Taraneh Golozar is an Iranian filmmaker, producer, and entrepreneur. As the daughter of a chemical engineer, she was poised to follow a similar path; however, a strong curiosity and interest in film led her to seek higher education in Animation and Media Production where she became obsessed with the world of visual effects and films.
Taraneh landed her first film credit in 2010 as the animator and producer of the award-winning short, "ATTN: Mr. Democrat," which was the winner of the Democracy Video Challenge. She then began to produce low-budget indie films, such as "Radio Dreams" that became the highlight of many festivals worldwide. The success from these films brought her attention and credibility and launched her career as a producer.
Today, Taraneh is elevating her passion for filmmaking by creating short forms in support of a cause, in addition to producing various ad campaigns for clients including Google, Android, Airbnb, Facebook, Robinhood, Panasonic, Vespa, Clif, Gymshark, and more.
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?
Taraneh> Being raised in an Iranian family, you're pushed towards choosing careers in engineering, law or medicine. I started my adulthood as an industrial engineer but I never felt more content than when I was first introduced to the world of visual effects. The transition wasn't an easy decision but it’s one that has certainly changed my life for the better.
I entered the industry as a roto artist and learned my way through the animation/visual effects world. One day, I got hired as a VFX supervisor on set and that's when I knew I wanted to become a producer. I wanted to be part of both worlds: production and post - the bridge that takes the idea from inception to completion.
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?
Taraneh> Surprisingly, my first role in the production world was as a line producer. I found myself with a group of talented filmmakers working on a feature length sci-fi film. That project taught me a lot about the industry and myself, and I'm forever grateful for the lessons I learned.
What at first felt overwhelming, ultimately became smoother because of the exceptional crew. They tackled the production issues as a team; leaning on each department’s expertise and always keeping the bigger picture in focus.
This taught me that teamwork is key. You are paralyzed without the support of a great crew.
LBB> How did you learn to be a producer?
Taraneh> Being a producer is a never-ending learning curve. It's not solely about organizational skills, or being savvy with the scheduling/budgeting or task management platforms. It's more about being a people person. Learning how to read a room, the body language, the tone of the voice.
As a producer, you're the filter between your crew and the world, and part of your responsibility is to protect them from others and themselves; to act as a buffer between the unforeseen hiccups, difficult clients, and to understand their thresholds and boundaries.
So, you learn by simply observing and communicating. And that's what I did! I observed, so I learned!
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? Why/why not?
Taraneh> I couldn't agree more with this statement. I have worked as a producer in different mediums, from gaming to tech, music videos to commercials, and short to feature-length films and they all require the same set of skills. The only variance is the outcome, the timeline associated with it, and the budget. The producer's main focus is not the medium, but his/her creative partner.
A good producer is the director or creative’s support system. He/she is there to brainstorm solutions in making their idea and dream come true. This dream might be shaped in an animated form, a game, an exhibition and so on; however, the process still remains the same!
LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why?
Taraneh> Whether it’s live-action or animation, production allows you to create a new world and nothing is more fascinating than being part of that process. The variety is what sparks my interests!
LBB> How has production changed since you started your career?
Taraneh> One of the biggest things I have noticed is the increase in diversity. What used to be a heavily male-oriented world has shifted to a wide array of talent in front and behind the camera, and I absolutely love it.
LBB> And what has stayed the same?
Taraneh> Nothing has stayed the same, except the passion of the people who work in this space. Passion is the root of all great work.
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?
Taraneh> Loving what you do and knowing that you're always a student is the ethos I live by. There’s always a better or more effective way of doing things and as long as you're open to learn, you will be effective.
LBB> Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?
Taraneh> There are a handful of productions I am proud of, such as the Android “Being Human Is” Docuseries, ATTN “Mr. Democrat,” “Airbnb “Moving Backwards,” and my short film, “A Persian Affair.” They all have one thing in common, which is a notion of change. A voice highlighting a cause via a brand.
Our voice is our identity and I gravitate towards productions that allow us to use our voice for the greater good.
LBB> And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges?
Taraneh> From the last few productions, Android “Being Human Is” Docuseries, Gymshark “Black History Month” or even my latest for Vespa “The Collectors,” all presented their own unique challenges, which I'm sure can be said for all productions throughout the pandemic. The pandemic brought a multitude of obstacles to our industry and with that, filmmaking of any kind became a difficult yet intriguing puzzle for all producers to solve.
With all its downfalls, 2020 enabled us to work remotely and gifted us the ability to work with talented artists around the world. It blurred the city limits and restrictions defined by time. The “Being Human Is” Docuseries is a great example. During its seven months of production, we worked with roughly 120 different talents around the world, from Canada to India to Estonia, Italy, and France, not to mention the various cities in the US, from the East to West Coast. Managing each department and its members in different time zones was a challenge, yet it was also a delightful journey because of the talented people involved. That project is one of my all-time favorites as we mastered a new way of creating while learning to live through a pandemic...
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?
Taraneh> A good producer doesn’t kiss and tell, but I'll bite :)
Let's imagine a scenario. It’s day 18 of 38. A leading actor throws a fit during production as his lead actress confronts him about their romantic endeavor gone wrong from the night before. We had two main talent in the middle of the shoot who didn't want to be in the same room as each other, nor did they want to complete the show if the other person was involved.
We had to think on our feet, change the shot list, and schedule in a way that prevented them from ever being in one scene or even catching a glimpse of one another on set. This allowed us to de-escalate the situation and complete the day... which ultimately saved the show.
LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?
Taraneh> I have dreamt of being an executive at Warner Brothers ever since I can remember. A goal that has pushed me every day to excel. In my eyes, Warner Brothers has always represented the top of the industry and I cannot wait until I can embody the same language at my current company as we look to expand our team in creating original content, TV shows, and feature-length movies.
LBB> As a producer your brain must have a neverending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?
Taraneh> I have an ever-changing process, as one release method is never enough. Things become boring and redundant, so I switch between exercising, drawing, writing or at times, just watching movies with my dog.
But one thing that has always remained the same is tending to my indoor garden, my sanctuary. My plants have become part of my family, as some have been with me for years and nothing brings me more peace than tending to their needs.
LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive?
Taraneh> I love puzzles and I love numbers. Being a producer is like playing Tetris with numbers. You can never predict the next move. It's an exhilarating feeling to be able to overcome the challenges!
LBB> What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?
Taraneh> Being a producer is not a 9-to-5 job. It's a labor of love. It becomes the air you breathe.
It's a task that requires your full attention during odd hours, in weird locations, in different time zones while working with contrasting personalities, restrictions, and so on. However, when you give your heart to it, nothing is impossible as the journey is part of the reward. So, my advice to any up-and-coming producer would be to understand that there will be peaks and there will be valleys. But if you embrace the lifestyle, it will allow you to see, learn, and experience a bigger world.
LBB> From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?
Taraneh> In my book, communication is the key ingredient for a successful production, but all good communication starts with listening. Effective listening saves you time, reduces misunderstandings, and enhances your ability to influence.
LBB> What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship?
Taraneh> Flexibility and knowing that we all share a common goal, which is to create something great. But getting to that finish line isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Being open minded makes the process smoother and in many instances, produces a better final product