For my first credit with 4381 Productions, I produced our film noir short “Rain Dogs.” Before I joined this crew, I’d never had any experience in producing. Because of my lack of expertise, producing this short initially seemed like a daunting and overwhelming task. But when I was offered the chance to take on the role, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. Despite having only little knowledge about producing, I jumped right in and did my best to make my crew members proud.
Although I didn’t know much about formulating a budget or compiling an equipment package, I did know I wanted to make sure my crew had access to all the resources they needed to successfully bring this script to life. However, I quickly found when you’re working with a limited production budget, you can’t always get everything you want. So, although I would’ve loved to be able to give my crew 3 months and a 7-figure budget to shoot this production, I had to be pragmatic about how we spent our finite time and money.
As producer, I needed to find a balance between unfettered creativity and restricted reality. I sought to figure out a way to satisfy both my crew, who aspire to push their creative limits, and my financiers, who strive to keep their wallets intact. To accomplish this, I had to compromise, make some sacrifices, and try to make do with what we had. Although this was challenging and stressful, it was also incredibly motivating. Our limitations forced us to think outside of the box and find innovative ways to overcome obstacles. As a crew, we learned to think on our feet and use our limitations to our advantage.
In the words of legendary SNL producer, Lorne Michaels, “To me there’s no creativity without boundaries. If you’re gonna write a sonnet, it’s 14 lines, so it’s solving the problem within the container.”
These boundaries (my lack of experience, limited resources, and short shooting schedule) pushed me to quickly become an adaptable and savvy producer. Of course, I made plenty of mistakes and encountered some frustrating barriers. But I acquired a tremendous amount of practical knowledge and worked hard to gain the respect of my crew. I am incredibly grateful to have been entrusted with producing this short film and I hope I served my 4381 Productions team well.