Finding the right partners in the entertainment business should be handled like dating. You want to see if you like being around this person for 14+ hours a day before you get married into a project.
When I wanted to start producing films, it was challenging to find someone who was willing to take a risk on hiring a TV producer as a film producer. I thought to myself, if only someone could see the skills I can offer. In non-fiction television the producer job often includes doing the casting, locations, legal, 1st AD and much much more.
I took matters into my own hands and I found a distinguished indie film producer named Suzanne Lyons and reached out to her saying that I was a fan of her work and I personally had produced hundreds of television shows but wanted to merge into film. Would she entertain the idea of me coming in for a few hours a week to help around the office, for free? In return, I would hope to absorb some of her film producing expertise. She was shocked. No one above an intern level had ever offered her free help, especially someone with industry skills and connections. She gladly agreed. I came in a few hours a week and took every small job seriously and she quickly found out I was someone who could be trusted and would be a valuable asset on her next film production.
Suzanne ended up bringing me on to coordinate a film called "Most Likely to Die" distributed by Mar Vista Entertainment. Even though coordinator was not my dream position, I took the job seriously and still wearing my producer hat brought in some celebrity talent. Half way through the project, the producers gave me a production manager title and some points on the back end as gratitude. Shortly thereafter, the Suzanne brought me onto her next film "Time Toys" as a Co-Producer/ Production Manager. "Time Toys" stars Ed Begley Jr., Greg Germann and Parvesh Cheena.
Suzanne and I are still good friends and will continue working together in the future. And it all started from just a couple hours a week of giving.
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." Pele
Author: Producer Jennifer Hutchins