Nutmeg Gazette: "My Dream Job" - Trish Clark
Growing up I was really into television, and then into films a bit too. I knew the day & time of the week by what shows were on. My friends and I would go to the local video rental store and look through the selections to find something unknown & bring that VHS home – that’s right VHS video rentals! TV, renting movies or going to the movie theater to wait in line for a new film – those were my way to relax and have fun.
Then there was word of something new coming to TV; I stayed up very late on August 1, 1981 to see the very first video played on MTV. I was addicted to MTV, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Every commercial break, I’d switch over to see a video. Years later, when MTV added in game shows like Remote Control, and then the fateful turn to reality television with The Real World – I was right there with them. I was going to be just like Martha Quinn, but at the time, I naively thought she MADE the videos, not that she was just a host. When I was looking into colleges and majors I realized that I could take my favorite past time – watching TV, movies & music videos and make that into a career. I was already making videos or showing film clips for school projects. So why not make that turn into a career for life? Going to Marist College for Radio/TV/Film was one of the best decisions I have ever made. And it paved the way for my future in production.
In school, I learned all the roles of the crew. This is important, as you can see where you fit best, but you can always pinch hit and help out wherever needed. While at college I was part of the group that scheduled the films and campus events. Planning the events with the stand-up comics and celebrities on the lecture tours would later serve me well as an event programmer. Also, during this time I had two internships
First, CTV here in New Haven. To this day I am the only intern to have made her own show while there, and I made two! I was trained on all the equipment and gathered a crew to put some shows on air. Public access fun at its finest! The shows were about 1) movie reviews and 2) a local band. Two of my go-to comfort zones! Then during senior year when we had the opportunity to pick our dream internships I made my ask – I wanted my MTV! That didn’t work out for me though, there wasn’t much production there in NY at that time. However, VH1 had plenty of shows going into production then. Same building, still a music video channel, so I went for it. And Boom! I was in Times Square working on my first series in VH1 Production.
That first job, and then the many more shows that came after, were where I really zeroed in on being a producer. I love being on a set, but I found out that I excel in juggling all the moving parts of pre-production, production, and also post-production. Being a good producer is not just working on one small part, it’s working on all the moving parts and making that show happen! I was trained by some amazingly talented women and men whom I still call on to this day. Working production is a strong bond. Making friends for life is the blessing of production work that one doesn’t get from other jobs. One of those VH1 friends got me another job at a day-time talk show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show. This was more hands on field production – with very early hours. After working on Rosie for a couple years, which was quite rewarding, I decided to take a different path and left production work for a few years. That decision brought me back to CT for my family life. But something was missing. I needed my production fun back again!
Enter into the life of a freelance producer – in CT! Let’s see, that meant local news, WWE, ESPN, or a few other programs in Stamford. Or that Metro North commute! It’s great to be so close to NY – but a 4 hour commute round trip daily, not so much! And then a friend mentioned something to me that he thought I should consider. I had never heard of it, but soon it changed everything! The 48 Hour Film Project, is the largest and longest running timed film competition in the world. Upon researching, I found out that they wanted a producer to run an event in Connecticut. One little interview later and I was back in the producer saddle. I wasn’t making my own short film in 48 hours – but I get to oversee twenty to forty teams of filmmakers as they do!
Producing the 48HFP allows me to set up several events for creatives all year long; as well as guiding the teams and trouble-shooting throughout their filming weekends.
Can being a producer be a crazy profession? Well yes, yes it can. But it is also so extremely rewarding to make these connections and see the creativity that flows from so many around me. I am in awe and inspired daily. By bringing the 48HFP here to New Haven I got back into the production life and also entered more into film making. I have met so many filmmakers and I realized that there was much more going on production wise in CT and New England than I used to think. With the 48HFP we have been part of bringing close to 200 locally made short films to the Big Screen. Our film teams have moved onto other Festivals including Cannes and Sundance! I am bursting with pride over my 48ers! And I love that they know they can come to me with any questions, comments, or concerns on any of their productions. I have also been lucky enough to have now produced a few indie features and web series shot here in the Nutmeg state.
That creative bond, that love for collaborative and entertaining work, that is why we created the Nutmeg Institute. To have a haven for creativity to grow and prosper. I have been blessed to meet writers, directors, cinematographers, actors and more that have so very many ideas! Sometimes there just needs to be a sounding board, or a question answered, or someone to say, "I’ve been there, let’s help you take the next step." There is a whole new world out there for how we see new programming. We are here to help your creativity reach the next level. We’re here to support you, to work with you, to guide you on that path to the next step. We’ve been there before, we’re going there again with even more productions. Join us on our artistic journey. Welcome to the Nut!
- Trish Clark