Our second Webcast where our host, Sarah Marince, discusses Getting Started in Video and Film with three solid producers in the industry.

 

 

Panel Participants

Sarah Marince – Host & Voice Talent
Robin Kincade – Producer
Debbie Brubaker – Producer
Joel Janecek – Producer

 

Panel Discussion

 

Sarah Marince:

Hello everyone. I’m Sarah Marince, I’m a voiceover actress and also on camera actress and I’m so excited to be here with you for our second episode of crew talk. And today we’re going to be talking about getting started in video and film and I have three awesome people on the panel with me. I have Robin Kincade, Debbie Brubaker and Joel Janecek, Janecek. Sorry about that Joel. And so we’re really, really glad to have the three of you here. I think this is going to be a very informative chat and I have a list of questions that I have prepared and then we’re going to take some of our viewers questions at the end. So viewers, if you have some questions that you’re thinking about during the session, go ahead and type them in the chat box as this is going on and we will get to those during the end. So alright, I guess we’ll just start with our first question and anyone can jump in and answer this one. You guys can, you know, play off of each other with these answers and questions. So if each one of you just wants to kind of tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got started in the industry and really what was your attraction to this field?

Debbie Brubaker:

I started making movies when I was about 13 years old. I decided that that’s what I wanted to do. My, actually I decided when I was about 11, that’s what I wanted to do. And I started doing still photography and I started making my own movies and then I went to school and then I went to school for film and my parents thought I was crazy. My grandpa was a projectionist. And I, when I was little, I spent a lot of time in movie theaters. He babysat and I got to, I was in the projection booth, a lot which were very loud. I’m amazed. I still have my earring. But he you know, he, he made it very magical. For me. And you know, it was, it was one of those things that I just, I really got hooked on it. They had a very young age.

 

Sarah Marince:

So and Robin, what about you?

 

Robin Kincade:

Well, I didn’t have that path. I actually had no idea to get into the, what I would call the media wasn’t necessarily films. I actually don’t work films. I work almost everything, but, and I was, I was just working in a, in a lumber mill, actually up in Northern California on a really difficult job that had no, it was boring and hard and physically difficult, good money, but there was no way that that was going to last. And I was fortunate enough to be working next to somebody that was a mentored me and, and kind of said, well, well, why don’t, why don’t you try getting a job in the media? And I thought that would, that sounded good. And I started in a small television station and I worked my way through every job in that station and eventually went to work for a, a clothing company that had 23 stores up and down the Northern California coast. And I did all of their print, television and radio for four years. And then I broke into the freelance market as a production assistant and worked my way up through there, down in Sacramento and now in San Francisco.

 

Sarah Marince:

Wow. Wonderful. And Joel, what about you?

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah, I mean I think like similarly, I sort of had a little bit of a performance background or something like that. I, you know, my parents met in a local theater production and I did a lot of acting as a kid. But then I, I would say, you know, when I was sort of wondering what I might do with my life and, you know, using a junior college to sort of take some different classes up in Santa Rosa, I I started taking video production classes and just fell in love with it, you know, being excited, done even if you plays in college, but then you know, being able to sort of have a, you know, out of the box idea, execute that with a video camera and a couple of buddies. And then, you know, just while away the hours in the editing room, see it come together, see, you know, my friends and fellow theater nerd audiences react. That was really fun. And then I realized, okay, then there’s probably some jobs in this, this, this might be a good major. It got me a lot more serious about school. And then I went to San Francisco state which was you know, I was just lucky because I was living in Bay area, but San Francisco state was just the perfect film school for me. And I had a lot of, a lot of good experiences there and one thing I wanted to do while I was there they encourage a lot of like experimental filmmaking, doc, you know, personal filmmaking. I want it to make like a, a commercial piece. Also, and I made it, I made a piece for a company I was working for kind of like a supplement to a catalog and video for that. And then one day I’ve met someone who was a producer at Oracle in the video department. And I showed her that piece and she said, Hey, great, we really need producers there. So I started doing corporate video and then did a bunch of local production local origination I worked for on a bunch of different TV shows that, that come out of the local origination space and in San Francisco. And had a great time there. So that was you know, going to the city and getting into film school was, was, was really, really great for me. That was a nice start. Yeah. I went to LA and then now I hate the industry.

 

Sarah Marince:

Was it difficult for you guys to get your, like break like your first big break into the industry?

 

Joel Janecek:

You know, LA is like, I think everyone kind of, you know, you can go to film school and I think if you go to like a USC or like a Cal arts or something like that, if you’re, if you’re entering it from sort of like above the line aspirations then you know, you’re going to have an easier time breaking into the mainstream like film and television industry. But if you know, for, for me, like after I had been in the Bay area for about five years, I was sort of in my mid to late twenties and I’m thinking, okay, if I don’t like go to a major market now, LA or New York and I had a couple friends in LA after I figured, you know, I might as well go down there and see what that world has to offer or I might regret it, you know. And so, you know, going down there, I didn’t know anyone and I just really pressed the flesh and, and follow it up with people and you know, getting those first couple opportunities, it took a lot. And, and it really was from like friends of family who knew someone who knew someone. I was willing to make those cold calls and, and those, that was the only way I really got some of the opportunities I had down there. I was able to build some more mainstream credits and stuff like that.

 

Sarah Marince:

 

What about you, Robin?

