MEET #4040 Katie Reardon
Producer • Portland, OR
WNW Member #4040 Katie Reardon is brand new to freelancing, having worked most recently as a producer at Wieden+Kennedy for 4 years. Katie's worked on a range of projects -- films, commercials, web content, music videos, photo shoots and installations, for clients that include Old Spice, Nike, Sony, Oreo, Target, and Travel Oregon. The Portland producer spoke to WNW about her ideal production environment and the process of marketing herself.
1. How long have you been freelancing?
I'm a freshie. Just started freelance producing three months ago, June 2014. I hear though that you aren't really a freelancer until you've survived your first tax season.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
I feel like I'm a better producer when I get to be more creative on collaborative teams. The best teams to me are the ones where everyone is doing lots of weirdo things -- the writer is using a power saw, the PA gets pulled in as talent and the VFX lead writes a joke. Getting to facilitate that sort of environment is when I feel like my producer skills are being used best in a creative way.
I also feel like I really hit my producer A-game when I'm on a project where we are traveling as a team or where there are little kids on set. People really bond as a creative group when they are in road trip mode together and it's really hard to be jerks to each other when little kids are on set. Travel gigs and little kid projects have for sure been my favorite projects I've produced in the past. The Travel Oregon "7 Wonders of Oregon" campaign I produced last year had both those ingredients -- 15 days of driving around Oregon with great people eating lots of beef jerky in a car and then on top of that we had two different little kids as talent that were so much fun to work with. Coaching a little kiddo to eat pancakes on camera was some of the best producing I've ever done in my career, for sure.
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
I kind of love always having projects on my plate, whether those are paid or not paid gigs. Projects make my world go round. I occasionally like to break from projects to take a breather and travel or something though. I'd say I'm paid-working 50%, un-paid-working 25% and not-working 25%. I prefer getting paid for jobs, don't get me wrong, but sometimes shooting photos of a pizza slice piñata with your best friends just for fun is totally worth your time.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
Oh yeah. Most of my family loves to tell me when they see a new, funny TV commercial. They'll be like, "Did you make THAT one?!" I think the freelance hustle didn't really throw my parents for a loop at all either. Both of my parents worked all through my childhood and my dad owned his own company for a long time. I think being raised as a child of two working parents made me a very strong, independent person which is where I get a lot of my freelance mentality from.
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
That scene from The Jerk when Navin just needs his lamp. "The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control... and the lamp. That's all I need. I don't need one other thing, not one... I need this."
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
I feel like Instagram and Facebook are my guilty pleasure comfort food equivalents of the website world. I'm a sucker for seeing what cool things my friends are doing and cute baby photos. The third would probably be the Bill Cosby GIF Tumblr because, you know, I'll probably need a good laugh while I'm stuck on that island.
7. What do you do when Not Working?
I love traveling and adventuring. I feel like it's a really important part of my working and not working life. Meeting new people and seeing new places helps keep my brain spinning in weird creative ways for new projects -- new locations to scout, new people to cast, new ideas. My fiancé and I just got back from living in Barcelona for two months in between jobs. We loved it there and were able to really prioritize playing with photography projects and meeting new people and just wandering around. It was dreamy. Smaller, quicker adventures fit the bill too. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to get a van of my own so that I can ditch out for last minute adventures to the Oregon coast and fill my van with tons of thrifting finds.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
I'm really good at dancing bad, but that's no secret.
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
Best thing I ever did was make a Spotify playlist that is specifically for when I do my business accounting, My Accounting Jams. But seriously, finding a way to make the chores of running your own business more approachable and personal is such an asset. It's easy to feel bombarded by all the tasks that are on your shoulders when you think it all has to be done textbook-perfect. Any way to take the edge off of the things that are scarier for you is wise. I was also terrified at first about marketing myself as a freelancer. But then I realized marketing myself for me just meant going out to happy hours and coffee dates with really cool people I wanted to talk to anyways and just gabbing about rad projects (beers = tax write offs!). Do it your way, make it your own.
10. What's your favorite thing on the internet this week?
I've been texting this dance party gif to friends all week. It's making us all laugh.