Please, meet Sara Lynn Krupnick, a local Pennsylvania filmmaker whose most recently wrapped production was in collaboration with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, entitled, “Why We Hate,” which will air on Discovery Channel later this year. Within five short years, Sara was able to advance her career from production coordinator to unit project manager and line producer; she is currently focused on projects in and around Philadelphia and New York City. Sara is a member of the Producers Guild of America and New York Women in Film and Television, has production managed Emmy-winning television series, and is AICP trained. She is a proud perma-lance (permanent freelance) member of the Jigsaw Production company (based in NYC) and they recently filmed an episode of their documentary series, “Untitled Justice Project,” for Netflix in her hometown of Philadelphia; the recreation shoot was directed by none other than the talented documentary filmmaker, Alex Gibney.
1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?I was recently promoted from Unit Production Manager to Line Producer at Jigsaw Productions. This was no small feat, as many applied for the position; however, my tenacity, work ethic, vast networking skills, and advanced knowledge of the industry and its standards catapulted me to the top of the list, and I was chosen for the promotion. My secret weapon has always been my appetite for learning, you can always better yourself and the company you work for by advancing your skillset and learning from others, whether it is through observation, personal experience, book/guides, and/or friendships. With that in mind, I was The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) trained and became a member of the Producers Guide of America.
2) How did you get started in the film industry?By the ripe age of eleven, my mind was set on becoming a filmmaker, and furthering the art-form. My realization manifested after watching numerous films and television series and wishing I was the protagonist, I had their job, their life, I wanted to be them. My curiosity was forever sparked by the ever-renewing knowledge I would gain from my television set, from watching others create a world that I strived to become a part of. When I realized that all of those feelings and dreams originated from the moments I saw flash upon my screen, I was hooked and knew I had to work in the film industry. When I realized I wanted to become a director or producer, I put all my ducks in a row and dedicated all my free time to achieving my goal; I enrolled in weekend film classes, which in turn led me to choosing Film School at Temple University. While studying at Temple, I interned at NFL Films in the Cinematography Department, and after graduating, I was offered a position as a seasonal Camera Assistant at NFL Films. My time at NFL Films led to my role as Camera Assistant on multiple feature films, from there I got into producing and production coordinating and managing and so forth.
3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?I was born and raised in Philadelphia, I chose to attend Central High School and remain in Pennsylvania during my college years at Temple University. I am a proud Philadelphian, my first true exposure to cinematic glory was in 2005, when I was invited onto the set of the film, Invincible, directed by Ericson Core, that shot a scene at my high school. My career in the industry started in Philadelphia, thus I hope I can continue to bring more work to the area, as there are such beautiful locations to shoot all over Pennsylvania, from its urban American history to the majestic Pocono Mountains.
4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?My favorite location to film in Pennsylvania is Center City, Philadelphia. Philadelphia is such an architectural accomplishment, full of history, life, and lights. Many of the projects I have worked on in Pennsylvania, have been shot in Center City, Philadelphia.
5) What do you love the most about your job?The role of Line Producer is truly equated with being the “mother” of the project. I thoroughly enjoy nurturing each project from pre-production to post-production, ensuring my project fully blooms. I pride myself in being the person any crew, cast, network, and/or studio, can place their trust in, with full knowledge that I will do everything in my power to ensure the project succeeds. I am involved in every facet of the creation process and I feel a real sense of ownership.
6) What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?Being a female filmmaker, is much more than having tough skin, it is making the tough calls, the right calls. Too many a times, women are put into situations or are perceived by their reactions to situations, based solely on their gender and are brutally labelled accordingly. I remember when I was a green production assistant, and no one wanted me to touch the expensive equipment, because they thought it was too heavy for a girl like me to carry. Over the years, I have proven myself as a well-intentioned, intelligent, and hardworking member of any production team. Also, with the #metoo movement giving a voice to those hurt in the industry, I am happy to note that the entertainment industry is taking a stand to stop particular behaviors, to create a safer environment, more conducive to create successful films and happy employees. This is one step towards ending the gender bias in the industry.
7) What is your advice for other women in film?I know it is clichèd, but “be yourself,” that is the most important thing to remember. There will always be individuals who like or dislike you, never worry about them, know your worth and just be your passionate and ambitious self, despite what anyone ever has to say.
8) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?I am currently line producing an exciting short film for an up-and-coming director from Bryn Mawr. This project will be filming from August 23rd to August 26th in Montgomery County.
9) PaFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?The film industry in Pennsylvania is vast and full of creative minds and stories. I have the privilege to travel for my work, and experience different culture’s and countries’ perspective on film, and I believe beyond conviction that Pennsylvania is a unique geographical and social atmosphere, unlike any other. Pennsylvania has a strong selection and network of amazingly talented cast and production staff and crew. I truly believe increasing the film tax credit will better the entertainment industry, as it would afford more productions the opportunity to work in Pennsylvania. It is sad when I see films like, Shazaam!, that are set in Philadelphia, and yet filmed in Toronto, as Pennsylvania’s tax credit is currently not competitive enough.
10) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?My best advice is to never give up. I have had those moments too. Most successful people had a point in their careers where they questioned themselves. It’s important to question yourself. Get out there and work on Independent projects. That is how I got started and it led to doors being opened.
11) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?There are numerous websites where gigs are posted. My personal favorite is: staffmeup.com. The other best way is always through personal recommendations. Most of the people I hire were recommended to me by another producer. Make sure to network any chance you get. You can never stop networking.
12) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?Find your mentor or mentors. These people will be your guide. Impress the people who you want to be or work with, they will want to help you. Always listen and ask questions if you aren’t sure.
13) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?The Visit, I had the pleasure to work on this film as the camera production assistant.
14) What is your favorite project that you worked on?My favorite Philadelphia based project is the one I am currently wrapping up for Netflix. It is about a very important topic and I think people will learn a lot.
15) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?My aspiration is to be an executive producer for feature films and scripted television shows.
16) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
I always post on film.org for any of my Philly based projects.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org