 

Robin Kincade:

For me it was a series of breaks. So it wasn’t one one, the first break was the actual first job, which was like a, you know, cause I had no experience. I’m working in a lumber mill, I have no college. Right? So I’m coming from the other other side. And all I really wanted was adventure. I really wasn’t even remotely concerned with the end product, to be quite honest. I wanted to get to know the, all of the people in the, in the thing. And that was a huge break. Then the other break I got was once I got into Sacramento, I became a location scout from a PA getting out of the PA world into your first real job. That was hard. That took a long time in that market at that time. And the only reason that happened is somebody messed up on a job and they had let that person go. And it’s that typical thing. Oh my gosh, who are we going to bring in? Right. And my name had been floated around. I’d been in the market as a PA. I had done enough jobs as a PA. What about Robin Kincade? And they called me and that was a huge break. And then the last one was coming into San Francisco market. That’s a very difficult market to hit because it’s a wonderful market to work. I don’t know what LA is like, but I tell you what, we are a community here and we love it. I mean I, I have love in this community and we do a lot of projects together that are super fun. But breaking in is tough cause nobody leaves. Nobody goes unless speakers.

 

Robin Kincade:

So what I had to do is I had to create my own business here. So what I did is I got on on to, I started watching daytime TV and television that was cable and reaching out to those cable companies and saying, Hey, I have a house. You guys want this, I’m a producer. I can send me a crew, I’ll make you a show or make you a part of this, you know, or you can put this. And they picked it up. So like old homes restored or dream builders. And that was the second big break for me.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, it’s funny because I think, you know, I also went to San Francisco state once upon a time, probably a long time before you to Joel. And most of the instructors there are, were full time and they were tenure, but not all of them were. Some of them were actually people that were filmmakers. And one of them that I had as an instructor, his name was Irving Surratt and he worked at he had just finished doing one, flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, that sort of thing that dates me. And he was also a documentary filmmaker and I was very, very interested in documentary film at the time. So after I graduated, right, pretty much, I got work right away. I started in the camera department and I was working in the camera department and I and I got, and now I switched into production management.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And when I made that switch, you know, Irving also hired me to help him with his documentary. So I had, I had someone to work with like right away and then I just, it took off from there. But I owe a lot to Irving and Allie light Irving’s rationale for really putting a lot of faith in me and bringing them, bring me into their world of documentary filmmaking. And then after I had done that for a while, I, I decided to go into, I really wanted to go into narrative film and that was easy for me to make that joke. And so and it’s, it’s, it’s a little more complicated than that, but it was really, it was, I was very lucky. I think I met a lot of really great people that really helped me transition from being a student to being a professional.

 

Sarah Marince:

Nice. So what are some tips or like pieces of advice you would give to somebody who’s looking to get into the film or video industry?

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, one of the things I think that’s, you know, one of the methods is to learn as much as you can. Now, you know, Robin has a course that she’s created for PA’s, which I think is really very good. I also recommend, you know, if you can go to school, I mean, I, I, I’m an for San Francisco city college because they have a two year cinema program and if you live in the city it’s free. It’s a free school and it, it has a, it’s one of the best kept secrets I think in the whole country in terms of its level of education. You can get going to school there. I mean right now, because we have all, we’ve been shut down more or less than the classes have gone on. I teach a class there one night a week production planning, which is obstensively producing and it’s, it’s a, it’ll be online next semester cause I switched to online in March when we got on the shit hit the fan.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

But the but it’s really a great place to meet other people who are like minded is going to school or taking the class and making those connections. If you can get, if you can join a some kind of a film club, they’re scary cow. There’s the Bay area, there’s a Bay area video coalition the San Francisco film society. If you can volunteer in places like that, people who volunteer in organizations that are connected to what they want to do are 50% more likely to get it in a job. And people who don’t, and that’s actually how I got word too, is that I volunteered in an organization called the film arts foundation. And then I actually got a job there for a couple of months and after that it also helped my career. So there’s so many different ways, but I’d say educate yourself about the industry is probably the number one thing.

 

Joel Janecek:

And education is great too for like trying out some different hats. You know, you might think, Oh well, you know, maybe I don’t want to be on set all the time, but you know, 12 hours standing around this weird place is not really for me. But I loved hat, you know, bringing it all together in post production, you know, and I think that like, you know, and I was able to just, you know, edit for 15 hours at a time and I just, I felt like I was there for 10 minutes, you know, so when you, when you go and you know, take a class or whatever and try on those different roles and see what it’s like, then you can, I mean, that’s something I really got a lot out of in school was just, you know, experimenting with the different roles, seeing what, what, what I was naturally attracted to what I wasn’t, you know.

 

Joel Janecek:

And it’s that’s really helpful. And part of education too. You know, it’s funny, when I was at San Francisco state, one thing I really liked was putting on film forums and we did one with Les blank, who you guys may know. Debbie, you probably knew less well. And, and at the time, this is one of the great things about going to a school like SF state, which is by the way of the only film school. And the top 20 ranked film schools that is a state school. And so Les blank, his friend, Werner Herzog, w he had made a documentary called Werner Herzog eats a shoe and we’re, this is not, this is pre Werner Herzog fame. He and only he had done next to nothing. It doesn’t fits for all do I think was his biggest con was his biggest credit.

 

Joel Janecek:

And so we had Les and Werner and they came in and did this whole thing and I got to meet them both and get to know them a little bit. And and so the, the, the people in, in the the forum which was packed and the theater, they asked Werner Herzog, they said, well, what, what should someone do to get experiences is in the industry? And he said, walk from San Francisco to Mexico with nothing in your pockets and figure out a way to get there. That was his piece of advice, which I thought was kind of interesting. And it kind of gets to that like make it happen. And no matter what kind of a mentality you need to have.

