Sarah De Leon
"Who knows how to produce?"
A heavy silence fell over my class as that question hung in the air. My professor looked out at a sea of college students purposefully avoiding his gaze.
I was part of a television class that produced web series throughout the school year. Two students got to be creators and it was time to fill in the other positions. Most people in the class wanted to be a director or a cinematographer. When it came time to pick a producer, there was an immediate shift in energy.
In high school, I was a stage manager for the spring musicals. I also held multiple leadership positions including Vice President of both band and drama. For the record, I'm not telling you this to brag. I'm telling you this so you know why unearned confidence coursed through my body and forced my hand to cut through the silence.
I looked around, nervous. I was worried my nose was about to start growing. But a sense of relief fell over the room and my professor just nodded and wrote my name on the board next to 'Producer'. Something about it looked right. And thus, my producing career was born.
I didn't know the first thing about being a producer until I soon discovered I actually did. Years of leadership experience had prepared me for what it takes. I am a natural-born producer and with each project I take on, I only get better.
Producing: My Skill Set
the de leon difference
I'm an Efficient Hard Worker:
Producing is like a 6 -12 month adrenaline rush. My mind is always racing and trying to stay one step ahead by thinking: "What needs to be done next?"
I'm Organized and Thorough:
I'm a big list person. They organize my whole life and there is nothing more satisfying than going through a checklist and crossing items off one by one. Lists are how I write emails, conduct production meetings, create presentations, and assign crew members tasks. My life is run by them and if you work with me, so will yours.
I Take Pride in The Crews I Help Assemble:
When assembling a crew, I take experience, talent, and traits into consideration. Are they Reliable? Do they Communicate Effectively? Can they adhere to a Budget? Are they Cooperative? Are they Kind?
I Have Connections with Incredible Above-The-Line & Below-The-Line Crew Members:
I have worked with well-rounded filmmakers of all ages, backgrounds, and various levels of expertise who have all the traits and talents I need from them and then some. If you work with the best you learn from the best, so I've had the pleasure of learning almost everything I know from some of the greatest crew members I would happily work with again in a heartbeat.
If you work with me, I will bring along an incredible crew of dedicated hard workers.
I Really Care About Food:
I do not mess around when it comes to food on a set. I have personally witnessed the astounding difference that a satisfying, wide selection of food makes during production. Crews who are happy, healthy, and well-fed work efficiently and have more energy. Cast members who are satisfied can concentrate better and have more confidence in themselves and their performances.
I make sure the directing team remembers to eat since they hardly take a break during a shoot.
I am hyper-aware of everyone's dietary restrictions.
I have perfected a list of ideal food and drinks to have at craft services and maintain an ongoing list of good caterers for meals.
I Care About My Team:
I like to have what I refer to as a "Professional Friendship" with my crew members. If anyone on the team needs anything -- anything at all -- I want to know and I want to help. Ride to set? I'll coordinate it. Safe space to rant? I'm here to listen. Need cigarettes? A babysitter? Advice? A Letter of Rec? I'll do what it takes to make my crew feel safe, welcomed, respected, and valued. That's what good friends do. That's what good producers do, too.
I Am Not Afraid to Admit When I Don't Know What To Do:
I value honesty in a team. There' is nothing that hurts a project more than miscommunication and lying. As confident as I am in my producing skills, I still recognize that I am young and have much to learn about the industry and everything that this job entails. I am bound to make some mistakes, accidentally forget something, or come across situations I've never handled and things I don't know how to do. I will ask for help. I will turn to the people I trust. I will strive to keep growing as a filmmaker.
I'm a Well-Rounded Individual Who has Extensive Knowledge on a Wide Variety of Topics:
I am a storyteller at heart who loves...a lot of stuff. And you'd be surprised at how often knowledge from my personal life benefits my professional life. I'm like JD in Scrubs.
As a brief overview of who I am outside of work:
I'm obsessed with my dogs. I read and watch a little bit of everything. I listen to an eclectic range of music both old and new. I keep up with memes & popular culture. I love American History and British Literature.
I read a lot of graphic novels -,, particularly DC comics. I volunteer at Comic-Con every year and put together a new cosplay for all four days of the event.
I am an amusement park junkie - specifically for Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.
I was a theater kid and a band geek. I was a black belt in Karate. I danced for 8 years. When I was younger I wanted to become an actress. (I got to be on a Nickelodeon game show during that time).
I've worked at a movie theater as a general crew member and as a bartender. I've catered to children's birthday parties. I've worked in marketing. I've tutored students and watched pets. I've been an Office Administrator and an Executive Assistant.
I am a first-generation Filipino/Italian woman. I've been in love with four men. I have a lot of friends and family all over the United States with various backgrounds, cultures, and ideas of what it means to have fun.
I am an eclectic American with the experience, attitude, and skill set needed to be your producer.