Q&A with Leslie Lucey, Producer (Simshar, Uncle Nick)
Q: How do you begin to prep a project?
A: I work closely with the director to get a firm understanding of what they have in mind for the creative. Then I begin to assemble the team. We build together.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of production on a feature film?
A: When working with first time feature film directors, it is important to make sure they understand they are making the film for an audience and it must be commercially viable. This includes casting known actors. You have to make sure the film will be distributed and in order to do that, you must budget accordingly, hire the right crew, and negotiate the contracts well. Additionally, you have to start with the end in mind. You need to have your editor on set from the start of production, and you need to keep money aside for finishing and legal fees.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a producer?
A: I remember my film school orientation, there was a handful of new students around the table, and each one was supposed to say what they were going to do. Until that moment, I had not decided what I would be doing in the film industry. As each person around the table said, "director," "director", "cinematographer", "director", "director"... finally I knew, and it was my turn... "producer!"...I guess I just wanted to be different.
Q: Why do you enjoy filmmaking?
A: I grew up going to film sets with my dad, he was an actor in shows like Mork and Mindy, and Laverne and Shirley. I always wanted to make movies. It wasn't until I went to film school at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, that I decided I wanted to be a producer. I enjoy helping a creative director bring their visions to life. Nothing is more exciting then seeing an audience respond to the work it took an army to create. I love being apart of that.
Q: What directors have you worked with?
A: The first ever short film that I produced was called "Magdalene", written and directed by Rebecca Cremona. We took that film to the Cannes short film corner in 2008 and sold it to Shorts International. After working with Rebecca on "Magdalene", we teamed up again for our first feature film, "Simshar" which was distributed by Gravitas Ventures and was the first ever submission to the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language category from Malta. My second feature film "Uncle Nick" was with Director, Chris Kasick. We had worked together for years at Digital Kitchen creating original documentaries for AT&T U-verse. "Uncle Nick" was distributed by MPI. Both films are available on VOD on iTunes and Amazon. While at Digital Kitchen I also worked with two amazing emerging directors, Rebecca Hamm and Nik Kleverov, each with their own unique voice we made several documentaries together. I look forward to continuing on the journey of collaboration with these and other directors.