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Published on January 9th, 2013 | by Palette Magazine

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Gina Boyer – Film/TV Documentary Producer

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By Palette Magazine

Gina has established herself in the documentary world. She has worked on, Pray The Devil Back To Hell, Women War & Peace, History Undercover: Road Map to Pearl Harbor.

Q:Tell me how you started in entertainment. Did you have the goal to be a producer when you were in school?

I think I hoped to be the next Oprah when I started school, but quickly realized that I was too shy and hated the sound of my voice, so I nixed that idea very quickly. In the end, I decided that I did want to be a producer, but I don’t think I really knew everything that went into being a producer back then. Actually, I still don’t!

Q:What were your first jobs? Were they what you expected?

My introduction to the media industry was through internships and I can’t stress how important they were early on in my career. My first internship was at an ad agency’s yellow pages department (yep, that’s how old I am). That internship gave me my first real glimpse at corporate America. The second one was at a radio station in London while I was studying abroad (I also highly recommend this to anyone in college, if they can afford it). Having these on my resume helped me land my last internship at a PBS station in Philadelphia during my last year in college, which lead to my first career-related job as a freelance Production Assistant.

I don’t think I had many expectations at that point in my life. In some ways I was lucky to have those internships seemingly land in my lap, but luck is basically recognizing a good opportunity when you see one! I didn’t say no to any work-related experience – film and television production are relationship-based industries, so I would take a job (usually for free) almost anytime someone asked in order to add to my resume, get experience and meet more people in hopes that it would lead to a paying gig.

Q: I saw you have experience with scripted and documentary film, what’s the difference in the producers role?

I think the title Producer is such a fluid one. The hairdresser of a movie star can get a producer’s credit in a feature film along with the person who is running the whole operation. To me, the producer of a feature film is like the COO of a corporation and the Director is the CEO – they are the person who generally has to say yes or no to the non-creative decisions so that the Director can be sure that their vision makes it to the screen.

In documentaries, it’s a bit different because it’s usually a smaller scale operation and usually 1/10th of the budget! Again, it also can be a fluid title. On some docs, the Producer and Director are the same person. Usually, the Producer has a lot more say in how the film is structured and the story is told…while also making sure that the budget is adhered to.

In both cases, the producer is generally the person who raised the money to get the film made.

Q: How do you think being a woman and a person of color has informed your career?

Ahh…this is an interesting question! Honestly? I used to try not to let it, but that’s sort of impossible. I would have to say that it made me much more discerning about who I work for and what projects I work on. I’ve been in some pretty icky situations and in the end, I learned that I have to respect the person I’m working for or else I’d burn the bridge on my way out the door. Because of that, I went through some very lean times in the beginning, but things turned around quite nicely.

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