Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day in the Life of an Indie Film Producer Or Should I Say Middle of the Night?

Here I am working at 4am. I thought I'd take a moment to clear my head and write about what I'm doing. For those of you interested in film producing as a career, this is what you have to look forward to - I hope I don't scare you away - ha!

I am currently in post production on a new documentary and there are over 1400 images and clips to clear, including celebrity approvals and more, in about a month's time. The amount of work is pretty overwhelming but I find each independent film I make has these moments. This is my day and night of making a film.

On top of ensuring all images and clips are licensed, I am needing to make sure we have all the final, high resolution images and clips in house. I'm also dealing with narrator hires, SAG signatory status, contract negotiations, post house deals, and distribution strategies. There are a million pieces to this puzzle and I'm praying I can finish the puzzle in time.

Today, I realized that I have maxed out my short term memory. It's gone. I can retain about 10 seconds at a time because there's just so much information coming at me. I have to tell my colleagues to not feel bad about reminding me about anything. I want the reminders!

And just when all of this work is overwhelming me, I am in the midst of developing and writing new narrative ideas. I have three scripts that I'm cowriting currently. I love them all and it's been challenging to find time after and before work on the doc to squeeze in the time to write. I'm also reading books to try to find one to option and working on a couple of Web series.

I do all of this juggling of work because I have my eye on the prize and I refuse to take my eye off of it. I want to produce docs AND write and produce narrative features and I have to work at it every single day - no matter what my schedule throws at me.

Well, that's a little insider look at the frenzy that is my life. I love what I do. And for those of you who are thinking about doing this kind of work too, my best advice is to love it unconditionally. Because without that unconditional love, you may not have the strength to keep going when you're on your 18th hour of work. Just remember: you love it. And smile at the absurdity of it all.


mikehedge said...

keep rockin! you are a true inspiration. thank you.

janekk said...

Thanks so much Mike! That's very nice of you to say.


Unknown said...

Hey Jane, if you're working on a documentary, I'll bet there's a ton of archive footage being used?

I'm just starting out and keep looking for places to find good stock footage, but everywhere I look, footage is either really expensive, like ITN Source, or of incredibly poor quality.

Just wondering where you source stock footage for a sensible price?

Many thanks

janekk said...

Hi Max,

We use a number of stock footage places, some costly - like Corbis - and others more reasonable - like Critical Past.

Some of the places we are using include: Getty, Corbis, Critical Past, WPA, USC, UCLA, NYPL, Library of Congress, NBC, ABC, AP, CNN, Cali Historical Soc, Barco Library, Historic Films, Budget Films and more...

Hope that helps!