Jen was invited to join the Producer’s Guild of America after working as an associate producer on Top Chef. PGA credits are a big deal; you can only get them by either earning enough credits/hours or being invited.
When she found out that Top Chef was going to be filming in her area, she decided she was going to figure out how to get on that set.
It’s amazing how simple the industry is when you break it down like Jen did. She saw something she wanted to vector towards, and even though on her own she couldn’t get on that set, one of her contacts with the right connections knew she was good and reached out for her. She made sure she was an asset to production, bringing the attitude of “how can I help you?” She was focused on their needs over her own. That got her the right kind of attention, leading to her being offered the assistant producer position.
Once she was in that position, she was aware she didn’t have much experience doing that specific work. She didn’t let disempowering thoughts slow her down, though. “Fake it till you make it” turned out to be a motto other people with Top Chef also shared, including other producers. She was ready for that responsibility and didn’t let her brain keep her from going after the life she wanted.
You can do the same thing :)
The next step for her is to become more. Keep building on her knowledge, experience, and skillset. Jen has a GREAT plan for how to become a powerhouse producer: She wants to work a few shoots in every department. Notice that she’s still focused on her goal of being a producer, but it’s so easy to see how a bit of firsthand experience in all aspects of a shoot will allow her to best know how to empower everyone on any film set, you could say she is making Friends in Film.
Every position on set relates to others. It’s all connected, meaning that learning more than one department makes a person stand out as being more knowledgeable and better to work with. If you want to become a producer, knowing the unique needs and challenges of each department means you’ll be able to anticipate problems and empower everyone to succeed. Jen used the phrase “produce the day.” She wants to set everyone up for success, but to do that, she needs to know the details of what working in different departments is like.
That kind of attitude and knowledge will attract more work. Studios and production companies want to see their shoots stay on schedule and within/under budget. Satisfying that desire is a surefire way to get chosen for more shoots down the road. Over time Jen will get on more shoots as an assistant producer, then producer, and keep getting on bigger projects with bigger budgets and more responsibility.
She’s being strategic and authentic. She’s thinking first about the needs of everyone on set and not her ambition. Doing so will make all the shoots she’s on go more smoothly, and that will automatically help her move up through the industry.