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MENTORING MATTERS - You Never Know Who Your Perfect Mentor Might Turn Out To Be

Posted By Julie Janata, Monday, April 17, 2017

The PGA Mentoring Program has provided a great opportunity for me. I am a producer/director/editor, primarily of indie features and feature documentaries. I’ve earned two Emmy Awards and 10 producer credits. I’m proud of the work I’ve done; it’s put me in a great position to pursue the next stage of my career—developing my own projects to produce and direct. This is a long and winding road, I know. But then aren’t we producers always in transition?

As I was making the transition into development, I sought out the Mentoring Program. The committee interview was thorough and pointed, but conducted in an extremely supportive spirit—they were committed to finding me a great match. Ultimately the committee paired me with a mentor I never expected, perhaps someone I would never have met, but the perfect fit for me at this point in my career.

My mentor, Oren Segal, is a producer, a manager and of course, a PGA member, an ideal guide to help me strategize my next career moves. In every meeting, phone call and email, he was full of energy, a hotbed of ideas, freely sharing his experiences and contacts. His advice is always specific and eminently useful. He encouraged me to pitch him my first project. We talked about it in depth, which lead to my decision to revise parts of it with the writer. Oren is clear-eyed, but he also helped me see the big picture with a fresh point of view. We discussed the process of packaging and attaching talent to projects. Like a great collaborator, he offered me an open door, so I’m assured to have wise guidance available in the future.

With Oren’s encouragement and advice, I took a new job as producer, director and editor of a one-man musical memoir, HAM, by Tony Award-nominee Sam Harris. It played to resounding success off-Broadway, and we’re prepping it as a show for cable. Oren’s belief in me has solidified my self-confidence and has helped me move my career forward.

As the industry continues to evolve around us, it seems essential to revisit our assumptions, to test and retest our career trajectory. The PGA is replete with supportive colleagues and the opportunities to tap their immense reservoir of experience and wise counsel. One of the best benefits we have, the Mentoring Program, is a key to unlocking that knowledge base.

Many thanks to the committee volunteers for pairing me with a trusted advisor, and many thanks to Oren for his wisdom and continuing friendship.

Tags:  mentoring matters 

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