Name: Christina Jurado
Title: Freelance Production Coordinator or Production Manager (depends on the job) on Music Videos, Commercials, and Feature Films.
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
Honestly, it just depends on the day. I do a little bit of everything. I keep track of the budget, I help hire crew, negotiate deals, get equipment for a shoot locked in. As a Coordinator, my job is to make the call sheet and the pre production book (it’s a book that goes to the client, agency, or record label with all the job information and details). I am also responsible for making sure the crew knows what’s going on each day, if there are fittings, or meetings, or their call times for shoot days. I also make sure the Office staff orders lunch, gets coffee for the bosses, and are doing their jobs properly. On shoot days, I’m the first to arrive and the last one to leave, I make sure we are safe and staying on budget. I’m also responsible for making sure all the Talent, Agency, Label, and Client have all of their needs met and are happy with what’s being filmed. After we’re done shooting, it’s my job to make sure everyone gets paid, and in a timely manner; that includes paying for any gear we rented, all crew who worked, etc. I have to account for every penny we spend, and make sure contracts go out to the right parties, and that all the paperwork is organized so that there are no questions that come up about the job later on down the road.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
I love all parts of my job but I would have to say my favorite part is being on set. There is something about the energy that everyone brings to set, the idea that we are creating something that my outlive us, that will impress other generations, it’s kind of cool. Being on set is like being on an old wooden roller coaster where you have moments of calm and then moments of complete stress, where your heart is pounding a mile a minute, then moments of calm again, then moments of heart pounding exhilaration and it goes back and forth like that all day. I mean even when I’m stuck in my trailer, not able to even see any of the filming, it’s still this mind blowing experience because you never know what’s going to happen, no matter how much you prepare, something always happens!!!
How did you get into your field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
I went to film school with the intention of going into documentary film and making my own docs one day. Once I graduated, I got an internship with a producer, as his assistant. I figured I would see what a producer does, learn some things, and go back to documentary films after the internship ended. I didn’t know that I would fall in love with this job and that 5 years later, I’d still be doing this and still love it!!!
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
I think everyday in my job has surprises. I think when you start to get comfortable and you think you know what you’re doing, all of it sudden, it switches up. I guess I’m surprised how much, each day, I continue to learn about this job, this business, and how it’s never something that stays the same. My position and duties are always changing, job by job.
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
I think my education helped to get me here, but what I learned in film school has very little to do with what I actually do. I think it was important for me to go to college, so I could get the connections to meet the producer who gave me my start. The problem is that my degree is the creativity of film making; how films are made, why they are made a certain way, and how to make films from a creative stand point. Sometimes I think a business degree might have helped me better, but that the end of the day, this is a job where you have to start at the bottom (for the most part) and move your way up and you learn as you go. There are a lot of people I work with who only have a high school degree and do great, so I think it’s more about your dedication to learning this craft.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
I think what contributes to my job satisfaction is a little bit of everything. As I get better at what I do, I make more money and that’s a nice perk but I also get to work with people I like and get to make my own schedule. Because I am freelance, I can turn down any job I want, be that I don’t like how much money they are offering or I don’t like the other people on the job. I get to pick people I like to work with and talk to all sorts of people while finding gear. I get to learn about the newest technology in the film business and I get to learn from people who have been doing this for 50+ years. I get to travel the country and meet new people, work on really cool projects, and even when the project is bad, I usually can come away with a renewed view on my position.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
I think the key to what makes my job so great is that I honestly love what I do. I sometimes work 24 hours straight, with no sleep, sometimes even longer (longest on record for me is 43 hours with no sleep, working the whole time). Even despite all that, I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything. I think finding something you love, whether it pays well or not, is what matters. If you love it, and put your heart into it, you should be able to parlay it into a great job, a great career, and hopefully lots of money!!!