We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniell Taff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniell, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
One thing I think outsiders are unaware of is that producing is not “glamorous”. If you think about the title, Producer, usually the first thing that comes to mind are movies. Of course there are similarities, yet commercial producing (and now even content producing) is a totally different beast. Everything depends on the project. If it’s a big budget for a big Client, I may get to fly to San Francisco and stay at the Four Seasons. Rare. More often than not though, I’ve found myself in a Holiday Inn Express in the middle of nowhere. Or a double wide in a town called Uncertain, Texas (that’s a real place). Yes, commercial/content producing has its perks, but more often than not, it’s down and dirty. We are always trying to save a buck and these days, with the pandemic, so much digital production and budgets shrinking, we’re often wearing many hats. Recently, I found myself on a one day shoot playing the roles of Producer, Craft Service, 1st Assistant Director, Digital Imaging Technician and Location Manager.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I really have to say, I love what I do. I take great pride in the relationships I’ve established; Crew, Agencies, Clients. I think what sets me apart from other Producers is that I don’t take anything too seriously and I always have a smile on my face. Producing is really another realm of project management and that means solving problems. When people have problems, there’s usually stress involved. The way I see it, if I can reduce someone else’s stress while helping to solve a problem and being supportive, you don’t need to be too serious. I also consider myself a very fair Producer. There are negotiations all along the way on every project, but at the end of the day, it’s not about being cheap or unreasonable when it comes to others. In the end, we’re all a collective team and we’ve chosen this path as our careers. We all have to make a living. So I try to save money in areas I know won’t affect the individual and where I can literally afford to deal. As far as how I got to this point, I don’t think a lot of kids say, “someday, I want to be a Producer”! My path after college took me to LA and I had many jobs working on movies and TV shows. LA was a tough place to make it (still is) and after a few years I moved back to Colorado. I reunited with my mentor, Donna Dewey and she gave me a job with her production company and a steady paycheck. When I got to the point of freelancing, there was an immense amount of trepidation. The uncertainty of not knowing when you’ll have a job, how long that job might last, no health insurance. . . all those things are a part of it. It’s something we all deal with. I’m so very grateful and fortunate to have consistent work now and you do get used to it. You definitely have to make solid decisions about life and keep track of the ebbs and flows. It takes a lot of guts and resilience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ok, total fantasy trip here. . . with no regards for the seasons. . . breakfast at Floradora Saloon in Telluride > Jeep over Black Bear Pass to Ouray > Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway > Four Seasons and snowboarding in Vail > Flyfish the Colorado River at State Bridge > C Lazy U Ranch in Granby for a bit of everything > back to Denver for tacos at El Taco de Mexico > steaks at Blackbelly in Boulder > a few games of volleyball at Wash Park. All doable in a day, no?
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve got to give shoutouts to three women who have played huge roles in my career as a Producer and supported my efforts of being a business owner and dad. The first being Donna Dewey, Colorado’s first Academy Award winner. Donna took me under her wing as a Production Assistant in high school and allowed me to work my way up and learn every aspect of production. The second is Leslie Allen, Owner/Executive Producer of Content/s, a boutique production company where I serve the role of Head of Production. Leslie was the first person to hire me as an Independent Contractor, which prompted me to go freelance and start my own company, Taff Productions Inc. in 2009. The third would be my ex-wife, Robyn Taff, who’s a wonderful mother to our son, Reid. With my ever evolving schedule and projects popping up at random, Robyn’s always been flexible with out parenting schedule and our son has thrived because of our positive relationship as parents and her constant understanding of what my job really entails.
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