From the desk of Connie Conway. Insights from a Producer

©Ann Elliott Cutting

 

“You have how much to shoot this campaign?”

I catch myself thinking this all too often nowadays.  My name is Connie Conway and I am a producer for Hunter Freeman and other advertising photographers and this is my new reality.  Not a reality that I am fond of but one that I have learned to accept.  (If I didn’t I’d be bagging groceries at the local store and I’m sure the eggs won’t be on top!)

I tell the photographers that I work with that the budgets may be smaller, but smaller budgets just make me think smarter.  So much of this is obvious, but a reminder now and again is always helpful.

Here is what works for me:

-I remind the photographers that estimating is not personal, it is a process.

-I take full advantage of access to the key players at the beginning of the estimating process and am not afraid of asking the hard questions.  I prepare for “the call”.  Sometimes it is the only chance I will get to ask the money saving questions.  I ask the same of the photographers.

-I make suggestions, I brainstorm, I provide options.  I make the photographer and the client part of the decision making process.  I do not want to play art director, I just want to give them what they need so they can!

-I repurpose locations and I have alternate locations in my back pocket that can replace ones with high permit and location fees.

I make my crew aware up front – during the estimating process – about budget limitations. They need to feel like they are part of the decision to make this project come in on budget before they commit.

I pay my talent on set – a trick that often gets me the best talent, even when the budget is tight.

I anticipate challenges and deal with them before they become problems.

I am flexible and nimble and require the same of my crew.

I ask for a lot and freely take no for an answer. It can’t hurt to ask, right?

And, finally, while I know that I am a valuable part of a project, I never take for granted that there are many talented people who want to be working. I remind myself of that every day as I strive to be the smartest producer I can be.

One thought on “From the desk of Connie Conway. Insights from a Producer

  1. the smartest words- that EVERYONE needs to remind themselves of- are:
    “I remind the photographers that estimating is not personal, it is a process.”
    so true and we all tend to forget that.

    and as someone who works with you, I can testify that:
    “I ask for a lot and freely take no for an answer. It can’t hurt to ask, right?”

    But I forgot the part about you taking “no” for answer! (actually, I kid. You are one of the few producers who accepts a ‘no’ -but pushes when you know the “no” is unjustified – for which I am VERY thankful for!)

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