In honor of the back-to-school season, ReKon Productions has decided to take the classic “What I did on my Summer Vacation” assignment and give it a little twist. Everyone knows we spent our summer working on productions, what they might not know is who we spent the summer with. “Who Spent Their Summer Vacation with ReKon Productions” will be a five part interview series highlighting some of the cool kids we’ve gotten to work with these past few months.
Who Spent Their Summer Vacation with ReKon Part One:
Amanda Scarano Carter, ReKon Stage Project Manager
Interviewed by Katie Barreira
When ReKon Productions set out to start their journey into sound stage construction, we began as any experienced adventurer does – seeking advice and guidance from our community. It is by luck and the modern marvels of social media connectivity that we found such a seasoned and patient guide in Amanda.
Amanda joined our team back in the Spring as the ReKon Stage Project Manager. She has been with us each step of the way from plans to permits, from ground breaking to the last coat of paint. Amanda has spent the summer falling to the comfortable charms of our office couch and impressively staying strong in her refusal to eat our constant supply of sweets. As ReKon Studio officially opens its doors to the the world this week, we invite everyone to get to know a little bit more about one of the key players in making our stage a reality.
Production management is a vital part of the entertainment industry not often discussed, can you tell us a bit about what being a project manager in the construction industry entails?
Production Management for, say, a film project and Project Management for a studio build are similar in that they’re about putting the pieces together. It’s about finding the right people to do a job and then managing all parts of the process along the way. You are most successful if you can have contingency plans to deal with challenges as they arise.
I also understand that your father has experience in the project managing field. How has his work influenced your own in terms of the way you approach your undertakings as a consultant?
My father is one of the pioneers in the field of construction management. He saw a need for someone to be in the middle of all the disciplines to manage the process. I always said he was producing buildings, while I was producing films. And now I’m producing studios too! Mainly, Dad has helped to give me perspective on how manageable every problem can be. He worked on massive projects like the Pentagon and the Getty Center, so if they were able to overcome issues faced on those fronts surely we can make our projects work!
What are the benefits of a company having its own soundstage?
Apart from the obvious revenue a company can bring in by having their own stage, having a studio at home base allows a company to have more fun and experiment, which is where many great ideas and projects are born. That freedom to be creative and the flexibility to play can pay back for a creative team many times over.
I know you have prior experience as a producer; what lessons have you been able to pull and apply to managing a project as opposed to a production?
My experience in film production means that I understand what makes a good shooting experience. I strive to find that experience for my clients by building and improving stages and their operations. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can solve a lot of problems up front if you put some time and effort into thinking it through to the end. I also found success by paying attention to what is working and not working, and adapting over time, wherever cost-effective. Also with changing technology, studio needs change over time, so it pays to be flexible enough to deal with the evolving landscape.
What is your dream project (with complete disregard of logistics and finances)?
I want to create collaborative studio spaces which are combinations of sound stages, creative co-ops and incubators. These will be places that foster creativity, allowing talented people to work together and feed off each others’ ideas and innovations. I’d love these spaces to serve as a place for mentoring to thrive as well, with a mix of more established professionals of all disciplines working with up and comers, so that they can all learn from each other. The incubator aspect will help provide funding so that projects that originate at the space have a shot at getting produced as well. I see these spaces as mini-studios focused on micro-budgets and the more independent content that can benefit from a little help to break down the barriers to entry.
Tell me how was your experience working with ReKon Productions?
I knew from my first meeting with Lesley Lopez that the ReKon team was a smart, savvy group of go-getters with a definite plan. They are a highly respected team who has made a great name for themselves in a relatively short period of time. Their focus and dedication to their projects is really impressive and has won them loyal clients. I respect their commitment to professionalism and transparency, while still keeping it fun. I know that the addition of the ReKon stage is going to allow them to up their game and create unexpected opportunities. I look forward to seeing the results!
Is there any film or television depiction that you feel accurately portrays the process of construction?
I’m not up on all construction related films, but I guess APOCALYPSE NOW is a good representation of what happens when trying to build something. HA! I CAN say that one of my favorite film depictions of filmmaking is BOWFINGER. Now THAT’S a movie about making movies!
More about Amanda:
With her consultancy company, Green Penny Productions, Amanda provides general management services, including business development, streamlining and overseeing operations for entertainment focused facilities and businesses. Previously Amanda was Studio Director for New Masters Studio, a boutique film studio in El Segundo, CA. Additionally, her career spans over 20 years of film production, including overseeing physical production and co-producing films for 13 years at Pierce Brosnan’s MGM based film
production company, Irish DreamTime. She has been a member of the Producers Guild of America since 2003.
Amanda is also passionate about the intersection of Arts and Sustainability, serving as West Coast Chair of the Producers Guild’s Green Initiative (providing free Green tools and resources for entertainment professionals) and Managing Director of Arts Earth Partnership (providing Green Business Certifications for the Arts & Cultural Sector in Los Angeles).
Amanda is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Executive Management Program.
Amanda was born in Connecticut, and spent some time in Chicago before settling in Houston. She now lives in Venice, CA with her husband and small tribe of assorted beasties.