From Lawyer to Filmmaker: Following your Dreams and Embracing Change

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Do you have a passion for something that you’ve always wanted to pursue but never had the courage to do so? 

Meet Clementina, a former lawyer who followed her passion for pictures and filmmaking. In this inspiring interview, we’ll delve into how Clementina’s love for cameras and film led her to leave her corporate job and take a chance on a career in the film industry. She shares her journey from London to Mexico City, and how she specialized in direction and production, leading her to become an International Production Manager at Storytailors.

Clementina’s story shows us that it’s never too late to pursue our passions and that taking risks can lead us to incredible opportunities.

How did you get into the industry and become a production manager?

My formal road into the industry started in London in my late 20s, with two suitcases over the Tamesis River and the expectation of what would be a master’s program in filmmaking.
I used to be a lawyer until I decided to leave my big corporation job for a film career.
I always had a thing for pictures. As a kid, I carried around super colorful 90s cameras.

As a teenager, I did countless video and photography courses, mainly working with film. I specialized in Direction and Production and had the opportunity to direct and produce a couple of short films.
I became a Production Manager after I moved to Mexico City. I was already Head of Production for an Agency in Mexico City, which gave me the opportunity to produce not only in Mexico but in different countries in Latin America. After a couple of years, this incredible opportunity presented itself to become an International Production Manager.

The idea of being dedicated to producing across America, and learning the different ways of production, really called me. I love knowing how you film in Peru, and if a crew can get to the farthest mountain in Chile.

What was your biggest challenge during a production and how did you overcome it?

I believe the biggest challenge is always communication and the different cultures that you are working with. For example, a Swiss client might need help understanding how Mexicans work, and an important network might have specific standards regarding equipment you can not find locally. Always be transparent with clients, provide them with the information they need, and offer solutions.

Can you tell us about a time when a project didn’t go as planned and how you adapted to the situation?

We once had a very small production assistance in Baja, California / Mexico. We were just procuring permits for the crew that was traveling. Unfortunately, the client did not mention that their partner on the ground already had the required permit, so halfway through the process, we changed the course of action, gave them only the permits they did not have, and adjusted the budget. Ultimately, the client got what they needed and the production went well.

What is the most unusual request you’ve received from a client, and how did you handle it?

We had a production in Tulum / Mexico, and the end client was a very well-known brand with headquarters in Switzerland. The production revolved around food and influencers. The client had 2 very unusual requests. Certified crickets and a local Thai-certified public translator. 

We had to explain to the client that, unfortunately, crickets and bugs are not sanitarily certified in Mexico and suggested best places to purchase and having them sanitized directly by the chefs before cooking. 

For the local Thai translator, the local field producer got very creative and requested assistance from a local Thai Restaurant. 

How do you ensure your team stays motivated and focused during long, intense shoots?

During preproduction, it is essential to check if there are enough hands for the job. We usually review the schedule to see if extra hours will be in place. The crew needs to know that we have their backs and that meals, accommodation, and everything is handled.

What advice would you give someone new to the production industry and looking to build a successful career as a production manager?

Don’t be afraid of change and of not knowing everything. It’s a learning experience.

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