Updated: May 1
By Zixin Zhong, Social Media Coordinator Research Assistant
As Creative Producer at Lanark Productions, Zachary is grateful to be helping create stories that he wishes had existed when he was growing up. Lanark Productions is an LGBTQ+ owned and run organization based in Ontario, developing diverse original content using fantasy and science-fiction to connect with a new generation of viewers. The current project, Prince of Hearts, is an animated fantasy/adventure film about a gay Prince of colour learning to embrace and draw power from being his authentic self. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Zachary appreciates how critical stories like this are and is incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Zachary's job involves collaborating with various artists and specialists in multiple fields, drawing on the skills he honed during his studies at Schulich. These include fundamental business administration skills like budgeting, writing contracts, scheduling, and coordinating workflows. Even more importantly, though, Zachary has cultivated the ability to work with and lead various teams.
Zachary is constantly working with incredibly talented people with skillsets and backgrounds that differ dramatically from his own and each others. He is expected to manage people doing tasks he can't do himself, such as acting, drawing, or singing. The Schulich MBA in Arts, Media, and Entertainment has prepped him for this project. Not only did he learn the business basics, but he also sharpened his group-work skills and honed his ability to communicate with people, listen to them, research their fields, and confidently speak up when a decision must be made. In particular, Zachary participated in the Schulich Global Leadership Project, where he worked with an international team of students from Schulich and an international business school to consult a foreign media company.
Not only does Zachary need to coordinate with artists to produce beautiful ideas and concept art, but he has to interact with other companies, more significant industry partners, and government agencies to move the project forward. They have been lucky enough to receive government funding, pitch to major broadcasters and streaming platforms, and explore other corporate partnership forms. Each party has their own needs and interests. Having classes taught by industry veterans, various guest lecturers, and an extensive alum network has helped Zachary comprehend these different partners and construct relationships with them.
For anyone who wants to become a Creative Producer, Zachary recommend that they start now. “Work with creatives. Build your network. If you’re a Schulich student, you have a skillset that most writers and directors want to have on their side. Getting a short made and into a film festival will open up a lot of doors in the Canadian public funding ecosystem. As business students, there’s a good chance that your first job after graduating won’t be on the creative side of the industry, but keep your eyes open for small opportunities and side projects. Then, when the time’s right to take a leap, jump boldly.”