Producing anything is a skill based task and F is for follow-up because it is a critical producing skill. In truth, sometimes you need to make that 2nd, 3rd or 4th call to get the results you desire. If you have a problem with this, please refer to the previous post, E is for Ego: the ABCs of Producing. You might find it a useful read. No but seriously folks, follow-up is so critical to ensuring the success of your indie film, webseries or short film production. If your follow-up producing skills aren’t on point, you can forget about it because producing any type content demands it.
Picture it, Sicily…okay I get it, that joke is dead. Instead, picture yourself. An award-winning film producer. You’ve worked with amazing talent both in front of and behind the lens. It’s time now for all those who have professed their love for you over the years to step up and prove it. It’s time for those people and organizations whom have not yet had the opportunity to work with you, to now jump at the chance. Pick up that phone! Make that call! The call may go a little something like this…
Ring. Ring. Ring (it’s ringing. so far so good.) Abrupt end to ringing.
Announcer: “The call has been forwarded to voicemail.”
Hey no worries. Just leave a message.
Voicemail Alert: “Hi. You’ve reach Erin with the NYC Department of Parks and Services. Please leave a …..yadda, yadda, yadda…”
Beep. Your turn. Throat cleared. Go.
You: “Hi this is Super Producer. I am calling because I need your help.”
You hang up and wait. And wait. And wait. You really need to make this happen so you call again.
She’s out to lunch. You leave another message and wait and wait. Dammit…
You get where I’m going with this. Although, it was actually a misrepresentation to use the NYC parks department in the example because anytime I deal with them, they are always prompt, courteous and professional. If you want to film in the park, contact these guys. They were just the first thing that came to mind. The example really could be anyone, and the more personal the relationship with the person or entity you have, the more it can start to feel like begging. But remember it’s not; it’s follow-up. Period.
If you need that location, that crowdfunding contribution, that picture car, that free labor, whatever it is, you make those calls and under your breadth you mutter, “if I was Effie Brown, you would call me back bitch.” You’re not. Stop it. Focus. For some people, this is too much. They quit too easily, when they don’t receive that immediate response. Keep this in mind when collaborating with other producers on your team. Producing takes legs and thick skin. You gotta be able to chase down those leads, knock on closed doors, brush off what feels like rejection, bust through that wall and keep going.
When it Just Won’t Work
It’s also important to remember that no matter how much someone may want to help, they may just not be in a position to do so. I’ve been told twice over the years “my father is dying! / My father just died!!!” Stopped me in my tracks and made me feel like shit after I was prodding and pushing and prodding these folks to bend to my will. That damn grim reaper and his stinking timing. But that’s life and apparently death. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “you’re emergency is not someone else’s priority.” Hey they have emergencies of their own. But you have to try and only you can honestly say when it’s time to move on. For your sake, and the sake of your production, I’m hoping you had a strong plan B, C and D anyway. I’m sure you did. You’re a Super Producer.
The Black TV & Film Collective a 501c3 organization that operates as a NYC film collective. In our work, we support all artists of color including but not limited to black filmmakers. We are a collaborative platform that represents diversity in film and supports inclusion in Hollywood and TV. Our professional network of New York City filmmakers gives knowledge to those who want to learn how to produce film, how to make a web series, how to budget film projects and more. We host NYC film workshops that welcome a variety of experience levels from first time filmmakers who are either students in film school or to notables within the television and film industry. See how you can make a difference in the world of cinema by becoming a member of our NYC film collective.
Huriyyah Muhammad is the Founder of the Black TV & Film Collective and Managing Partner of Infinite Wings Media. As an independent feature film producer, she has led the production of multiple independent feature films from development to market, and most recently completed filming projects in Nairobi, Kenya and Madhya Pradesh, India. Her documentary,Bulbul: Song of the Nightingale is currently in post-production, while Soko Sonko, Swahili for Market King, continues to win awards. She has over 20 producing credits, and will make her narrative directorial debut this winter with the supernatural suspense Keloid.
Huriyyah is an avid writer, director and producer who is passionate about creating long-lasting opportunities for people of color within the film, TV and digital media industries. She holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science from Spelman College.