Mia-Marama Henry-Teirney On How To Succeed As A Producer

The talented producer shares how she honed her craft in the film industry

Producer Mia-Marama Henry-Teirney. Photo / Supplied

She's worked on My Brother Mitchell, The Legend of Monkey, Mahana, Baby Mama's Club, and, recently, Good Grief and Daughter of God. Below, producer Mia-Marama Henry-Teirney (Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, Ngati Kuri, Te Rarawa) shares the knowledge she uses to stay at the top of her craft.

Kaupapa Maori is important
“Maori values guide me in my personal and professional practices. As does honouring Te Tiriti.”

Meet people and build relationships
“Enjoying the journey with your team is just as important as the end product, and will often enrich the stories on screen.”

Be strategic about the stories you want to tell, and the people you want to work with
“Life’s too short to work with [difficult people].”

READ: Beck Wadworth On How To Succeed As A Businessperson

Find people that share your values and ideas, be financially literate, and be willing to invest in yourself
“I’ve had to personally fund projects I’ve wanted to produce because of my own commitment to the kaupapa. Nobody is going to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself.”

Be wary of burnout
“Maintaining a work-life balance is hard when you’re continuously chasing the work, but it’s important to find time to enjoy life outside of mahi.”

You are a business
“Get business advice from experts, such as other producers, lawyers, and accountants. There are also great resources, tools and networks through the screen guilds in Aotearoa — Nga Aho Whakaari, the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA), the Directors and Editors Guide of New Zealand (DEGNZ), and the New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG). I’d highly recommend using Xero, and finding a good accountant.”

Be open to learning and growing
“As a producer, I’ve found myself doing all sorts of hustling to get a project over the line — making tea for the crew or cleaning locations is not outside of your job description, so stay humble.”

READ: Emily Moon On How To Succeed In The Production Industry

Producing can sometimes be a hard and thankless job
“But seeing something made from start to finish is incredibly fulfilling.”

Be willing to start at the bottom
“Some of my greatest learning experiences have been from being a runner or a personal assistant.

Find mentors you admire and learn from them
"Sometimes that might mean working for free. I’ve had inspiring mentors over the years and still lean on them for advice to this day.”

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New Zealand Herald

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