So What Makes a Former Script Supervisor Think She Can be a Producer?

Film Clapper Board

Oh, it gets even better.  I used to be a Personal Trainer…for years…before it was even popular to be “into” fitness.  I also taught aerobic classes and was teaching a class based on Billy Banks Tae Bo (ok, stop laughing) when I destroyed my knee by getting my shoe caught on the studio carpet and took a pretty serious tumble.  Anyway, it ended my year's long fitness career.

It was then that I was forced into returning to school and because I never wanted to do that in the first place, I rebelled and decided I was going to study something I wanted to study as opposed to studying something that would land me smack dab back in the middle of corporate America where I never wanted to be again after having worked for the government for over a decade.  A place where I wanted to deck every single chauvinist I laid eyes on.  But I digress…

I decided instead to study film…producing to be exact.  Well, you can’t believe the backlash I got from that decision.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE said, “what are you going to do with that kind of a degree?” I proceeded anyway, in spite of all the negativity and thank god I did!  

I was in a seminar for one of my producing classes when we had a speaker who told us if you never want to be unemployed, study Script Supervising.  I talked to him after class and decided that’s what I would do.  It wasn’t corporate America after all, so I looked into it and found a school in L.A. that specialized in that very subject.  Four days after graduation I was working and loving it!  Take that all you naysayers!  

That was my job for a decade and I shined.  I’m a bit anal, so being in charge of continuity was the perfect job for me.  Not only keeping track of continuity but being the director’s right hand also provided much insight into the way a film production works.  In addition to that, the producers - when they’re on set - usually sit directly behind the Script Supervisor.  

That was a brilliant opportunity to learn from the horse’s mouth how things work, what to do and not do and how to travel the path without getting discouraged and sidelined.  When I decided that’s what I wanted to do, one of those very wise producers said to me, just jump in, swim fast and don’t let anyone steal your power.  He was a brilliant man and former psychiatrist who closed his practice to become a producer.  Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire!

Kathleen Messmer Quote_Film Production

Once I decided to start a production company, the gloves came off.  I was determined that my company would be a woman-owned and operated company with projects that carry a message without being preachy and that we would do it in spite of the roadblocks we faced from the “good ole’ boys club” that is Hollywood.  So - we’re doing it.  It hasn’t been easy and it’s required so many leaps of faith and disappointments you can’t imagine.  However we are in development and/or pre-production on seven projects and have a team of many - a village if you like - who are all poised to make not just our projects a reality, but also to grow along with the company and as individuals.  We practice triple bottom line accounting (people, planet, profit) and are doing a bang-up job of it.  We utilize Relational Interaction Agreements (RIAs) so that there’s a guideline as to how not only the company treats people, but how we all treat each other.  How things are done is a big deal at Anvil Springs Entertainment and that’s just the way I like it.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what makes me think I’m a Producer.  I know how to run a business, how to treat people with care and respect, how to get all the ducks in a row and how to ask for help when I don’t.  I don’t dwell on problems, I find solutions.  And I never give up…kind of like when a dog sinks their teeth into something and won’t let go.