Claire Bernard began her filmmaking career because of a contest: the Mastercard Priceless Experience internship contest. She was going to school for Middle-Eastern studies when she entered and won. She was flown out to LA for five weeks to make films. “My first day in LA a friend who was making a short asked me to pick up a truck and drive it to the set. I picked it up and promptly backed it into a wall before heading to the set to start working. It was the best time of my life.”
That was five years ago, and since then she has done a little of everything. She started as a grip in electirc. “If you’re in G&E stay there — it doesn’t get any better. And they have the best coffee.” She also worked as a PA, in produciton, and in development. She now works mostly as a production manager.
When Claire’s in the production office, the work is non-stop. “If you do your job right, no one thinks you do anything.” She deals with locations, travel, vendors, and logistics for all aspects of the shoot. There’s always something unexpected and working in production means putting out fires. “That’s the most fun, it’s kind of like a game.” Films she has worked on have won plenty of awards, including going to Sundance and SXSW.
Claire’s advice to new filmmakers:
“Say yes. You’re going to work for free in the beginning, which is good becasue you don’t know what you’re doing. Ask. We’ve all not known what we were doing, so it’s better to ask and seem dumb than to f*ck sh*t up and have to apologize. Yes they’ll laugh at you, but then you’ll know.”
If she could do anything, she’d be doing immersive gaming experiences to enhance entertainment — real world games that feed into the experience. “The whole point of branded entertainment is that you want it to be part of every day life. The more fun it is to live in that brand’s space, the more you want to stay there.”