In 2010 they founded their company NOT 4 NOTHING PRODUCTIONS which turned out to be a great career move. Within a few months of returning to Florida, the girls landed their first producing assignment . . . a music video for Multi-Platinum Recording Artist, George Clinton. Not long after wrapping production on the music video the girls came across a job posting for a feature film to be shot in Florida. After replying to the ad, the girls received a quick response from award winning Producer/Director/Choreographer David Winters who hired them as Line Producers for his all-star Dance Musical, DANCIN’ - IT'S ON!
With over 60 years experience, David Winters has worked with Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, and Josh Brolin just to name a few. Alongside David, the girls worked tirelessly for years, prepping every aspect of DANCIN’ until it finally went into production in January 2013.
Norm: Good day Christina and Jennifer and thanks for participating in our interview.
Both of you began your careers as actresses, what motivated you to act?
Christina: My grandmother was an actress and even though I never met her, it was just something I always wanted to do. For as long as I can remember, the only thing I ever wanted to do was act… until I decided I wanted to produce.
Jennifer: I was a dancer for half of my life, performing all over Florida, Disney, MGM, Universal Studios, studied in Aspen, Co and Joffrey Ballet in NYC. So as a stage performer I loved being in front of people and putting on a show. I really got a natural high for making people happy.
Norm: Why did you go into line producing? As a follow up, what is a Line Producer and what are his or her responsibilities in a film's production?
Christina: We are building our careers as Producers. Line producing came as an offer from David Winters, and we were very happy to take the opportunity to work so close with him. A line producer is in charge of managing all production operations. In this case we worked directly with David Winters, we answered directly to him, everyone in production answered to us.
Jennifer: I wanted to own my own business and feel a bit more control of my destiny. I wanted to dive deeper into the production side of film making, and really gain a better understanding of the “magic behind the camera”.
Norm: Could you tell our readers more about NOT 4 NOTHING PRODUCTIONS?
Christina and Jennifer: We founded the company in 2010. It is our mission to make the highest quality films and television shows on-time and under-budget.
Norm: When is the best time to bring a Line Producer on board for a project?
Christina and Jennifer: Generally, line producers come on for pre-production. They should be one of the first people hired.
Norm: If I were to hire a Line Producer, what should I look for in a candidate when hiring?
Christina and Jennifer: Organization, patience, resourcefulness and creativity.
Norm: As Line Producers how do you go about hiring the production crew such as camera crews, lighting crews and catering staffs etc?
Christina and Jennifer: First, we talk to the director about his or her needs. We then hire the department heads and discuss their needs for the production. From there, we work with the budget and place advertisements etc. Often, people we hire to run each department has someone or a few people that they are very comfortable working with and we like to take that into consideration. Our first priority is to always make the best movie possible so we always strive to hire the best crew we can find.
Norm: What expenses usually surprise first-time producers the most?
Christina and Jennifer: It’s hard to tell what expenses are surprises, but that’s part of the planning when budgeting for a film. You have to anticipate those expense surprises, so always budget more than needed. I’d rather have 50k more in the budget than under cut and not have enough to finish a film. The budget is constantly changing so anticipating and adjusting appropriately is very important.
Norm: If I wanted to trim a film's budget, what are the best ways without affecting on the overall quality of the production?
Christina and Jennifer: That is always going to depend on the project itself. If the project relies heavily on special effects and computer graphics, you may not want to trim those areas. The budget of a film can sometimes be an ever evolving and fluid thing. Throughout the process, you can watch the numbers and adjust accordingly as you go.
Norm: What advice, general or specific, would you give a screenwriter who wants to produce his or her own first film?
Christina and Jennifer: DO IT!!!!! We are in a beautiful time in this industry where anyone with a camera and a dream can make a movie and there are so many platforms on the Internet to showcase independent films. If you have a great script, finding a producer who wants to be involved should not be a problem.
Norm: How do you go about anticipating post-production and P&A (print and advertising) costs prior to shooting?
Christina and Jennifer: That will depend heavily on the distribution plans for the film. If you secure distribution ahead of time, you should have a pretty accurate prediction of what those costs will be. If you plan to self-distribute, you will have to do your research and make some calls to predict those expenses.
Norm: Could you tell us more about your latest work, Dancin’ - It’s On! How did it come about and how has been the feedback up to now?
Christina and Jennifer:
Dancin’ – It’s On! Is a high-energy family-family friendly
dance movie with spectacular dancing and phenomenal music. We spent 4
years working closely with David Winters to help him realize his
vision for the film. It was a real honor to learn from David. We
worked through a year of finding the right location, the right hotel
and city for the project.
Once shooting in Panama City Beach, we faced record-breaking inclement weather conditions and many other unexpected challenges along the way but we had a blast and worked very hard to get it done. Now that it is released… so far people have been pleased with it. There are tons of great reviews out there and we couldn’t be happier with how it has gone.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Christina and Jennifer: Check us out on IMdB or social media
Christina Marie Austin: IMdB
Norm: What is next for Christina Marie Austin and Jennifer George?
Christina and Jennifer: We are moving full steam ahead working to acquire financing for our next films while also working on some television shows. We are working with David on some more exciting things… there are some very big things on the horizon!
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Question: Do you have a favourite type of project you like to do OR a favourite genre you like to work with?
Christina: I like all types of film and television. I really enjoy making comedies and family-friendly movies but I get really excited working in thrillers too. At the end of the day, I truly love making comedies.
Jennifer: I would like to be involved in a project that pushes the envelope. Takes you to the edge of the cliff where you don’t know if you are getting pushed over or simply leaning in.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors