Female Filmmaker Friday

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Producing While Acting

Do you have any tips/tricks for producing yourself as an actor? 

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In in ideal world, the solution to this is simply: delegate, delegate, delegate. You want to surround yourself with crew members who all know their jobs inside and out so you aren’t forced to answer produer-hat-questions while you’re trying to wear your actor hat.

I have never existed in an ideal world.

Classic Alice’s set came really damn close — I had a team of producers who put fires out and bent over backwards to make sure that I didn’t even HEAR about problems. I delegated production duties, especially on the day, to these wonderful women who tackled everything for me AND we had ourselves surrounded by some top notch crew. 

But, of course, I’m still the end stop decision maker and there were some things that eventually made it to my plate. And at that point, you do your best. If at all possible, separate yourself from one role to do the other — literally get up and change rooms, put your jacket on over your costume, something to make yourself feel like you are taking one hat off and putting on another. Do not take off literal hats, hair will kill you.

Another thing that really helps is checking in with yourself and with other crew members — often times I would simply tell people who needed me “This is a So-N-So question, X department can answer that.” And more often than not, they did!

It’s not fun to keep track of time for shots and meal hours while you’re trying to have emotional scenes, so a great 1st AD is absolutely key. If you’re in both shoes, producer and actor, you 100% need someone who can tag in and tell the director that no, we don’t have time, we need to move on. Because if you the actor are trying to fight for a take, you might be running counter to your own needs. 

Balance. Balance and delegate. Know when to flip the producer on and when the actor needs to come out. Find space for each or either — producer only lives in crafty, for example, and be clear about that with your crew. If they have a producer question, they can ask X DESIGNATED PERSON and if they need ME, grab me on a break at crafty. That kind of thing. 

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