 

Robin Kincade:

Well, what I, what I would say both of those are great answers. You know, look around your community. You can actually pick up production assistant work from events, from sporting arenas, from different projects that are happening in your community. You can volunteer, as Debbie said, start small, just as Joel said, you, you need to get a taste of things. So for instance, in my course I have Hilton day Hilton is a pretty successful assistant director. He travels all over the country. He’s worked on the black last black man in San Francisco, a lot of different films. He wanted to be an editor. So they started to be, he was a PA for a while and when he was a PA, he found out that he loved assistant directing. And that’s what he started doing. But immediately get in to immediately say, okay, I want to do this, I want to do this.

 

Robin Kincade:

And this is because we’re in a big change right now. Lot of things are changing. And with great change comes great opportunity. I would say work your connection, see if you can get on any kind of a job where you can call yourself a production assistant and put it on your resume, then get another one, put that one on your resume and then start selling yourself as that person that can come and be a PA. And once you start doing that, you’ll start getting paid for those jobs and it becomes self sufficient. And then you can learn, you can get yourself into school at night. Cause that’s what I did. I went to community colleges, I took night classes and I worked in the day. And it’s a real doable thing. It’s not that hard, but you do have to be consistent and you have to have a really good winning attitude. Attitude is key.

 

Sarah Marince:

Attitude is everything. It is really, it really is. Robin, you have touched on your course a few times. Can you tell us a little bit about your production assistant course and a little bit like why did you make the course and how people can benefit from it?

 

Robin Kincade:

So I, I was a production assistant for three years in Sacramento and it was really hard. I had no information what was expected of me in the field. There was just nothing out there. And so about five years ago I decided to every night just sit for an hour and write about a production assistance and what Anna and I started it as one course and it ended up being five courses. So it’s a series and I, I just followed it through and produced it and launched it in January. And what it does is it fills that gap between whatever school you have, whether that’s a four year degree or a from high school or a four year degree from college or two year, it fills the gap between that and your first job as a PA in the film business, breaking into the film business as specifically a PA in any market, whether you’re in LA or you’re in salt Lake or you, you’re in Cincinnati or wherever, in any market, there’s work and we all know this.

 

Robin Kincade:

There’s work, there’s these little jobs, these little gems that you can get and start building your career. And that’s what this does. It makes you a successful PA. Now where you take it from there is up to you, which you’ll know when you come on the set, what you, what you’re not supposed to do, what you’re supposed to do, what lockdown means, what petty cash and how to process it, what craft services is and how you’re specifically going to help them. How to roll a cable. All of these things are in the course. That’s fantastic. And so it sounds like everything you need to know and people can find that on your website. They can, they can find that on my website and we give away three free videos so they can kind of see what the production value is like. And you know, I’m, I’m excited because I wrote this for myself 30 years ago.

 

Robin Kincade:

Basically I would have loved, it would have been way faster attitude, things like that. Man, that’s it. Once I learned the attitude thing, then it went much better. But the attitude is huge and it’s not just being nice. It’s not that there’s a certain attitude that people are looking for an excuse and it’s that I’m, I’m plugged in, I’m paying attention, I’m here. What do you need all the time. That’s what standing by is, I’m here. What do you need when sometimes anticipating that need without getting in the way, that’s his hard, you know, it’s a really hard thing. So we talk a lot about that kind of stuff. And I have over twin, Debbie’s in the course. I have over 20 professionals. It’s not just me yammering about what I think. I actually went out and interviewed other PAs and directors and producers and craft services people and, and assistant directors and art directors of what they’re looking for in PAs and what it makes a good PA. So it’s a real rounded education about how to be successful in this one job. Not to be a deep the director photography, not to be an editor or assistant director, how to be a successful production assistant so you can move into the next job quicker.

Sarah Marince:

 

That sounds fantastic. It really, really does. And one thing that you had mentioned is that there’s work in every market, like, you know, big job, small jobs, whatever. But how important is it to be in New York or LA or Atlanta where you hear now that all the filming is happening? What do you guys think?

 

Robin Kincade:

Well, I’ll take it and then I’ll hand it over to these guys and they can tell you. I think if you’re first starting out, it’s better to be where people know you and you know, people go down to the CVS over here and get me five bloody did it as well. I don’t know where that, see I’m new to town, whereas at CVS, I don’t know, nobody knows you in New York, nobody knows you. In LA, you have no experience. If you’re trying to get your first experience, get it where you live and then get something under you, get a little base and then do your research before you run off to those cities. Because you know, LA can be rough. The Bay area is difficult to break into. This is not an easy place. There’s a lot of people that want to do this kind of work here.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

I have worked other places, I’m very familiar with it. For the Los Angeles scene. I almost took a job in Atlanta. I know New York pretty well, you know, spent some time in Brooklyn and I know people there too. But you know, it’s hard for me to leave here because this is my home. So, you know, I think that people can make it in their own home if they want to. I don’t think that you have to leave necessarily. It just depends. Like Julie, you said that you went to LA to check it out. And I, and I know a lot of other people, I’ve lost so many people to watch.

 

Joel Janecek:

I mean, you know, the Los Angeles scene, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely a big draw for people. I think that Deb or Robin made a good point about, you know, getting a little bit of experience first. And then, you know, going out there is, is, is really helpful going there, totally blind with no onset experience. Los Angeles is not a great place for that. But you know, I, I found for me like going to a major market like Los Angeles was really handy. I may, you know, connections that’ll be with me for the rest of my life. I think that’s probably the most valuable thing I got out of that. And I, I think that, you know, the LA, there’s so much happening there, especially nowadays with all of the internet and the streaming services there’s just a lot going on down there. So I think if you want to really be at like the epicenter of the craft you know, LA and actually New York too are really where it’s at. I think that, you know, LA Ella, you know, they always say that LA is a place you, you moved to hating and learn to love and San Francisco is in place. You moved to loving and learned to hate. But the but you know, LA is, it’s got a lot to offer, but you really need to do some research first figure out, you know, what neighborhood you kind of want to live in and you know, really think about like where you want to go. LA has got so many people coming in that if you are like, well I can do this and I can do this. Especially when I first moved down there, that was a bit of a detriment on. Now it’s a little bit better. Because you know, there’s a lot of there’s people are starting to be able to, can you do a little bit of this and can you do a little bit of that?

