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The Ups and Downs Of Self-Producing


I’ve recently had some experience producing my own work. One was a project that a friend wrote after I bugged him about how he never wrote anything for the two of us. Another was a project that I was randomly inspired to do. One was a really successful project and one fell apart before I had a chance.

The successful one was the one that my friend wrote. I passed the script to a director friend of mine and he loved it. He started working with us right away and put together an amazing team to help us out. He brought on an experienced producer which allowed my co-star and I to focus more on our performances on the shoot than the logistics of things going around us. We still did help to get things set up for the shoot, but we ended up taking more of a backseat to the producer. I consider this still self-producing and I had a great time (you can read about my all night shoot on my personal blog:


Right after finishing that project, I had a very random moment of inspiration and kind of just ran with it. It was a video that was going to be part of the Black Lives Matter discussion and I had several friends who were ready to help out with the behind the camera side of things. I was starting my paperwork with SAG-AFTRA so I could make this a New Media project and while I had a few setbacks, things were moving quickly and smoothly.

But when it came time to cast the project, since it was a bit of a controversial issue I hit a wall. I had many friends who said it was a great idea and wanted me to go with it, but they didn’t want to be an actor in it. I ended up getting one actor who was interested but got stuck with casting the other three parts.

Life got in the way and the project wasn’t my main focus while I was working on other things for about a month. Then I saw a music video that was just released with almost the exact same concept for what we were going to do. I’m not mad that someone released a project with the same idea as us first. The music video is much better than anything we could have done and I know it will get more attention. And since the message is exactly what I wanted to share, I’m happy that it is out in the world.

These back to back experiences couldn’t have been more different. One project had everything fall into place so perfectly. The other one just couldn’t get a break. I’m still not an actor who wants to constantly self-produce because I have creative outlets in other mediums right now that are keeping me happy in-between booked jobs. But it has gotten me to form a DBA for the production company that I have started for myself and it has opened my eyes to the possibilities of self-producing when I do want to do it again.

I know many people think you have to be a DIY actor no matter what. I don’t think you have to, but it really is a great experience for all actors to have. Being on the other side of things helps you see what goes into projects and helps you understand the set better. I think all actors should at least try self-producing. You may think you hate and and discover you love it. Or you may be like me and think you hate it and don’t love it while doing it, but you gain a whole new respect for it.

Either way, it can only benefit you!



About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!