Film producers roundtable: ‘Being the Ricardos,’ ‘Belfast,’ ‘The Power of the Dog,’ ‘tick, tick… Boom!’

“I was given a piece of advice by legendary British television producer and filmmaker Tony Garnett,” remembers “The Power of the Dog” producer Tanya Seghatchian. “Tony said to me, trust taste. The only thing that matters is your taste. Have it, stick to it, and one day you’ll be called upon to actually stand by it and deliver it.” Seghatchian joined our “Meet the Experts” Film Producers Panel along with Todd Black (“Being the Ricardos”), Tamar Thomas (“Belfast”), and Julie Oh (“tick, tick… Boom!“) to discuss lessons they’ve learned in their field and more. Watch our group roundtable discussion above. Click each name above to watch that person’s individual interview.

Black agrees with Seghatchian and adds that up-and-coming producers should “find a piece of material” they’re passionate about, a story that would excite them to tell, whether it’s “from a local newspaper in a little tiny town that you grew up in, or a big newspaper in a town or city you grew up in, maybe go into a bookstore that sells wonderful used books and you can talk to the bookstore purveyor and say, what are your favorite books that nobody’s ever heard of?”

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Oh was given “a similar piece of advice” to Seghatchian’s: “Your taste and your relationships are everything. And when I got it, I was too young to understand what that meant,” but over time she discovered that “having a point of view that you’re coming to the table with” is crucial, and “almost every single person I’ve met at some point in my career always comes back in some way that is meaningful and important, so that advice that I got when I was very young actually ended up being the truest thing.”

“It’s about asking questions,” says Thomas about the importance of openness when forging those relationships. “Ask for help, say I have advice, admit that you don’t know, and say what can I do? You’ll find that most of the community are kind and will give you time and will help you if they can. You’ll be amazed about how many people you meet and then how those opportunities then open up for you.”

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