 

Joel Janecek:

Is is more in demand down there now, but you know, it’s, it’s a new place. I think there’s a lot of people that go there to realize their dream and they do kind of get there a little bit. Like I used to produce corporate videos for the Mattel corporation and boy, just seeing all those people there, they did like come to be toy designers from around the world. They’ve realized their dream and they’re loving it. All the people that like move there to ride on shows and once they achieve that, it’s great. There’s a lot of people that don’t, but that can be sometimes a little depressing. But overall I think it’s, you know, and it’s also a place where it’s easy to be broke. I think the new York’s a lot harder to be broke, than LA. And you know, so especially if you’re from California and you’re a day’s drive away from maybe, maybe you know, your parents or something like that.

 

Joel Janecek:

I think that you know, LA is a great option. I know I’ve recommended a few people that were, you know, go, you know, go down if you want to do this, go to USC, get through the whole thing. And they ended up really, really loving it. And so, you know, I, I, I’ve had good experiences, but boy, you’ve got to drop your shyness at the door the minute you cross into that town and, and just be willing to call anyone, knock on any door and and re you’re going to have to promote yourself the entire time you’re there.

 

Sarah Marince:

All great advice. Okay. So I’m going to ask you all three of you. In your own words, how would you define the role of a production assistant? Like across departments? What kind of PA’s are there? For example, in post you’d have a post assistant or assistant editor.

 

Robin Kincade:

Well I, there’s so many. Gosh, Debb, you start.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, I was going to say a PO and an assistant editor is not a PA. Yeah. They don’t have a lot of PA’s and posts. Do they the size of the department and show you’re working on. But the, but you’re right about Bible and a lot of post PA, it’s, it’s, you know, an assistant editor is not usually a PA and an assistant editor. It’s different things to different job sites. The you know, I can talk about television motion pictures. You know, we have, there’s, it’s, there’s a hierarchy, you know, in PDAs on television, emotion, pictures, pictures cause all have their key set VA. And then you’ll have somebody, a millennial Hubway and a walkie talkie PA and you’ll have a you know, PA’s at work with the backpack. People that do background [inaudible] assistant directors will have certain theories that they have helping them run background as opposed to VA’s where they’re just to be all purpose PA’s. If there’s a, there’s a, you know, people will get started getting assigned, you know, to sort of different spots depending on what their skill set is PA to the talent, right. PA to the talent, all PA to the town is a specific job, you know, and it’s, it’s not, that’s somebody that you people get hired to do that, to be specifically for that, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I have a PA that I work with a lot that I was instrumental in helping her get a job working on the matrix as Kiana Reeve’s assistant. And she, it was an, it was an amazing experience for her. And she did and she, and it was really a game changer for her.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

She had to really step up and she did she, you know, they were, they took her to Germany with them and then the, the pandemic happened. Did she, she barely made it back but she did. I mean kiosk brought her back on his private jet. Wow. So you know, it, that’s a whole different kind of job. But there’s, I’m going to say this about the markets. Hollywood’s about to change in a big, big way. Everybody, the what you know now is not what you thought you knew before we were into this coven. 19 thing is there was, there was already a lot of earthquakes happening in Hollywood in a way that the power struggles were going on. And now I think it’s going to change even more after this. I think that the way that the movies are presented is changing because of street.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

I think that the industry will change. And I think that Pete, that we won’t have as many hubs as we thought we did because runaway production will continue to run away. So it won’t just be Atlanta, you won’t just be in New York and it won’t just be Los Angeles. There’s going to be a lot, there’s going to be a lot going on everywhere. I think. I think more places are going to start picking up and it depends. I think it’s going to be, you know Australia and Canada and I think they’re still going to be doing a lot of work there. I mean, if you can work in you know, if you can go to Vancouver, I mean that’s, that’s where you really get work. So if you want to, instead of thinking nationally, you want to start thinking globally, that’s probably a smarter way to think because our world just shrank in a huge way and it’s gonna be, it’s gonna continue to shrink.

 

Sarah Marince:

Joel, do you have anything to add?

 

Joel Janecek:

You know, just in terms of like entry, entrance into industry, maybe maybe to like expanding out from like the production assistant role. You know, I think that like, you know, if people are thinking about, you know, what I might like to get involved with this, w what are, what are some good avenues for me to come in as, you know, you can, you know, work, see who you know and see if they need assistance, you know you know, can I, can I be a producer’s assistant? Can I be a talent assistant? Can I be a, you know, assistant to maybe an agent or something like that depending on where you want to come in from. And then also, you know, in post production where there’s quite a bit of work. And I think that like if you, you know, a lot of people become great editors and they kind of move into directing.

 

Joel Janecek:

And so if you are, you know, great with computers and really like editing, you know, then working your way up as an assistant editor, it can be really great. There’s a lot more like regular employment in that, in that world, it’s probably a little easier to have a family if you’re in post production for example. So, you know, editing can be just a great skill that can, you can sort of end up coming into production with and yeah, so I mean I think that, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of different points of entry where you can get a ton of good information. I know for me like having some sort of audio visual tech skills was really good. I ended up doing a lot of, like I just ended up being a production manager on some different shows.

