Jennifer George and Christina Marie Austin are line producers on the film Dancin’ It’s On ; here is a link to the website:
Q: What is Dancin’ It’s On about?
A: This coming of age dance film, in the spirit of “Dirty Dancing” and “High School Musical” – is about two young lovers from different worlds who find a common bond in their love of dance, and who ultimately work together to win a major dance competition.
Jennifer, a high school junior from Beverly Hills, falls in love with the handsome young Ken, who works at her father’s Panama City Florida beach-front hotel. While preparing for the competition, they must overcome scheming dance partners, a meddling father and their own doubts in order for their love – and their chances at winning – to prevail.
Q: How did you become involved with the project?
A: Funny enough, about 4 years ago, we came across a craigslist ad for a low-budget dance movie seeking crew. We’ve seen hundreds of these types of ads before but we thought, why not? So we replied to the ad explaining who we are and what we do, and the next thing we know, we get a response from David Winters, himself! He sent us his bio and though we had both seen west side story and some of his other various works, we were just blown away to read about all of the amazing things he as achieved. We knew we had to get that job! The next few months were what we like to think of as an audition, where he would send us work and test our skills and it seems we passed because he flew out to Florida from Thailand to location scout with his 2 new Line Producers. The rest is history.
Q: What does a line producer do?
A: Technically speaking, a line producer manages the budget, mostly and serves as the full-time on set producer. Often line producers work like unit production managers in that they are in charge of all things production. What generally separates line producers from the “Above-the-line” staff is that they usually stay out of all things creative like writing, directing, casting etc. Line producers usually hire the crew etc. In the case of independent films like Dancin’ – It’s On!, we were fortunate to be able to do all the jobs of normal line producers AND we were able to contribute creatively. David Winters really gave us a chance to be truly mentored by him and we served collectively as his second in command, and in doing so kept us close to him during all processes, both creative and productive. He really showed not only faith in us but also trust in our work as well as our judgment; he knew we understood his creative vision.
Q: What were some of the challenges of providing production services for this film?
A: First of all…. THE WEATHER!!! Holy cow, that was a record-breaking year in North Florida and the weather was as unpredictable as lotto numbers. We were trying to shoot a summertime movie in the Winter and instead of the mild, cool but not too cold winters we had heard about in Panama City Beach, we were met with 50-60 mph wind gusts, record low temps in the 20’s (Fahrenheit), ice cold sideways rain, and of course some hail. You name it; the weather gods threw it at us. We were constantly rescheduling the film the weather alone made it near impossible to create a solid shooting schedule.
Q: How is it different from other teen dance movies?
A: THE MUSIC! We feel like most teen dance movies tend to be on the edgy side, and while we are huge fans of the genre, this one is far more clean-cut and wholesome. Dancin’ – It’s on! Is truly made with the whole family in mind. This is a film made by dancers for dancers.
Q: What kind of professional background do you have?
Jennifer: I was a dancer for about 18 years, and performed all over Florida including Disney, Universal, MGM.
Christina: My main background is in acting, mostly, but I did do some modeling early in my career. I was featured in catalogues and on the Home Shopping Network.
Q: What made you interested in film production?
This may be one we have to answer individually….
Christina: 2 answers… I always wanted to be an actress and then once I got my first paid acting gig that was union work, I realized that I spent most of my day in a chair watching other people work and I hated that feeling so I looked around the set for the busiest person I could find, who turned out to be the Producer, and I knew that is what I wanted to be. Also, the first time I saw the T-1000 melt into metal, change shapes, become another person, etc. My mind was blown and I would never be the same.
Jennifer: Being a stage performer for half of my life I love entertaining people, I get that natural high being on a stage and making people smile. When I got to college it was very important to me to graduate, so I turned to studies, and focused on that. After graduation I moved to LA and started as an actor, taking classes and going to auditions. All the while, I really wanted to own my own business and have a bit more control of where I was going. As an actor you can sometimes be blowing in the wind with no real direction, but behind the camera, there is A LOT of work that needs t be done, always.
Q: Why do you think dance films are so popular?
Christina: I think it has a lot to do with the music. High-energy music gets people excited and happy, when you combine that with exciting visuals of talented people really enjoying their dance, you have a recipe for entertainment.
Jennifer: It’s a different form of expression. For instance, when a character feels sad or angry, they express that emotion through dance instead of yelling for crying.
Q: What is your strangest on set story?
A: Jennifer: I was on set for a VERY LOW budget movie, and we had to blow up a truck. Long story short, after receiving all necessary clearances and driving 5 hours for the items needed, I found myself mixing tannorite (an explosive) with my bare hands and by the end of the day, we could not use the explosives. Obviously I’m leaving out most of the details, but you get the point.
Christina: I was there for that story… definitely on the top of my list for strange stories.
Q: What is the secret to providing efficient production services?
A: Christina: Having enough money!!! Usually you don’t have enough money so the answer then becomes resourcefulness, positivity, creativity, and a die hard dedication to getting the job done…. Period.
Jennifer: Money is definitely an important factor, but I feel that on any level of production, high or low budget, the same issues arise, so problem solving, and leadership I feel are extremely important. As a producer, I want my crew to be motivated and excited about what is going on and work as hard as they can. So it is important for me to be on my A game, and problem solve efficiently.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)