others) involves massive coordination and discipline. She mentions in our conversation the
vulnerability of the freelancer, “the biggest obstacles involve your own mind because you
will be criticized constantly because the freelancer is the easiest person to throw under the
bus. When there’s a bad situation when somebody has made a bad decision and
when causes and conditions are such the things don’t go the way the client hoped the
freelancer and it’s almost always the producer and not the director that will get thrown
under the bus.”
Our conversation addressed the reasons why “getting thrown under the bus” happens
more often to female producers and segues into how she became a compassionate
freelancer. “That’s where your Buddhist practice helps you to separate and see what’s
essential. I used to feel little sympathy for clients. I thought they should educate
themselves to the process, spend more time with it and stop being neurotic. I’m like buck
up and take some responsibility. I realize that people on the client side of corporate
production have a whole lot of other responsibilities. They can’t be production
professionals and that’s why they hire you. You’ve got to educate them to the process and
that requires a whole lot of patience getting their attention. Explaining to them why you
can’t cut these two crewmembers off the list in an effort to pinch pennies. You have to feel
for their position. They’re usually running scared from their bosses.” She interjects, “that’s
another reason to be a freelancer because you’re the boss.”
Carol understands the importance of bringing her Buddhist practice to work, “it’s staying
calm; practicing my patience with others; trying to understand their needs; and doing
whatever you can to realize their needs. When it’s irrational, you can’t get angry. You have
to walk them through the logic.” She comments that micromanagement is the thing that
creates stress and kills projects. Carol has the standard stories about difficult clients but
frames our conversation with common sense approaches for dealing with challenges.
She tells the story of a so-called “The Dragon Lady” that everyone feared at this one
company. Carol recognized that this woman only wanted to be kept in the loop because
that’s her job. “She’s a brand marketing person. They are notoriously persnickety because
guess what it’s their job to protect the brand. They’re strategists and the brand police
will come smack you if you do something outside their guidelines. Well, I figured that out in
no time that all she wanted was for people to not pull shit over on her. She wanted to be in
the informational loop and know what was going on. At five o’clock every day, I would
send her a little email letting her know what went on for the day. She adored me.
About a year later, I was working for a different production company on a job and it was
the same large corporation that shall remain nameless. ‘They’re like this client was so
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