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A broad skill set spells success for film producer Stephanie Korski
While the actors, writers, DP and the heads of most departments on set generally go into a project with a pretty clear idea of what the production will ask of them, the producers behind a project have a wildcard element to their role.

From solidifying the daily schedules, shooting locations and budget, to managing crews of varying sizes and ensuring the collaborative process runs efficiently, being a strong and effective producer means having a diverse skill set, not to mention extraordinary ‘people skills.’  

A profession not suited for the faint of heart, Canadian producer Stephanie Korski’s unique range of talents have made her a key figure in entertainment and a behind the scenes wizard when it comes to producing everything from indie films to high profile commercials. 

“As a producer I’m very comfortable assuming a leadership role, and I’m often putting my people skills to work,” admits Korski. “I value variety in my work to keep me focused and interested, and so a predictable job just isn’t for me. The producer’s role is always metamorphosing; it is never the same twice. It allows you to stay sharp as you face the new challenges that each project brings, but also allows you to gain tangible experience.”

Over the past decade Korski has produced a number of successful projects including the dramatic films Aeturnus, My Toy Horse and Last Lodger, as well as a long list of promos for the Big Picture Gala, a Canadian-themed fundraiser that celebrates exceptional people and businesses across multiple industries. 

Early on in her career she earned praise for A Comady, a film that balances drama and comedy and follows a woman who tells her darkest secrets of infidelity to her comatose husband only to discover that they share the same secret, with the same partner, a twisted little love triangle nobody would have guessed. Starring Robbie Beniuk from the multi-award winning film Chasing Valentine, Kristopher Bowman from the Canadian Screen Award nominated series Mohawk Girls and Lindsay Lyon from the film I Hate Toronto: A Love Story, Korski not only produced the film, and found and booked  its hilarious talent, but she co-wrote and edited it as well.  

Having trained and performed at the internationally acclaimed comedy club The Second City in Toronto, Korski’s flair for comedy has proven to be a unique asset when it comes to her work as a producer.

“The secret to a successful set is a happy cast and crew. They need to feel like they are being heard, and as a producer you need to be able to get onto their level,” explains Korski. “I think what makes my approach unique is my background in improvised comedy, which keeps my reflexes sharp and keeps me thinking on my feet. Strangely enough, those skills translate really well to production. It also never hurts to keep things light.” 

A producer’s ability to predict and prevent obstacles before they happen, and solve problems quickly and creatively when they do occur, can be the difference between keeping a production on schedule and on budget and resulting in a total failure. As the producer of the dramatic film Aeternus where Korski oversaw the production from pre to post, her tried and true ability to think on her feet proved invaluable when things took an unexpected turn. 

Starring young entertainer award nominee Jayden Greig from Guillermo Del Toro’s four-time Oscar Award winning film The Shape of Water and directed by award winning filmmaker Haya Waseem (Familiar, Brand Canada), Aeternus tells the story of Ray, a man who attempts to become immortal through self-medication, which leads him to hallucinate and experience visions of his past and future self.

As the film’s producer Korski was on set from the start and most of her energy was focused on ensuring the production made its days, something she says was easier said than done. She recalls, “We faced equipment malfunction on our first day of shooting. We had several smoke machines and a RED camera go haywire on us during filming. Luckily I had prepped a camera assist on standby that owned his own camera, so we were able to call him in, he really saved the day.”

Another film where Korski’s ability to think outside of the box and communicate effectively with the director and the cast and crew helped to ensure that the production didn’t exceed its budget was the thriller film Last Lodger directed by Felipe Mucci. 

A modern adaptation of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the film centers on Isai, a man who’s driven to commit an unthinkable crime after renting out a room in his home to a seemingly good natured man who harbors a dark and insidious secret.

“For our first two days on set, we were constantly running over time. It was causing an issue with our location as there just wasn’t the availability we needed,” recalls Korski. “The director had some brilliant ideas for combining scenes that cut our shoot time considerably. We only ended up being a few hours over by the end of production, which we were able to adjust for in the budget.”

Starring Vincent Bellon (Stiffs on the Green, Outlaw Bikers), Isai Rivera Blas (The Wedge, Kung Fu Graffiti) and Shelley Simester (Reign, Saving Hope), Last Lodger was not only Korski’s first thriller film as a producer, but she also served as the film’s editor. 

When asked what makes Korski such a powerful producer, Mucci explained, “I believe it is a combination of things… Her desire to make the project the best it can be, never slacking or accepting anything less than the best it can be. Her knowledge of what is going on in the business combined with an acute sensibility of what audiences are looking for, make her a wonderful partner. And lastly, she is not afraid to voice her opinion.”

To outsiders Korski, who’s written and directed several projects, as well as been the lead editor on nearly 30 films, TV commercials and PSAs, may appear as something of a ‘jack of all trades,’ but the ‘master of none’ portion that usually follows that age old figure of speech does not apply to her. Through her work as a producer she has carved out a position for herself in the entertainment industry that puts all of her skills to good use, and the productions she works on benefit tremendously because of it. While those without such a diverse range of work experience across various film departments might be overwhelmed by just how many areas and assets a producer has to oversee during a production, this is where Stephanie Korski thrives best.

“My knowledge and practical experience in almost every facet of production allows me to understand the pipeline of a project from start to finish. Through my work in script development, broadcast, on set production, editing and post production processes I have developed a well-rounded set of skills,” Korski says. “I like being in the writer’s room or on a call discussing story points with a writer, take part in the casting and then be part of how the whole thing fits together on set and then in the editing room. Overseeing each step of the production lends a certain continuity that I enjoy.”

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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