Day in the Life: Alisha Hawkins, Senior Line Producer
Nov 8, 2016
“Growing up I always wanted to be a photographer. My dream job was to be a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine – that was, like, my dream. Have you ever seen Almost Famous? I totally wanted to live that!”
So, how did senior line producer Alisha Hawkins end up at Centerline, instead of hopping on tour buses and hanging out at the Grammys? After majoring in journalism, she saw the decline of newspapers and decided to switch gears.
After a stint in project management in Asheville, NC, she found her way to Centerline.
“I had actually never been on a set before I worked at Centerline. I started as a project coordinator where I got to be on set for the first time and really, really enjoyed it,” said Hawkins. “I used to get really excited when projects would come up where my team would get to be on set, even if it was just as a PC. Being a PC/PA on set is not the most glamorous thing to do, but I think it’s super important to be able to learn how everything works so you can later be able to execute a producer position well.”
She worked her way up the Accounts ladder, but never lost her passion for working on a set. So, she took matter into her own hands.
“I got all the way through to senior project manager, and when I got to that point I was very introspective and thought, ‘I don’t really think being an account manager is what I want to do.’ Production is what I loved the most, so I talked to my boss, and my bosses boss, about trying to create a new position,” said Hawkins. “I didn’t actually think it would ever work, to be perfectly honest. But it did! I was able to pitch that there was a need for a production department.”
Pitching production was just the first step – there was more work to do in making the department a reality.
“It took a while – it took a long time and I kind of had to pull double duty and do two jobs for a bit, which was a particularly difficult time, but I just told myself that I had to get through this to be able to do what I wanted to do,” said Hawkins.
Hard work? Definitely worth it. But what actually goes into running a production department?
“I try to be aware of all the productions that are happening within the company at one time, including all of the international shoots,” said Hawkins. “I review contracts on a daily basis to make sure the equipment’s correct, that the crew is correct. I plan shoots that are happening locally. At events I look at what production is happening at what time, where we could gain efficiencies and where people need to be and when.
“When there’s not a lot of shoots going on, I’m working with the editors to figure out the workflow in post-production. I do a lot of internal stuff – figuring out if the studio needs to be cleaned up and if everything is in its place there. People check out equipment from me – for shoots and, you know, we work with a lot of really creative people and they all want to do stuff on the weekends and film things, and they’re able to use our resources. So I manage the requests from people to borrow equipment on the weekends and make sure that doesn’t interfere with a shoot. All that stuff,” said Hawkins.
Her best advice for anyone interested in a production role?
“Honestly, I think the thing that I value a lot is for people to be passionate about production. If you’re not super passionate about it or super interested in it, then you’re not going to work as hard for it or deal with the crazy schedules or the short timelines and all that stuff that goes into it,” said Hawkins. “And just, you know, knowing that we all work as a team. It can seem very overwhelming sometimes, but I’m always here to help people, and I very much drive home that everyone’s supporting one another.”
We’ve all heard on-set horror stories. You better believe Hawkins has a few of her own.
“There’s always something with every shoot. Equipment will just stop working. We’ve had locations fall through a day before shoots, or we lose talent at the last minute and have been scrambling to pull things together,” said Hawkins. “No matter what you still have to get it done. I just try to move forward and get things done.”