“Be curious, not judgmental.”
– Walt Whitman
Being a producer is not unlike being a juggler in the circus.
There are acts of all shapes and sizes going on around you, the lions and tigers and bears are out in full force, and there’s an audience of people expecting a perfect performance. Combine that with the pressure of whatever today’s act entails, juggling chainsaws or bowling pins depending on the client, and you’ve got a resume fit for Barnum and Bailey.
A feeling not unique to production I’m sure, but in the unpredictable tight deadline, multiple client, agency, crew, world of television, the possibility of things happening beyond your control has a mathematical probability that exceeds the normal 9-5 job.
And that’s why so many of us love it, well part of the reason I do anyway, but it’s also why it can hurt if you don’t know how to handle it when things don’t go your way.
My most recent job was a doozy! A job that shot over 5 days, one part out of the country, 3 parts out of LA, one part under water, one part cast by talent agents, one part cast by us, one part…you get the picture, lots of moving parts.
Believe me, we thought and strategized, we planned and plotted, we organized and revised, and we worked our #$% off imagining every part that would intersect with every other part.
But then BAM…first part cancelled the morning we were supposed to fly out and we needed to start from square one in a new city.
Then we were asked to change the location of one of our scenes because of location restrictions after we had already scouted and prepped with our art department and crew on day one of the shoot.
Or was it?
Admittedly I did not greet every change with a warm welcome or navigate every twist and turn with confidence, but I did realize that resisting what was going on was what started to turn the project into a job and the experience into something painful.
One of my favorite quotes ever is from Byron Katie, “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” So true!
So I stopped arguing with the reality of the situation and I found the energy and creativity to be resourceful, solve problems, and discover new opportunities. I stopped judging the situation as bad and I leaned into new possibilities.
And you know what happened? Things turned out better than we had previously imagined!
Even our strongest opinions are points of view and by letting go of the limiting belief that things can only be done one way, we unleash the potential for new previously unknown options.
This job was one for the books but not because it was shot beautifully, though it was. And not because we brought the project creatively to new heights, though we did. But because we created an environment that fostered creativity, admiration, and respect by letting go of judgments of doing it right or wrong so people could tap into their creative potential and be their best.
We made life long friends and learned life lessons on this one. It was awesome!
See you on set,