 

Joel Janecek:

Just because I could sort of hire the right kind of camera ops. I understood, you know, what was going on with the switcher. I understood you know, how to, how to get the rental package from you know, the equipment rental place. Just because I had done work with McCune, audio visual that you guys probably both know. And so because I had sort of gotten my feet wet, you know, just doing remote fly packs and switching and blah, blah blah when it came time to, for more like mainstream industry stuff, I ended up just getting jobs as sort of a, you know, technical coordinator slash production manager which was still relatively entry entry level.

 

Robin Kincade:

What I would say, excuse me, is there is all kinds of work out there to get in. You can go again to like events or to lighting and grip companies camera houses, you know.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah. They have a lot of jobs, you know, they, they need people like, Hey, I’ll come in and when you’ve got that huge package coming back or going out or, you know, I’ll come in and work for a minute. And that’s a great way to learn gear. That’s a great way to get some, to understand those kinds of companies and how important they are and how they integrate into productions. So yeah, I mean, and that’s, you know, was really vital for me is just, you know, working with those kinds of companies to begin with. Like, a MacEwan. I got a lot of breaks from that.

 

Robin Kincade:

Yup. Yup. And to take your mind away from having to be on a set, it’s not where you’re going to begin if you’re lucky like Debbie, you can, but a lot of people aren’t that lucky. And so take those barriers off and say, okay, I can follow what you love. That’s the other thing I would say, follow your heart if you’re really into documentary work, find a documentary filmmaker in your backyard and offer your services for free if you’re not, if you’re into sports, find that, that sport that you love and find where that’s at and you know, that’s just it. And if you do it will, it will, the path will open up because your heart will follow it. There’s, there’s tons of work out there. You just have to go out. And as Joel said, you have to call people, Hey, you have to knock on the door. And yeah,

 

Joel Janecek:

And, and don’t be shy about it cause they did that too. You know, don’t, don’t worry, go for it. You know, it is fine. Like, I mean, don’t, don’t feel weird about, you know, reaching out, sending an email, you know, the industry is really heavy on LinkedIn. I know it can seem a little silly but, but LinkedIn is a great industry thing. And you know, re reach out, you know. And another thing I would say too is read the trades. I love the trades. And, and especially if you go online, they have a lot of notices. I noticed someone asked about like, how do I find out about what’s happening in my area. A lot of the trades will show all the different things in production and you can see, and I’m talking about like, you know, you guys can talk about all the different trades that you like, but you know, and those are available to everyone and you can see all the starts and what’s happening and where and when it begins, who the production office is and all that stuff. And also, you know, talk to your local film commission. A lot of times they, they, they have internships and stuff like that listed there. Because they’re giving out the, you know, the permits and working with the crews that are coming into town so they’ll know everything that’s happening.

 

Sarah Marince:

Very cool. Quick side note for everybody who’s tuning in, if you have any questions, shoot them to the chat box. We’re going to get them to them in a minute. And I’m going to ask you guys about unions really quickly like sag and other unions. What are your thoughts on them? Yeah, I can talk a lot about union. Back to Debbie.

 

Joel Janecek:

Debbie, you’re, you’re, you’re in the director’s Guild.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

I am in the director.

 

Joel Janecek:

And what, what are the pros and cons of that and what are the projects that got you into it?

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, it’s funny, I kind of went in kicking and screaming. Originally I had been asked to join on a film that I did in 1999 I within Taylor, we were both invited to join the Guild at the time. Him as a director and me as a production manager

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And we decided to pass on that opportunity. I was, I didn’t feel quite ready and I don’t think he did either. We’ve decided that wait until the next film that we did, we made a pack to do, to wait until the next film we did together. We were going to join. And so five years later we joined the Guild together and he actually, the production paid my joint fees. I and I was quite ready at that time. The difference between not being in the Guild being in the Guild is huge. I mean, it’s, it’s, it was a career maker. My mentor Ned cop it pushed me and pushed me and pushed me for a long time to join the Guild and he was really not happy with me when I didn’t join the first time.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

It made a huge difference in my career. I don’t think I could do anything that I wouldn’t have had nearly the career I had without being part of the union. And I don’t see any downsides to being a Guild member. I don’t see any downsides to being, to joining any of the unions. If that’s your passion and you, you want to be a a Guild member, I think that that’s something that you should do especially because you’ll probably get more work that way if you want to work in movies and television. Because where we, you know, if, if you’re not in a Guild, you know, we hire nonunion and it’s the piece of PAs or non-union. And eventually though those PAs turn into crew members in one department or another and they become Guild members or, or union members, depending upon the craft or the trade. And I, and I don’t see it, I don’t see a downside to any of the, any of the unions, to be honest.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah. I mean, I think that like the screen actors Guild, for example, SAG-AFTRA it’s, I mean, I think that they do more in people just staying on it to get health insurance, but you know, they, they, the unions definitely offer really, really helpful health insurance and retirement. And they’re there. They’ve been a really important part of the industry in terms of keeping at least mainstream production, somewhat honest about not going too far or having to pay if they’re going to go to, you know, 12, 15, 18 hours all that stuff on productions. And I think that like for people that are looking at the industry, you know, think about, you know, if you’re, if you’re going to work in mainstream entertainment that, that, you know, let’s say you’re going to be, you know assistant camera person, focus polar, that sort of thing, DP, you know, a lot of look into those unions.

 

Joel Janecek:

That can be another like great place to sort of pick the path that you want. Like, I’m really passionate about camera work. Okay, so what’s the union like that for? Or like, I really want to be a writer. Okay. So let’s think about like what the WGA has to offer and think about that a little bit. In the, in that group or you know, I’m producing, you know, I’ve got a couple of production manager credits. Now do I want to join the producers Guild? What are the pros and cons to that? And you know, longterm you know, in retirement savings, all that healthcare, those, they’re, they’re really good, you know.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, the producers Guild is not a Guild or a union. Yeah, not really.

