Kyrsti Schwarz

Kyrsti Schwarz

Kyrsti is a Line Producer. She is responsible for overseeing studio animation, client interactions, and managing internal and external staff. 

What is your job description and what are your responsibilities?

As a Line Producer I am responsible for managing the entire staff from artists to production and studio animation. I also interact frequently with the client. I keep track of schedules, make sure we remain on time with our shipments and deliveries and ensure we maintain our budget. This role takes a lot of patience and people skills. I have to be able to communicate and manage different personalities of the staff and clients as well as any challenges that may arise.

What career path led you to your current role?

I started off as an animation major in college. I interned at Film Roman on one of Marvel’s kid television shows and from there, I continued to climb the ladder through the production staff from production assistant to coordinator to manager to associate producer and then finally to line producer.

I’ve worked on pilots for various networks, produced all animated content for Mattel’s Monster High and most recently produced an animated television show for WWE.

Describe your day-to-day schedule.

9am start – Day ends when my work is done which can be at 6 or 7pm but can also go to 12am. No day is the same. Depending on where you are in the production schedule will determine what happens during your day or week, it’s very hectic and unpredictable. 

I always start my day off by making a list of my upcoming due dates and then what needs to get done for that day. A lot of my job revolves around answering emails so that is a constant throughout my day. I also need to check in with my production staff daily to make sure they are on task. I may also sit in an animatic or animation review session. 

At least once a week I have a meeting with upper management. Either a budget meeting or a producers meeting with the general manager. I am constantly in contact with the client via email or phone calls. Someone is usually missing an invoice so I am constantly talking with agents or the talent themselves to retrieve that.

What programs/tools do you often use? 

Photoshop, Excel (all microsoft), a lot of email (outlook or gmail), File maker, and Adobe Bridge. Other programs I use on occasion are Harmony, after effects, and storyboard pro. 

Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

Contributing to creating something that will either make someone laugh or smile. I actually enjoy the unpredictability of the job. I keeps me from getting bored.

Which aspects of your job do you find most challenging? 

People management. Especially in production there are so many different personalities to deal with, it can be very stressful and tiring making sure everyone is happy.

How did you develop the necessary skill-set (e.g. courses, training, activities) to be a Line Producer

A lot of my skills came through experience and school.  I always try to challenge myself to try things I don’t know how to do. And I also try to find mentors to teach me what I don’t know or to advise me when I have questions.   

Is there any additional advice you would give students who are interested in becoming a Line Producer?

Challenge yourself to take the next step even if you don’t think you are qualified.  If you are starting at the bottom, always ask for more responsibility. The more your managers see what you can do, the more they will give you and the higher you will climb.

Also, I find that understanding the artists side is very helpful in managing.  It will help for you not to be taken advantage of by artists but also be able to fight for your staff when you are told unreasonable deadlines by upper management. If you fight for your staff instead of against them, they will always try to work hard for you and you will get the best work out of them.