Stacy Friedman (B.A. ’99)
Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite professor was definitely Dr. Gershon. I really felt like he believed in me, and wanted me to succeed. That led me to strive to be my best and to try to make him proud. He was a definite role model for me throughout my college years, and was a great pillar of support for me. I have been lucky enough to stay in touch with him and, occasionally, I get intern resumes from him with the note “They remind me of you.”
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduation was with Saturday Night Live. The most valuable thing I learned there was to listen to EVERYTHING. I consider my time there as a second round of schooling – I learned so much by taking in everything that was going on around me! Similarly, I learned how to “fake it till you make it” – a truly valuable lesson in this industry. If the director asked for something on set, and I didn’t know what it was … I said OK and figured it out! The more that people thought I knew, the more opportunities they gave me … and along the way I gained an incredible base of knowledge that I never would have had otherwise. To this day, that skill has been crucial.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My specialty is TV production. I got my first job in the industry by literally being in the right place at the right time! A contact I had made through one of my internships recommended working at SNL. I faxed in my resume one day when the director happened to be in the office. Ironically, it was the same day that he decided he needed an assistant! I managed to get an interview with him before anyone even knew the job existed.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Network! The job market is so tough these days. Make genuine contacts, and keep in touch! A lot of times I am asked to recommend people for jobs, and I may forget who has sent me resumes. But the people who stay in touch often, as annoying as they probably THINK they are being … are the ones that I remember when the time comes! And definitely do as many internships as you can – if you can make a good impression, they are great learning AND networking opportunities.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What is a typical work day like for a production manager?
The best thing about being a production manager is that there IS no typical day. Some days I am on set in Los Angeles, overseeing a photo shoot or a promo shoot. Some days I am in the office in NYC, sitting in meetings to brainstorm the creative for the shoot, or on conference calls discussing budgets or technical logistics.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is definitely being on set. I love seeing all the hard work come to life. And especially when there is talent involved, there is ALWAYS a good story afterward!
Who in your field do you most admire?
There is a producer I work with on many of my shoots, Mark Priola from Revolver Films. No matter what craziness I throw at him, he ALWAYS keeps his cool. His answer to everything is always “We will get it done!” From “Can we organize a shoot in Mexico?” to “We need to have two goats, two pigs, two chickens, and a dog on set tomorrow.” he is always calm, cool, and collected. I really respect that, as this business can wear you down fast! The attitude you bring with you to set can really influence the whole crew, and the flow of the day.
Stacy Friedman (B.A. ’99) combines an array of television production experience with the efforts of an avid AIDS activist. After graduating from Hofstra with a bachelor’s degree in television and film production, she began her career in the Saturday Night Live film unit as the assistant to the producer/director. She quickly moved up to become the post-production coordinator, supervising all aspects of SNL film production from the set to the air. Her team won a Primetime Emmy Award for their work on the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special.
In March 2001, Stacy moved to Isis Post in New York as an assistant producer working to acquire new clients, while managing many of the day-to-day activities such as handling the needs of the editors, coordinating scheduling, and budgeting.
After her time at Isis Post, she returned to her love of production, freelancing as a script supervisor, production coordinator, and casting assistant on projects that included America’s Got Talent, American Inventor, American Idol, American Juniors, Making the Band 2, and music videos.
In February 2003, she joined the Oxygen Network’s On-Air Promotions team as a production assistant. In 2005, she was promoted to production coordinator, and then moved up to her current position as production manager in 2007. Today, Stacy manages and produces all promo and print shoots in New York City, Los Angeles, Mexico, and across the United States. She hires crews, manages talent, books equipment and locations, and is responsible for keeping all shoots on budget. She also supports producers on all aspects of pre- and post-production, including scheduling, contracts, vendor relationships, feedback and approvals, and deliverables.
While maintaining her position in the television industry, Stacy has served for the past nine years as team leader for a volunteer project at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center, an HIV/AIDS care center in Harlem. She has actively volunteered for a variety of AIDS-related projects since the early ’90s. In 2005, she and 15 others took a trip to Vietnam to participate in an event called TrekAsia, an adventure challenge that raised funds for AIDS research. Stacy and a friend raised almost $20,000 to participate in the event, which had them kayaking in Halong Bay, trekking through the Mai Chau Valley and staying in local tribal villages. She is currently working on a documentary about the AIDS epidemic in Vietnam, spurred by her experiences in TrekAsia and a subsequent trip to Vietnam.