 

Joel Janecek:

The more of an association you think

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Association, it is not technically a Guild or a union. They don’t do collective bargaining. They don’t have pension health and welfare requirement or, or, or nor, nor do they give you health coverage or pension.

 

Joel Janecek:

Well, they’re the ones battling against sag, right?

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Well, they’re there. Often they are, but that’s not what they’re battling against. They’re usually not, or it’s not just sag, it’s the DGA, the IAA and the Teamsters. They’re always sort of trying to shovel proverbial shit. It gets that tide. Good luck fellas. You know, I’m a, I’m a producer too, and I’m also a member of the DGA and a lot of producers are also members of the director’s Guild. And some of them are even members of sacks and I’ve known him, you know, I mean I’ve known producers that were members that were Teamsters. You know, Jim Brubaker was a teamster and he was a big diamond producer, was in, was ahead of universal studio universal for awhile. So it’s not, you know, they’re, it’s a little bit

 

Joel Janecek:

Hey, Ronald Reagan was the head of the screen actors Guild. That was his first elected office.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Yeah. I mean I’m a must join. I’ll never be on screen again. Prior to joining, I was in, I was in enough shows that I got that letter. I’ll never forget getting out. I was laughing thinking, Oh, they’re not going to get a sense out of me cause I’m not joining. And it’s not possible either. So, you know, I mean you, you can, you can definitely do that or not. You know, I know a number of people who produce corporate video. You know, I have a friend, my friend Brian Benson for example, he produced a lot of corporate video and he’s an assistant director and he’s not in the Guild, but he, he’s work on a number of features that I’ve produced that were not union pictures. And so he worked, he was me. He was an AAV that I worked with. And then I’ve got other ads though that are working non-union, but they aspire to join. So, you know, it’s and, and I hope that they do, I hope that they joined the Guild because I think that,

 

Debbie Brubaker:

You know, as a career choice, you know, if you want to be an assistant director, if you want to be a production manager, you want to, if you want to be a director, you have to join the guilt. I mean, in order to keep getting work.

 

Robin Kincade:

That’s what I think. Also, I think, I’ve never joined any Guild. I think I’ve been on one movie set that Debbie had me on when we were doing that, that movie for a minute. Right. This is not my thing. I never wanted, I’m not a big joiner, but I didn’t, I don’t want to be on movies or too long. I want like a week and then I want to go do something else or two days or a day. I want to be here, I want to be there. That was always my goal, right? Always. And so I didn’t want to join a Guild, but I think if you’re going to be a professional and be on a movie set and be making movies, boy you better get in and figure that stuff out.

 

Robin Kincade:

Cause they don’t let you on unless you join. It’s that simple. You can’t work unless you join their, their thing. And I think it’s good. It protects the people inside of the industry. It’s the wild West out there. Sometimes it’s, it can be brutal and if you have somebody behind your back as a freelancer without a Guild, without something like that, I’m the only person that can speak up for me. But when you have that, you have some power. And I think if you’re going to be serious about being in the movie making industry, whether that be in New York or LA or on the road, yeah, you better figure it out. Those those places give them a call. They want to see you.

 

Sarah Marince:

Very, very informative. Thank you guys. So we’re gonna move on to some of the questions that we got in the chat box. So one of the first ones, what was the biggest mistake you made coming up and how do you feel about it now? Was there anything you learned, like a big lesson learned or funny story you got out of it now?

 

Debbie Brubaker:

Hope you talk about it. I can talk about about mistakes and first of all, don’t be afraid to make mistakes cause everybody does. And I think that one of the things that I always felt like was that if I made, if I’m, if I felt like I had, when I took a job and I hated it, that I had to stick it out and I did a lot of those. And for one fine day I decided I was mad as hell. I’m not gonna take it anymore. And I quit a job. I quit one of the biggest jobs I ever got because I thought that the producer was a big a-hole and I really, you know, and, and the rest of then it was a cute picture and the, and the rest of the crew was a gas that I had walked with them.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And then when at the same time, they had so much respect for me because they knew that they were working for one of the biggest jerks that ever walked. And I was close enough to the top that that big jerk was just, you know, like I couldn’t deal with it anymore. And I w and I quit. And I never, and I, and I thought I made this maybe suicide. And then I realized that people quit jobs from, from, you know, working bad movies all the time. People get fired off of movies all the time. A really good friend of mine has a somewhat famous, you know, in my world as an assistant director, he’s like one of the top drawer and he’s been fired a bunch of times by directors that were just, you know, for whatever reason decided to fire him. And it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have any, any works for those people again.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And he works. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t be afraid to walk away from a job that where you don’t feel comfortable or you feel you’re being mistreated. You will work again. And I, and I, you have to have respect for yourself. I’m not saying that you should, you should have these lofty ideas and if you’re in, if you get a hang nail, you should quit. I’m saying that you, you know, in your gut, you know, when you’re not in the right place at the right time, and if people are mistreating you, there’s no reason to stay. You know, there really isn’t, don’t let anybody mistreat you, which is why I am sort of a union RA because I feel the union has your back and they make, you know, they, they make, they put a bow, they, they put a box around you that’s a protection, not a hindrance.

