What’s it like to have an inner-circle front row seat on the happenings at 20th Century Fox? To work at the heart of multiple films as they hurtle along the path to release? Just ask Ariella Kaplan what’s it like to have an inner circle front row seat on the happenings at, Executive Coordinator Feature Post Production for the department’s President Ted Gagliano.
Trouble is, the question isn’t easily answered.
“It’s really kind of hard to describe,” Ariella laughs. “My day could be filled with anything that comes up. Because Ted’s president of the department, I kind of help him oversee all shows. No show is the same and no day is the same. So it depends on what show we’re working on at any point in time.
“You have to plan for the week, you see what’s going on, you see what show is at what stage, and then you prepare accordingly. I guess that’s the best way to answer. It’s all about prioritizing and multitasking. Another big thing is communication; conveying the right information, to the right people, at the right time and being very specific.” No small feat, after learning that in emails alone, Ariella often handles more than 100 per day.
“A lot of my work is about being aware of where every show is and at what stage, who the key players are, the producers, the directors, if we need to book ADR, if a release day moves up or back, and if so, how that affects the rest of the schedule.” Part traffic cop, part juggler, part eyes, ears and memory, Ariella sums up her role with humble simplicity that belies its complexity: “I help to keep Ted on track.”
Recently, that’s meant shepherding projects that include Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Continental Drift: Ice Age. “It’s been a fun and busy summer,” Ariella says.
Having found her footing in the fast-paced post-production world, Ariella says one of the biggest challenges – and rewards – is keeping up with her boss. “That’s a real challenge,” she laughs. “He’s always thinking 12 steps ahead. He knows so much; he’s an incredible source of knowledge. He’s just amazing. I’m really lucky to be with him and to learn from him. He’s one of the best in my book and in a lot of other people’s books too.”
So how does one keep pace with someone who’s 12 steps ahead? After three years, it’s become somewhat second nature. “I know the patterns and what to expect, what’s important, what to pay attention to. It’s just really a level of awareness.”
Ariella also credits strong teamwork throughout the department. “We have coordinators, supervisors, vice presidents and executive vice presidents. What I love so much about this department is that it’s really like a family. Everyone is always working together toward a common goal. Everyone is very helpful and generous with information. They’re the absolute best. And if there ever is an emergency, no one says anything like, ‘Well, good luck with that.’ We all work to help and to fix it.”
“I really like the excitement of being in post production, seeing something coming together – it’s the bottom of the ninth and everyone’s working together to make it to the release.” Her favorite aspect is the people. “I like interfacing with all the different people who you meet working at a studio.”
Another thing Ariella likes? Happily, our credit union. “First Entertainment seems much more accessible than a bank, frankly. And much more willing to work with the individual than other corporations.”
A member for about 10 years, Ariella joined when her father started a Term Savings Certificate Account for her. These days, she’s eyeing the auto loans. “I recently learned about the awesome car loans. My husband and I have been thinking about getting a new car for a while and when I saw the deal, I was like, ‘Hey, that sounds like a good thing.’”
In summing up life in the fast lane at Fox, Ariella expresses appreciation. “I guess I feel really lucky. And I hope I’m giving back as much as I get from being here.”
We know the feeling, Ariella. We feel lucky to have you. And in the spirit of credit unions, we’ll always strive to give back as much as we get.