Rachel Leib, Post Production Coordinator, on Working in Reality & Scripted TV, Post Production, & Importance of Taking Chances.
March 3, 2016
I grew up in Westchester NY and I loved the movies. I would go to the theater as often as I could and would pour over Premiere Magazine to read up on upcoming films and behind the scenes information.
The television landscape then was nothing like it is today.
My dream was always to work in television or film.
I went to Northeastern University in Boston and majored in Communications. I did several internships to get as much broad experience as I could.
I was an assistant to a local casting agent for a film that was shooting in Boston at the time.
I interned at the FOX affiliate and wrote the credit voiceovers for their prime time shows plus assisted on various productions for the station.
In addition I did an internship with my local cable channel while home on breaks. Shortly after graduation I got my 1st paid job but had to wait 4 months for it to start!!!.
That job was such a leaping off point for me.
The experience and the people I met allowed me to move to Los Angeles a year later and continue to work.
First Job in the Entertainment Industry
My 1st paid job in entertainment was as a production assistant on a show called, “Back Chat” on FOX’s then new network named FX.
At that time FX was original, live programs, and lots of acquired shows like Hart to Hart and Batman.
It still stands out as one of the best experiences ever!
We were all young (or youngish) and we were creating something new with each of the original shows. We were encouraged to write and produce our own segments.
Everyone’s ideas were heard…it was the best place to learn and we all had so much fun!
I came to that job just by taking a chance.
I was volunteering at the local cable station again running the teleprompter for their news show and I saw an ad in the back of Variety for a new network starting up and they were looking to hire people of all levels/experience.
I had recently graduated college and was back home in New York so it didn’t matter to me where the job was…it was a job in my desired field!
I sent my limited resume in and the job turned out to be the launch of the FX Networks in New York City.
Experience with Post Production
My journey into Post Production is similar to how I got my 1st job…taking chances & opportunities.
It had gotten to a point where I was enjoying the people I was working with but I wasn’t enjoying the work.
I took a risk and walked away for many years.
During that time I returned to New York and had started a family. When my kids hit school age we moved back to Los Angeles and I was ready to go back to work but I wanted only scripted shows, not reality TV.
A friend of mine suggested Post Production.
I saw a posting on the Producers Guild job board for a Post PA and with nothing to lose I emailed my resume asking if they had any other needs…they did.
I got hired as the Post Production Coordinator on Season 4 of FALLING SKIES for TNTand stayed on through the final Season (season 5).
Days in Post Production can be long - it’s certainly not a 9-5 job.
The responsibilities of a post coordinator can vary.
On any given day I create purchase orders and track invoices, check dailies, track distribution of dailies and cuts of each episode to the Studio and Network, manage our distribution list and technical troubleshooting, stock footage requests and clearance, ADR/Loop Group scheduling, manage SAG paperwork, plus general office management, and overseeing the PA, and any runs.
I LOVE technology…big fan! I find it definitely makes doing a job easier.
On the flip side, I have found it harder when trying to connect with someone about potential work.
Even though there are a ton of job searching websites and you can connect with someone on LinkedIn, it’s still better to know someone that can make an introduction.
An email or LinkedIn connection I feel is very impersonal and you can easily get overlooked.
Think outside the box on how you can meet the people you need to….but not in a stalker/creepy kinda way.
Invite people to coffee when you can.
Technology is great but everyone can send an email...what makes you stand out?
Transition from Reality to Scripted T.V.
Well, when I came back to L.A., my only goal was to work in scripted TV but I didn’t know where.
As I mentioned earlier, a friend of mine suggested Post Coordinator and said, “If you can coordinate on the production side, you can coordinate in post.”
She wasn’t wrong.
My years in production definitely helped as I understood the process and coordinating in post is still just coordinating but it’s a different set of needs.
Being an organized multi-tasker is a key trait to have.
Current Career Goals
I was asked this same question in my last job interview.
Not that I don’t have any career goals but honestly, my priority is to work with people I like on projects I like.
I didn’t have a mentor or a family member already in the business to help get me started.
My family & friends have always supported my dreams to be a part of this industry but the opportunities/experiences I’ve had have been because I sought them out.
Not citing a specific mentor or advisor does not mean that I have not benefited from the support and advice of many people along the way.
I have been on many strong teams with amazing people who understood the value of teamwork and collaboration.
Because of this every opportunity I have taken has taught me something useful.
Well, if you’ve read this far, you see the importance of putting yourself out there and taking chances.
If you’re still in college, take advantage of doing internships for credit and do them in various areas of the industry to get a better idea of what you do and don’t like or want to do.
Don’t be afraid to step back and re- examine your choices/path if you’re not happy where you are.
You will spend A LOT of time at this job…make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.
Nothing is impossible if you know what you want and aren’t afraid to go after it.