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Meet Your Makers: Isabel Cafaro-Anderson on Giving Others a Voice


Assembly's supervising DI producer on trial and error, the importance of trust and the not so glitz and glamour of producing

Meet Your Makers: Isabel Cafaro-Anderson on Giving Others a Voice

Isabel Cafaro-Anderson is a 10+ year veteran in the Film and TV industry. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada but now calls New York her home, Isabel recently joined Assembly as Supervising DI Producer. She has worked the ranks from PA, to assistant director, to Producer, settling into the Post-Production world, where she has been for the past six years. Prior to joining Assembly, Isabel has worked at Refinery29, Postworks, and Lightiron, where some producer credits include various branded video content for companies like Sorel and Neutrogena, Netflix's Springsteen on Broadway, HBO Max's Gossip Girl, and HBO's Scenes From A Marriage. 

LBB> What first attracted you to production - and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area? 

Isabel> I’ve always had an affinity for film and TV, and it all started when I was a kid, watching Annie (1982 version) over and over again. I knew I wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry. Producing just came natural to me so that is what I wanted to do.

LBB> What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career? 

Isabel> My first (paid) role in production was actually a receptionist at a well-known post production facility. Directors, cinematographers, and producers would come by to make their projects and it was always so great seeing them view their final product. It made me realise I wanted to be a part of that finishing process.

LBB> How did you learn to be a producer? 

Isabel> Trial and error! There’s no right or wrong way of being a producer. I learned from experience, and I’m still learning with every day.

LBB> Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a producer? 

Isabel> I was asked to produce a short film a friend of mine wrote and wanted to direct. This short had no money whatsoever, so that challenge was to make something great without financial backing. I called in a lot of favours and created a film that ended up being award-winning. 

LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? 

Isabel> I’d say this is true. A producer should be organised, and gather resources needed for any type of production, all under budget. The medium shouldn’t matter when you know how to see a project through from beginning to end.

LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why? 

Isabel> I love working with first time filmmakers, directors, cinematographers, screenwriters. Helping them to see their hard-earned work come to life is always rewarding.

LBB> How has production changed since you started your career? 

Isabel> Almost everything has changed! When I started, the majority of movies were shot on 35mm film. Now, everything is digital, to the cameras projects are shot on, to their deliverables. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu were not even in existence, so seeing that form and become as popular as they are now is astonishing. 

LBB> And what has stayed the same? 

Isabel> The starry-eyed filmmakers seeing their passion projects come to life.

LBB> What do you think is the key to being an effective producer - and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned? 

Isabel> Resourcefulness and killer problem-solving skills, which can be learned. You have to be adaptable, and aware that you did not choose a 9-5 profession. There will be late nights, and seven-day work weeks.

LBB> Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of it? 

Isabel> This was in my day as a production assistant on a TV show, but I once had to drive three hours (there and back) to pick up a custom-made leather harness for a pig. This was for a cooking show, so you can imagine how crazy that was. 

LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?

Isabel> I eventually want to work my way up to a place where I can financially and resourcefully give women and POC filmmakers an accessible platform to create and distribute their work. The industry is still very white male dominated and we need to work harder to give others a voice.

LBB> As a producer your brain must have a neverending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?

Isabel> Spending time with my family is very important to me, so when I’m with them, I try to shut work out as much as possible. I like to relax by doing art projects or reading with my four year old daughter.

LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive? 

Isabel> I like how this job isn’t redundant. Every project is unique, which keeps work interesting.

LBB> What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?

Isabel> If you’re in it for the glitz and glamour, producing is not for you.

LBB> From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?

Isabel> A hard-working and dedicated team who respect each other. 

LBB> What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship? 

Isabel> Trust and openness: Clients who are spending money don’t like being lied to. If something can’t be done for some reason, tell them! They’d rather hear the truth than hear empty promises. Being honest leads to lasting (and reoccurring) relationships.

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Assembly, Fri, 07 Jan 2022 08:16:35 GMT