Known by her friends as Air, Thidatip Charoenrat was the Thai Production Manager for Principal Photography on She Has A Name. She works for Benetone Films, based out of Bangkok, Thailand. We caught up with her through email after a busy shoot on another production in Thailand.
How did you end up working in film production?
I was majoring in the hospitality business, the film production was not in my dictionary. I started my career when I joined a big entertainment company as a production assistant for music video production. I was fortunate enough to discover what I should be doing. Since then I worked for four more TV commercial production houses. Five years ago I joined Benetone Films. Through it all, I fell very much in love with the film production. Most of the time, I treated my projects like they are my babies.
The film production industry is changing constantly. There is no formula. The good thing in this industry is that no day is ever the same as the one before. Some projects are so stressful, sometime I want to pull my hair. But at some point if you can not do it right, you just do it wrong. At the end of the day, you do the production. You’re not saving the world.
How long have you worked in the industry and what is your role at Benetone Films?
I’ve been in the film industry since 2000, starting as a production assistant and then moving my way up to work for the TV commercials and feature films. When I first joined Benetone Films, I was a production co-ordinator and now I’m working here as a line producer.
To be a line producer here at Benetone Films is very challenging and extremely stressful. I have to work as a production manager at the same time. The lines between producer and PM are blurry. My work is all about business and the balance between financial concerns and hiring the film crews while ensuring that my client and crews members are happy and providing the work needed for the film. On the other hand I have to do the production work like scouting and securing locations and creating the schedule for the production. During production, I am taking on more work. I have to stay between the director, producers and rest of the crews, making sure that both the budget and schedule stay on track.
How many projects do you work on in each year and what types of projects are they?
During my first year at Benetone Films I worked on 30 TV commercials and 2 feature films. I stopped counting my work since then.
There were variety of project types in our company as we are doing the production support for filmmakers from around the world. The job description for a producer is very different for feature films, TV commercial and documentaries.
In my 15 years, I’ve been involved in TV commercials and feature films. Traditionally budgeting the project, hiring film crews, sourcing the equipment and overseeing the production from the first day and staying through the production process.
In your opinion, what does Thailand and what do Thai filmmakers have to uniquely offer the filmmaking world?
Thailand is an outsourcing hub in South East Asia for foreign filmmakers. We have amazing unique locations, high production value, skilled crew, and modern equipment easily accessible to provide to filmmakers around the world.
What do you enjoy most about working with international crews and what are some of the challenges?
Tough one. Every film has different challenges. To be honest, I was lucky to work with the different crews around the world, from whom I could learn a lot, sharing our passion. I have great respect for all the crews because they are really hard workers. It’s really great to experience many kinds of talented groups of people working together.
What was one or a few of your highlights from your time on location with She Has A Name in Thailand?
She Has A Name, it was an emotional film to make. This project has impacted me emotionally because we hear this story everyday. I fell in love with the script and it is: wow. It’s a great challenge to produce this kind of film where we still have huge problem with human trafficking. I told my boss I want to do this film and I did everything to support this movie here as well as all its Thai crews. We are hoping that when the light goes down, we will see a great film.
My task was to make Director’s vision a reality. I served them as a production manager and was in charge of putting the pieces together. But this project would be impossible if it weren’t for all the Thai, Canadian and US crews.
The highlights from my time with She Has A Name was in Pattaya when we took the shot at Walking Street. I was worried about how we were going to shoot there with hundreds of tourists in the small street. But all the crews including, US and Canadian, ended up helping by blocking off the street, creating human walls. I wanted to give huge thanks to all of them.
What is your dream project?
My dream is to taking bigger projects and seeking more opportunities to work in with good scripts and to work with the great film crews. The script is always a great challenge for me.
Read more interviews with crew from She Has A Name