Actor VS Producer

Being an actor on screen, I have never thought of being a film crew. It’s not because of how I love to be on screen or to be famous, it’s just simply because I never considered broadcasting or the entertainment industry as a career path in life. I never thought that there was a suitable role for me in the production team.

However, my lecturer never stop surprising us. For assignment purposes, we needed to produce a PSA and a music video. Therefore, we started a production team, COCONUTS Production. But to be very honest, I was not prepared. I have never been in a production team before and I was really anxious.
Surprisingly, the outcome came out really great!
Playing the role as an actor in PSA and a producer in a music video gave me two totally different experiences in exploring and expanding my creativity.

A screenshot from PSA – Her.

In this PSA, I learnt a lot from Jane, the girl who was diagnosed as having leukaemia. This is the reason why I love acting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a minor character or the leading cast in the film. I gained a lot of insight from the character’s life. And these experiences help me to see things differently.
Allow me to clarify. The reason why I say that the entertainment industry is definitely not my future career path is because I’ve noticed an incredibly important distinction: Acting is NOT the same thing as being an actor.
For me, “Acting” is the actual performance on stage or on screen. “Being an Actor” means not just performing, but marketing to actually create acting opportunities and jobs. By saying “actor”, I mean the individual pursuing financial gain from acting, which is not what I want. Spending two years participating in theatre performances and plays during high school, I still remember the hundreds of hours of rehearsals and having fun bonding moments with people who share the same passion. I admire the love for art. I love making the time to nurture my creative side when I get to play characters from all throughout history, from various cultural, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I get the chance to live different lives!

When a producer walks in front, it’s like a mother hen guiding her chicks.

In general, a producer supervises the physical aspects of the production including personnel, technical, budget, and scheduling. It is the producer’s responsibility to make sure the filming stays on schedule. The producer also helps to manage the day-to-day budget by managing operating costs such as salaries, production costs, and everyday equipment rental costs.
All of the above basically sum up my role in my production team producing a 5-6 minutes music video.
However, thanks to my production team, I have learnt more than that.
Instead of saying a producer’s job is to plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, it is indeed a cognitive process which involves different stages of creativity in problem solving for me. You just have to prepare yourself for any situation from when your director tells you today’s shooting is behind schedule and she needs more time for shooting, your talent is injured, your actor is late to your teammate having a car accident and you are desperately looking for an alternative transportation to go to another state for a shoot.
PHEW. With a lot of inner panicking monologue, I have to stay steady and calm, coming up with the best solution. And here’s where creativity and critical thinking skills come in.
Also, working as a producer makes me know my teammates more – their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Communication is the key. And by knowing everyone’s preferred way of communicating, it just simply makes everything easier. For me, the key point here is to make people feel comfortable working with you, and even taking orders from you.
Talking about scheduling and distributing task, you have to make arrangements strategically and creatively – knowing everyone’s preference for time to meet, place to eat and discuss, as well as allocating tasks to the right people.
I would say that the biggest responsibility of a producer is blending everyone intelligently to leverage the strengths of each and mitigate each other’s weaknesses in order to make sure everything runs smoothly during filming.
And, it is not an easy job man!