The Many Roles of Producers, as Told by JESS3

Today we wanted to talk about production and what that can mean. The biggest challenge here is that the term “producer” is a bit of a catch-all.  We could bore you with the various exploits that our team wrestles with everyday. But, this would mostly involve such feats of bravery, strength and ferocious alligators that we worry it may sound a bit braggy.

Instead, we are opting to focus on some producers throughout time, thereby firmly securing JESS3 production within the historical canon of producers. Please take into account that this list is by no means complete. We welcome any observations of producer’s in the wild that you may have encountered.

In fact, there is a comment section just below for you to add to the list:


PRODUCTION HANDLE – The Solution Maker
QUOTE: ”I’ve found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable.”
REAL LIFE LESSON: Probably the reason no production kit is complete without a Swiss Army knife and gaff tape. The man was the best at problem-solving on the fly (a must in production). And in true production spirit knew that unwavering resourcefulness was often the best laid plan for a problem.

No camera available for our shoot - no problem. I’ve got some twine and this rocket - we’ll have an option available in a minute.

Julia Child

PRODUCTION HANDLE - The Persuasionist
QUOTE: “Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!”
REAL LIFE LESSON: Often there isn’t an exact ingredient list for every project. Being confident in your own ability to make something delicious is half the battle to running a set.

Julia in negotiations.

James Bond

QUOTE: “World domination, the same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon. Or God.”
REAL LIFE LESSON: Keeping a clear eye on how big each problem is and what you’re actually doing is important. Bond was able to do this even while saving the world. Remember, your production is important, but a good dose of perspective is just as critical to maintain that same steely calm (and for the record, we’re talking Sean Connery here, not anyone else). You can’t control everything and that’s okay. See Julia Child Persuasion + MacGyver Solution Making for the ultimate Production trifecta.

A good producer knows the best way to calm a team is strong coffee, hearty catering, and a stiff drink for yourself at the end of every production. Remember, especially, not to skimp on the last one.

(Jane Austen’s) Emma 

QUOTE: “And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess? I pity you. I thought you cleverer; for depend upon it, a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it.”
REAL LIFE LESSON: Although not always correct, Emma was intuitive enough to recognize that people were motivated by certain processes. Often these processes were tied to how people viewed themselves within the greater world. Being able to recognize and engage on many levels is integral in being able to lead a crew, charm a location manager and essentially get things done.

It’s amazing how just the right head covering can change people’s perspective of you on-set. Always remember to remember the details.

Your Mom

PRODUCTION HANDLE(s): The Nurturer. The Policeman. The one who remembers everything.
QUOTE: ”Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” (Source:  Meryl Streep)
REAL LIFE LESSON: She’s a problem solver, a cheerleader and the buck stops with her if she says “no” (but she tries to make you happy, regardless). She is fiercely loyal and believes in her crew. A producer is the same way.

Suggestions welcome.

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