Taking ownership of your career by creating your own content is not just a growing trend, it’s fast becoming the norm. Gone are the days when bankability was solely measured by movie ticket sales and TV ratings; when the path to fame and success was limited to a few avenues; when only a handful of powerful companies had the means to get content out to the masses. The massive growth of YouTube and Vimeo and a number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have leveled the playing field, making it possible for just about any creative person to share their work with the world.
Kady Kamakate is a young Los Angeles based producer who’s not only navigating a career in this environment of many possibilities but also figuring out what it means to be an adult in the midst of it all. We caught up with her recently to chat about the various projects she’s working on and to find out if she’s come a little closer to having this adulating thing all figured out.
AAA: Kady, you just launched the ‘Short And Sweet’ podcast on Sound Cloud. Can you talk about the concept behind the podcast and why you decided on that particular medium as a means of expressing your creativity?
KK: I launched the podcast with my great friend and writer Brook Turner and the big theme of our podcast in adulting. I know, very millennial. Essentially, we’re talking about the trials of being an adult today. Things are increasingly challenging compared to what our parents had to deal with. For instance, student loans, housing, the job crisis, delayed family planning timelines and then a bunch of silly stuff like the terrors of doing laundry and budgeting. Or when you don’t budget and have to deal with the realities of that because face it, mom and dad aren’t bailing you out! We have fun with it and the thing about podcasts is there’s no pressure of the camera. I feel like this medium really allows us to be ourselves, to be very honest, and this is very much like the conversations Brook and I have regularly; we just share it with the public now.
Where do you see the Podcast going?
Right now we’re working on growing awareness of the show, and thinking of fun new ways to reach our audience. We hit a big milestone and have over 10k subscribers which is kinda CRAZY to think about. In the distant future, we’d love for it to grow outside of this medium; maybe turn into a digital show and online community.
What led you down the career path of a producer?
I’ve always wanted to be in the film industry. I’ve never had any other concrete dreams of working anywhere else. Producing, however, came much further down the line. At first I wanted to direct and for all I know I might circle back to that. But what I was drawn to early on is all the components it takes to make a film. It’s so much more than just a good script, money and crew. You’re really building a community/family, and there are a million nuances involved. There are also a million and one ways to be a producer – it’s not a straight shot and every project requires different needs. I love the fast pace and the collaborative nature of producing. It’s a thankless job but it’s one of the most rewarding.
What kinds of projects do you enjoy working on the most? What would your dream project be?
I’m really enjoying working on short form and digital content right now. I work quite often in the digital space with both branded and original content and the immediacy of it is really satisfying! You carry out an idea to reality on a much quicker timeline than features but, again, there are unique challenges that the medium poses. I’m not locked into a particular medium or story at this point. I’m just enjoying the ride and selecting projects based on the subject and the team attached. If you’re going to be in the trenches with someone for months or years, you better like them.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
I think there’s a misconception that producers need to carry all the burden, and I worked that way for a long time. Then you realize that your job is to make sure you’re delegating to the right people. It’s about growing and managing a team – not wearing a million hats and having them all fall off. It’s tough to delegate at times and sometimes budget just doesn’t allow it. But I’ve learned that my productions suffer if I don’t delegate so I push for that on all projects now.
What are the 3 top things you’d encourage an aspiring producer to do?
- This is a given, but get out there and work on as many projects as you can – for free, for gas money, for a meal – but just work! You learn so much by being on set.
- Secondly, give people a chance. I think sometimes we forget that our first break is usually someone going out on a limb for us and that’s important. Everyone needs a start and when you’re coming up it’s tough. So don’t forget that. With every project you take on, remember that it’s also an opportunity to grow your tribe and give back.
- Lastly, mistakes are ok. We’re not perfect and in our field sometimes mistakes can really crush a production. But we’re not doctors and we’re not working on legal cases. We’re making art and we need to remember that. So if you mess up, or someone on your crew does, salvage and solve as much as you can (that’s your job!) but keep it moving. We make art and sometimes that’s messy.
What other projects are you working on right now?
A huge career highlight for me is recently wrapping principal photography on a series that Mel Jones (Director), Davita Scarlett (Writer) and myself (producer) created a few years ago. We’re working with Macro Ventures and Homegrown (Stephanie Allain) and it’s been such a dream come true. To really develop a story with three friends and get to produce it, is honestly my career highlight thus far. I’m excited to share it with the world, a little nervous but mostly excited! I’ve also got two shorts in pre-production: one through the Project Involve program and the other with a director I met through the program a few years back. Both tell fantastic stories and I’m excited about bringing them to the screen.
Where can our readers follow you?
January 22, 2017 – Author: Constance Ejuma is an award-winning actress and producer. She’s also a current member of The3As board and spearheaded the launch of this site’s blog. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.