At Work With… Joshua J. Smith, Producer/ Line Producer
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the people and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state. This week’s spotlight is on Joshua J. Smith based in Austin and a Texan for 8 years.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
Bringing in two feature films as a producer from LA to Austin and getting the opportunity to work with my friends again. On one of those films, I was lucky enough to meet my future wife, but more about that later.
What are the skills required to succeed in your specific area of expertise?
Listening; talking to each department to find out their wants and needs in order to make the project a success. Kindness; making friends and always saying please and thank you. Although in special situations, I’ve been known to throw out a pretty please. It’s my secret weapon. Fortitude; a willingness to stand up and fight for the vision and the team.
Have you had an industry mentor or colleague that has made an impact on you or helped you along your career path? If so who, and how did they impact you?
Hands down Tom Copeland. When I was location scouting to direct my first short film, I called the film commission for help. After I pleaded my case to the intern answering the phone, they said, “Please hold.” A few minutes later Tom jumped on the line and I couldn’t believe they put the director himself on the phone, in a flash. He solved all my problems by giving me the perfect location suggestion. Many years later Tom again gave me a wise recommendation to hire a certain crewmember for a film I was producing. My wife and I now have a daughter and just celebrated thirteen years of marriage.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Keep a cool head and the crew will follow. Always take Tom Copeland’s advice.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
Finding things in common and striking up a friendship because at the end of the day we are all just people seeking a common goal.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your job and why?
The best tool I own is a keen knack to problem solve any situation.
What are some of the projects made in Texas that you feel reflect the diverse culture of the state?
Two documentaries from my director friend, Keith Maitland come to mind. His first feature doc, The Eye of Me, a year-in-the-life of four blind teens in Austin and his award-winning film, Tower which introduced us to a wide variety of Texans from different walks of life as they relive the horrendous mass shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966.
Why do you choose the Lone Star State as a place to live and work?
The quality of life, the pride that Texan’s take in their state, and the hospitality. Plus some of the best country music around!!!
Interview has been edited for brevity.
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