The “Working With…” interview series is our way of giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the people and companies included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase creations that span all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and state geographies. This week’s spotlight is on Joshua J. Smith based in Austin and Texan for 8 years.
What is the most memorable experience on a project or production you have had and what makes it so special?
Bringing two feature films as a producer from LA to Austin and having the opportunity to work with my friends again. On one of these films, I had the chance to meet my future wife, but I will talk about that later.
What skills are required to be successful in your specific area of expertise?
Listen; talk to each department to find out their desires and needs in order to make the project a success. Kindness; make friends and always say please and thank you. Although in special situations, I’ve been known to throw a nice please. It’s my secret weapon. Courage; a willingness to stand up and fight for the vision and the team.
Have you had a mentor or industry colleague who impacted you or helped you along your career path? If so, who and how did they impact you?
Without question Tom Copeland. When I was scouting to make my first short, I called the film commission for help. After pleading my case to the trainee who answered the phone, they said, “Please wait. A few minutes later, Tom jumped on the line and I couldn’t believe they had the manager himself on the phone, in a flash. He solved all my problems by giving me the perfect location suggestion. Several years later, Tom again gave me a wise recommendation to hire a certain crew member for a film I was producing. My wife and I now have a daughter and have just celebrated thirteen years of marriage.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Keep a cool head and the crew will follow. Always follow Tom Copeland’s advice.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues across projects?
Find things in common and make friends because at the end of the day, we’re all just people looking for a common goal.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your work and why?
The best tool I have is a sharp talent for resolving any situation.
What are some of the projects done in Texas that you think reflect the diversity of the state’s culture?
I’m thinking of two documentaries by my director friend, Keith Maitland. His first feature documentary, The eye of mea year in the life of four blind teens in Austin and his award-winning film, Tower which introduced us to a wide variety of Texans from different walks of life as they relived the horrific mass shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966.
Why did you choose the Lone Star State as your place to live and work?
The quality of life, the pride Texans take in their state and the hospitality. Plus some of the best country music out there!!!
The interview has been edited for brevity.
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