The Jug­gler

Karen Khoo-Toohey, in her 40s, Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer, Chuan Pic­tures

Singapore Women's Weekly (Singapore) - - INFORM -

When a film wins Best Pic­ture at the Os­cars, the award is of­ten handed to the pro­duc­ers. Not the di­rec­tor, not the on-screen stars… the pro­ducer. That’s tes­ta­ment to how pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion is to a film’s suc­cess. But what does a film pro­ducer re­ally do any­way?

“For movies, the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer is the per­son that brings in the money. I don’t tech­ni­cally do that at Chuan Pic­tures; I do that more for our tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials, but it’s mostly the same thing be­cause I still have to watch the bud­get and make sure we don’t go over,” says Karen.

Bud­get­ing con­cerns aren’t the only thing on Karen’s plate. Pro­duc­ers are of­ten in charge of tasks like choos­ing the cast, ne­go­ti­at­ing film rights, driv­ing the mar­ket­ing, be­ing the oc­ca­sional naysayer and the film’s big­gest cheer­leader all at the same time. This means Karen’s day of­ten starts in the wee hours of the morn­ing and doesn’t end un­til well past mid­night.

“If you want to en­ter the film in­dus­try, you have to work your butt off, and be pre­pared to put in a lot of hard work, and a lot of heart into what you do. I think with­out the heart, you can never pro­duce any­thing great. When it comes to film­mak­ing in Sin­ga­pore, the heart comes first, fol­lowed very closely by the hard work,” Karen ex­plains.

The mother-of-one adds that be­ing a woman has al­lowed her to add on to the film­mak­ing process, in ways that a man sim­ply can’t. “Men can suf­fer from tun­nel vi­sion some­times, so it’s al­ways good to have a woman in­volved in all as­pects of a film just be­cause their in­put can al­low peo­ple to think out­side the box and try dif­fer­ent things,” she says.

What’s Your Feel-Good Film: “Amélie. The en­tire film is me – a bit crazy, a bit strange, a bit whim­si­cal, a lot quirky and very colour­ful. So, I re­ally re­late to the film be­cause the sto­ry­line is ro­man­tic but still a lit­tle weird, which is very me!”


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