What are you most proud of?

Lately I have been taking a lot of meetings and it feels like during each one someone says to me, “send me links to content you produced that you are proud of.” I feel like that is sort of stupid and here is why. Even if creatively I have not been on board with everything I have produced, I am certainly still proud of the piece or my involvement in it. Sometimes your original idea gets watered down by a brand or perhaps you had to take something out in post for time.  As a producer, there isn’t anything I have created that I am simply hands down not proud of on some level so to ask me to send me something I am proud of is not really what I should be sending.  Maybe ask me, “what is a piece you produced that is completely your vision; what is something you produced that you enjoyed making and why or even send me a link of some of your latest work.”  As a producer, if you are not proud of the work you are doing, then what are you doing exactly?

This dove tails onto another topic of discussion I wanted to bring up on this blog… what does a producer do anyway? Here is the thing I have worked many years as a producer wearing about a million hats because that is what we as producers do whether in TV, film or digital.  We are idea crafters, deal makers, wranglers, thought provokers, schedulers, budgeters, managers, contract negotiators… we shoot, we write, we edit,  we craft story, we find great places to eat and drink (connoisseurs of food and drink if you will).  We interview, we connect, we drive long distances to find the best place to shoot, we find great deals, we make great deals, we make not so great deals just to get something we believe in seen, we hustle and we hustle and we hustle every single day.

Yesterday I shot a spot with a brand. I brought in my crew, and I gave my feedback on what I thought the brand would need in order to get what they wanted for the piece they ultimately decided to create in house.  I have been working for months to try and work with this brand and I brought in people that I have worked with for years, who I trust would deliver a great product. I directed the shoot, crafting out the best shots with my DP based on the vision the brand had. The brand ultimately did some of the heavy lifting I would normally do and it showed. Brands are not producers.  They are marketers, they are financiers and have an idea of what they want. Sometimes they have people internally to execute and sometimes they do not, most of the time they have an agency of record. I was hoping to be the person to help execute the brand’s vision, but ultimately they brought me on to shoot content for a day, content they decided to craft internally with their own post-production team.  I was a little disappointed as my role began to shrink and shrink, but was happy for the work. Then at the end of the shoot, the brand team thanked me for my work and asked if they could get my crew’s information.  My heart sank. After months of tirelessly contacting the brand for an opportunity to work on what I thought could be an amazing and smart campaign, to then work and develop on a one off video concept to then at the very end be told nice job we want to rip off your team, I was disappointed.  Producers put the pieces in place, they execute soup to nuts and make sure that everything that could go wrong… doesn’t.  It is no easy task… sometimes brands have great teams in place and sometimes that don’t. So to all brands think about the stories you want to tell and who you have in place to execute. Find the right people, the right team to tell the right stories and don’t ask us as producers if you can steal the team we worked hard to put together=).

So what does all of this have in common… what am I most proud of? I am most proud of not backing down, telling good stories and having the balls to fight hard whether it is with brands, other producers or people in the entertainment industry in general…I work hard not to get screwed, and to be compensated fairly for my work… what is the one thing I am most proud of as a producer, what’s my proudest work… staying in it and moving forward in my career… I think that is what all of us as producers should be most proud of!


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