LBB> What first attracted you to production - and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area?
Robbie> I was attracted to production via live events. As a young kid, I vividly remember walking through the concourse level of the original Yankee Stadium, every couple yards gave an opportunity to peer out from a small dreary vendor full hallway into the lush larger than life atmosphere that was the field and stadium. From there, I was hooked. It was and always has been an area that I worked in and chased.
LBB> What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career?
Robbie> I started as an intern and production assistant that lead to an executive assistant and associate producer role at a music network. It influenced me in the way that as a producer now, I focus on making sure that everyone on the crew, from the directors and executives all the way to the production assistant have what they need to do their job right.
LBB> How did you learn to be a producer?
Robbie> I learned by watching. I tried to maximise everyone position and opportunity to what it could be. Shadowing other producers and being a trusted person led to further opportunities.
LBB> Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a producer?
Robbie> I think live TV events can be the most stressful ones. They make you dig deep because ultimately, there’s a pre-determined date and time they need to go live. There’s an innate amount of pressure that leads to purpose in those moments.
LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why/why not?
Robbie> I agree. Any good producer is good at bringing talent people together in a creative way to make a vision happen.
LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why?
Robbie> My favourite thing about production is watching passionate people do what they do best to pull off something incredible. At the end of the day, there is a product that a group of people, large or small, collaborated to make that is now a viewable product. Lots of effort, thought, creative thinking and problem solving that is distilled into entertainment.
LBB> How has production changed since you started your career?
Robbie> Technology and pace. Technology is more and more accessible to an average person and partially because of that technology the pace in which we do and can and do work has been expedited substantially.
LBB> And what has stayed the same?
Robbie> The grind. The grind to figure things out. The flow of production has always stayed the same.
LBB> What do you think is the key to being an effective producer - and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?
Robbie> The key to being an effective producer is pulling things together. Giving people the tools that they need to do their jobs right and pulling a shoot together in a way that makes everybody feel a sense of purpose in what they're doing.
LBB> Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?
Robbie> I'm most proud of working on the VMAs. That was a goal of mine ever since I wanted to work in the industry and I got to work with some very talented producers and directors on that show.
LBB> And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges?
Robbie> Car-to-car work always has it’s challenges. Safety being top of mind. I spend more time thinking about safety than I ever have before given what is at stake.
LBB> Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of it?
Robbie> Every shoot has it’s own selection of ‘hairy’ situations. All of which you have to keep a level head about and problem solve your way out of it. I find real purpose fighting through those challenges in an effective way.
LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?
Robbie> When it really comes down to it, it’s all about working with creative, driven and caring people. The production community here in Nashville is like nothing else. We truly are a family and would be there for each other outside of what we do for a living. Finding that family has been the most rewarding part of my career.
LBB> As a producer your brain must have a neverending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?
Robbie> I’ve really had to make an effort to switch off. I owe a lot to the people I love to help me calibrate that. It’s not easy to separate yourself because there’s a lot of people relying on you to do your job right.
LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive?
Robbie> We are professional problem solvers. That is what fuels me.
LBB> What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?
Robbie> Find somebody who's doing what you want to do and attach yourself to them to the best of your ability. Also see if it's something that you want. Are they living a lifestyle that you want to live? Are they working the amount of hours you want to work? Are they doing the projects you want to do. And then put it out in the world, that you want to produce. One of my bosses, I told him I wanted to be a producer. He said, "okay, repeat after me. I'm Robbie Baldassari and I'm a producer.” And I repeated after him, and he said, “Great. You're a producer.””
LBB> From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?
Robbie> Good moral and good people. People that are willing to problem solve together and willing to work towards one goal.
LBB> What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship?
Robbie> Communication. Clients are ultimately the ones we are working for, so making sure they feel involved and part of the process is very important.