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And PAs are not union. So they, they sometimes get the benefit of being union protection because of all the people around them are union. So the union rules hold sway. But you know, the, the, also, if, if somebody’s mistreating you though, it’s not worth it. It’s just not. So I have some self respect and always have some self respect and that it will net. And that is, you know, so, and if you make a big mistake, own up to it, you know, and if they don’t like it, that’s too bad because I’ve always, you know, it’s one of those things is it’s, it’s always about solutions and not about problems, at least in my world. And I, and I know that mistakes happen. And so for me, if someone wants us to, if somebody makes a big photo power, big mistake, I’m going to say, okay, let’s fix it. Let’s not dwell, not point fingers, not, you know, yell, scream and holler and kick your feet. You fix it. Absolutely. Absolutely.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah. I mean, I, I think that like, it’s a sort of bounce off what were saying a little bit Debbie is,

 

Joel Janecek:

Is, you know, trust your gut and, and take a chance. Right? So like, especially when you’re starting off, like, you know, take a chance. I, one big mistake I made, which is kind of a funny story is when I first moved to LA, I was, I had gotten this like nine to five job paid really well. But it was boring and I hated it and it, but it was on the Fox lot and I loved it. But it was, it was, it really was not right for me. And some of the reach outs I had been making before I moved to LA, came through and one of them was said, Hey, look, if you want to job on this Buffy the vampire Slayer show, you can have it. And it was a pretty good job. And I’m like, that show’s not going anywhere.

 

Joel Janecek:

But at the same time, I, and I’m like, who’s the director? That guy, no way. So I didn’t take the job and it was from his agent, so I would have been working directly with Josh Sweden. And I really regret that. And I think what that really came down to was getting, you know, I’m like, okay, I found a place of comfort. Don’t, don’t move. You know, I can pay my rent, got my own apartment. I live in a cool part of LA, this is great. But that wasn’t, I really hadn’t moved down there to be comfortable, you know, and, and I really needed, I should have taken that job and you know, I, I, that was a big mistake. And so, you know, don’t, don’t get too comfortable and take and take chances.

 

Robin Kincade:

That’s good advice right there. Take chances. Cause you have to risk, you have to risk in this business. Yeah.

 

Joel Janecek:

Anything in life. I mean it’s for no reward, you know, rich dad, poor dad, right. You know, you gotta like, you know, make big things, believe in it.

 

Robin Kincade:

You just can’t be in doing empty risks. Yeah. I believe in what you’re doing and that you’re, I’ll give a little more direct advice. My, one of my biggest mistakes was my mouse, my mouse on the job. All right. So I’m, I’m working a job where I’m interviewing a judge up in Idaho. Real nice guy and it’s a, it’s a crime show and we get him in his courtroom and we get the cameras rolling. It’s an hour interview and he’s terrible. He’s a terror. He goes off on tangents. He’s goes down that road and it’s just an hour because I need an hour to get what I need. I’m editing in my head as I’m interviewing him. So we finally get done. I thank him a big smile and I send him on his way and he goes into his a little back room and I get on the phone immediately to the producer in a huge move to cover my ass. I really was on the phone loud, Hey, yeah, you bet about, you know, and telling her what a terrible interview he was and how he went up on tangents and I look up and the crew is making kind of some hand noises to me, but I don’t pay any attention. I’m on a roll in the courtroom by the way, like just pacing back and forth. He had come back into the courtroom

 

Robin Kincade:

And hear everything. I said, that’s a huge lesson. Did I need to do that? No, I didn’t need to call her. I didn’t need to check the cover. My ass was a complete failure. And from that point on, I really started watching my words on the set. When I come on a set, it’s like a, you try to put a cloak on. That doesn’t mean you don’t have fun and everything, but you just are aware of what’s going on. And what your words can do. That’s all.

 

Sarah Marince:

That’s super great advice. Yeah, I love that. It’s a good piece of advice to remember. So I know Robin, you answered this for Justin in our chat, but just to throw it to Debbie and Joel,

 

Robin Kincade:

What do you look for in people that you put on crews?

 

Debbie Brubaker:

I want to work as long as I do,

 

Debbie Brubaker:

You know, and I, cause I know that I work on and I think that that’s really important. And I know I can tell by talking to somebody in a very short period of time, whether they’re a hard worker

 

Debbie Brubaker:

And I want, I will also, and I want them to be loyal and I want them to be enthusiastic and I want them to have a good sense of humor, you know, because I have the curse of the easily amused. So if that’s not too hard by me, I, and I want people that that you know, that know how to know how to do their, they don’t necessarily have to know how to do the job. They have to want to know how to do the job. And that’s really what counts because sometimes, you know, having enthusiastic people is that they don’t know as much as people who know a whole lot and are jaded but not enthusiastic. I take the enthusiastic people over the other ones any days a week.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah. I mean there’s, there’s different things you’re looking for from, from different people in different situations. I’ve done a lot of crewing and I was approached, a manager of people call up and they’d say, ah, I’ve got, I want to shoot a thing and I need, you know, X, Y, and Z. And so I would, you know, have a roster of DPS and I kind of felt like a matchmaker a little bit, I would say, okay, so who are you? And you know, okay, you’ve asked me, you’ve called me 20 times, you’ve got a lot of questions. I should probably, I need to give you, maybe not the most technically proficient guy who’s maybe a little grumpy. You need a softer touch. So I’m going to give you a softer touch guy. Or like, someone’s like, Oh, I’m not sure what’s going to happen and blah, blah, blah.

 

Joel Janecek:

I’m like, okay, then I need to give you a take charge person who’s going to be a little bit louder and drive you a little bit. And so I think that there’s, there’s, you know, a real art to sort of crews and putting crews together. They’re going to work well together and sort of finding the right kind of fit for who you’re looking for me. I think for me, like sometimes I, you know, in a certain type of production, I want a couple loud surly guys around me to sort of help diffuse guys that like to talk and, or guys or gals, you know, that can sort of take the edge off me while I’m like reviewing notes or something or on other things. I want a really quiet person, I want a quiet audio guy. You know, quiet DP because if just we’re walking into, you know, an uptight corporate situation and I just don’t want to have to deal with, you know, telling them to be quiet or, you know, making sure that they dress appropriately or whatever.

