|Featured Member: Pamela Keller|
AP Council Board of Delegates
My mom has a story that I used to give direction to my sister and our friends when we would play with Barbies. "No, say [the line] like this. We have to arrange the furniture this way, so Ken can enter from the back of the house, and Skipper will be surprised…' My mom asked if I was a director and I didn't know what the heck she was talking about.
I believe my love for storytelling is what attracted me initially, and it's what keeps me passionate about the business to this day.
2. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY?
I was a receptionist in a high-end post house in San Francisco. I moonlighted as a non-equity stage manager at a small theatre, and invited the producer clients to come see my show in the hopes that they would see similarities in the job, take a chance on me, and hire me as a PA. This was in the 90s when Industrial Light + Magic still had a commercials division. I guess it worked, because luckily, I was hired to work on the ad agency side as a production coordinator on a series of ILM's spots for Intel.
3. HOW DID YOU START OUT AS A PRODUCER?
When Julia Sweeney was gearing up to perform her second monologue In The Family Way at the Groundlings Theatre; my second job was as one of the staff house managers.
I admired Julia's work, and never had the chance to see God Said Ha! when it was at San Francisco's Magic Theatre years ago. At the time, I was struggling to make ends meet, and the ticket price was too high for me to afford.
I looked up to Julia, and thought how great it would be if she could be my mentor. I begged and pleaded with my Groundlings boss to let me house manage her show, so he put me on the schedule.
After a few weeks, I finally got the nerve to ask her if she needed an assistant. I remember she looked at me and said, "Oh, that’s so sweet!" She thought it would be helpful if I could help her out on the weekends, so I gladly accepted my third job. Eventually, she hired me as her full-time business assistant and later, as the producer for her third monologue Letting Go of God In Los Angeles. Up until that point, however, I wasn't really sure what to focus on, because everything in this business seemed so dang fun. Producing the play was when something clicked for me, and I knew I was finally in my wheelhouse.
4. WHAT LED YOU TO JOIN THE PGA?
Ever since I knew of the Producers Guild, it became one of my career goals to become a member. I heard of the continuing workshops, and thought of it as an opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the business, and that it would in turn, make me better at what I do.
5. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER/COMMITTEE WORK YOU DO FOR THE GUILD?
My favorite project is Rough Cuts West, which I help run for the Documentary/Non-fiction Committee. A member submits a rough cut or trailer of a doc or non-fiction project, and screens for to our panel of experts (also PGA members). The panel provides constructive criticism and professional advice, which allows the filmmaker to make changes and improve upon their work. I believe everyone in the room learns something from the experience, and it’s a great way for members to network with each other. In fact, we're looking for projects to screen, and if anyone is interested, they can shoot me an email.
6. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I recently wrapped Season 3 of Good Luck Charlie for the Disney Channel, working as production coordinator, and am currently prepping as the floor director and production manager for the University of Mixed Martial Arts’ next show at LA Live's Club Nokia on October 21st. I'm (already!) in talks about next year’s Produced By Conference, and have a few other irons in the fire in the development stage.
7. WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING PROJECTS, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
Theatre has taught me the most. I have to say, working with a live audience is the greatest. It's pure, instant feedback, and watching their faces as they're involved in the story can fill you with such joy.