doing projects and how to get involved. One of my biggest opportunities came from someone I met at Community Access TV . Other opportunities came from internships. Do not underestimate the power of a good internship! I used to have such an attitude about working for free, and didn't realize how important the contacts I was making could be. The contacts you can make during a carefully chosen internship are priceless. Just be sure to choose a business or organization that truly interests you. What experience do you need to get this job? When you're first starting out, brains, talent and commitment are more important than experience. This is the kind of job where you learn on the job. An entry-level position like an internship or assistant can quickly turn into something more if you're in the right place at the right time. I am constantly learning more about the technical aspects of production and discovering new ways of doing things. Describe your typical workday: A typical workday varies depending on what phase of production a project is in. During the pre-production and planning phases, I'm usually in the office at my desk writing, making phone calls and working to coordinate shoot days. Shoot days are fun and intense. They often take place out in the field or in a studio. My favorite shoots are the small ones when it's just me, a shooter and maybe a sound person. I love doing interviews and shooting events outside the studio. Post-production is all about logging tapes, staying organized, writing scripts and working with editors. I love post-production! For me, it's the most exciting, creative part of the process. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The hardest part of film and video making is the sheer intensity of it. Pre-production takes a high attention to detail and can be stressful. Shoot days are long and physically demanding (12 hour days are not uncommon). Post-production is like a marathon. It goes on and on and on and requires intense concentration over long periods of time (again, 12 hour days are not uncommon). This is the kind of job that can easily take over your life. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? I love creative magic. I love interacting with all kinds of people and learning about new topics. I love playing with sound and image and being surprised by how things fit together in unexpected ways. Film and video making gives me the opportunity to build rewarding relationships within my community. I love to watch things grow. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Get out there and meet people and find out what videomaking is all about! This field is less glamorous and harder work than you might think. If you're smart, love films, love to write, and have the ability to see the big picture AND the details, this might be a good job for you!