 

Joel Janecek:

So it really depends on, on each situation. And I think for the people on the cruise, it’s important. You know, one thing I was sort of thinking about it is like no matter who I’m going for, be careful on the like scuttle button, the chitchat in the like ongoing like, Oh, did you hear that thing last week? It’s like just save that for afterwards when you’re having a beer, you know, keep it, keep it quiet and simple on set. Because you know, I think for me, especially if I’m producing on set, like I’ve just have a lot on my mind and I really need to focus and concentrate, you know, and, and if someone’s who has a lot to say, it can be really distracting even if it’s a conversation I want to be in.

 

Robin Kincade:

Absolutely. I think that’s exactly right there. It every job for, at least from my experience is a cherry picked. Who’s going to, first of all, where are we going? What are we doing? You know, the, the job that’s the embedded with the border patrol is going to be completely different from the job of the guy who collects macaroni and cheese boxes. And believe me, those can come within a month of each other or a week or two days. I mean, it’s so it really depends and sometimes you’re picking a crew to help a certain person that’s already on the job. So if, if the job comes with a director of photography or a director, those people are going to have their people that they like and you’re going to. And so that’s a natural fit, at least here for us, for directors of photography, they have a gaffer they like to work with. And if that person’s not available, they have another one, a note. Those gaffers all have key grips and, and, and grips that they work with. So it’s not like I’m having to, you know, invent everything from the beginning. There’s a certain cascade effect that happens, but the most important from the beginning is the director that starts there.

 

Sarah Marince:

Wonderful. Okay. So we have Eric tuning in from Texas. Hello Eric. And he asks, you mentioned that the PA works with talents. What are some do’s and don’ts when trying to reach out to PA’s for an opportunity to audition and as an experienced voice actor?

 

Robin Kincade:

Hmm. Sounds like a couple of different topics that are not sure. Well I think it, so PA is working with talent production assistant, working with talent. The talent is hired on the set, the talent is already there and the PA would be assisting that particular talent. But there are two different roles there you’re not going to be telling now in dealing with talent on a set, there are specific things but I’m not sure that’s the question. So I’m not right. So those are just two different things right there.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah, I mean I haven’t been on some sets with some pretty famous people. I think that like you, it is important to be careful with them. And I think that like, you know, don’t, there’s a why. When I worked on the Fox lot in Los Angeles, there was, there was a PA on the Sunday morning football show, right? And so Terry Bradshaw is there. He’s got like six super bowl rings or whatever, catching a pass from Terry Bradshaw. Right. And so the guy brings a football the first day and he’s like, man, would you please throw me a pass? And, and Bradshaw was like okay. And he’s like, can you catch a good pass? And cause I was like, yeah, absolutely throwing a pass. And so Racho whips a pass at it and you don’t realize how hard these guys throw. Right? And it goes right through his hands and breaks his nose.

 

Joel Janecek:

And this poor guy. So like next thing, next Workday wide company thing. Deer, all Fox employees, please do not, you know, we have many people visiting please don’t arm wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger or ask a UFC fighter to punch you in the face. And cause you know, people ask Mike Tyson for example, say hit them all the time. Like, please hit me. You don’t, don’t do that when, when they come cause they’re, it’s important too to remember they’re at work. Right? And so this is something how I, I’ve told people before like, yeah, you know who that is. But they are at work and you know, you can check out with them, maybe, you know, cup coffee, how commute, that’s fine. But like really, you know, don’t get too into it with them. They might be nice about it, but really you’re draining their energy. They’re going to have to go and deliver on camera. And if they just got into it with you and you’ve been like, what’d you do on that thing? Oh my God. And they’re like, they’re getting into it, but at the same time, like that’s not really serving the production well because you know, they need to like be quiet and chill and then go out and do their thing. So be careful about getting too chatty and and, and to up in their business, no matter how nice they are,

 

Robin Kincade:

Including directors, by the way, I’ve been on so many sets where I need my director to be focused and somebody from the crew comes up and they start to get, and the director is easily, easily distracted. It’s part of their makeup sometimes. And all of a sudden I’m watching, I’m not, I’m, I got 10 minutes. They’re having this little chitchat and I’m behind schedule and I’m furious because the person has no idea and they should know better. It is a big thing on the set to to that chit thinks of it.

 

Joel Janecek:

Yeah. It err, err towards, you know, being a little quieter.

 

Robin Kincade:

It’s a little quieter on the set and respectful of the person. But I mean, I think that, you know, talent, talent on the sets of a sticky wicket, you can get in trouble. I’ve spent days with, with talent and some of them are super nice, but you, you have to just watch her

 

Joel Janecek:

Really mind your P’s and Q’s. Be very careful. With, with, with all those people. I’ve definitely made some mistakes before and I had a weird joke or whatever and I’m like that, that was totally an unforced error. You know, I didn’t need to do that. You know, be, be quiet, be chill. Even if you have a bigger personality, it just, you know, let, let that come out after years of knowing them versus the first day, no matter how nice they are.

 

Robin Kincade:

Yeah.

 

Sarah Marince:

Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much. I have learned an incredible amount of information. You guys have been fantastic, and thank you for being here tonight, tonight, this afternoon, wherever you are. I’m in Orlando, so it’s, it’s nighttime here. And to our audience, let us know. Let us know what you’d like to hear at topics that you’d like us to cover in future webcasts. Please let us know and thank you so much for joining us on the shoots.video webcast this evening and I hope you all have a fantastic evening, afternoon, evening, wherever you are. Thank you guys. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you. Bye guys.

 

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