Work It Wednesday: Meet Lupita! Hollywood Production Coordinator

As cheesy as it sounds, follow your dreams; trust your gut, do everything with a smile, and people will notice.
— Lupita Mendoza

Hello My Name is Lupita, and I Work As A Production Coordinator in Hollywood!


1.     How did you choose your career?

Growing up I always loved the idea of working in TV “behind the scenes” but I didn’t know what I would do exactly or how I would get there.  My freshman year in high school I was given the opportunity to do an internship covering high school sports for a local Spanish newspaper. I got my first press pass with access to be on the football field and basketball court to take photos and interview the coaches and players, suddenly I was hooked, I needed to be a part of the entertainment industry. I liked the idea of having special access to events and being in the thick of it all. My first semester in college, I took “Intro to Media” and decided I would major in Film & Television Production.

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2.     In your opinion, what would you say are the top three characteristics/traits to be successful in your career?

Being a people person, having quick problem solving skills and extremely organized!

3.     What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I get excited when I see my name on the TV Screen. Working in the production office (the central hub of a production) allows me to meet the entire crew and learn something everyday. I’ve been fortunate to travel for work, attend the Emmys, and meet those I grew up watching and admire.

4.     How would you rate your income?

The starting rate when I first moved to LA to work on a Hollywood news entertainment show was not glamorous but I was in awe of where I got to work and I loved going to work, luckily, I was promoted in less than 6 months. Now that I am a Production Coordinator and joined the union, I’ve been able to negotiate my rate as I continue to add shows to my resume. I am not in the Hollywood Hills (yet) but it’s comfortable.

 

5.     Is this what you always wanted? If not, how did you land into it?

I am not sure I knew this position existed, I just knew I wanted to be behind the camera and making things happen. I got my first Production job at a local news station after I graduated college.  I later applied to work in “Hollywood” that’s when I landed the Hollywood entertainment news show as a Video Tape Librarian.  Eighteen months later I was asked to interview for a Production position for NBC Studios where I worked for the Senior Vice President of Production. She became a great mentor and guided me to become a freelance Production Coordinator. That’s what I have been doing for the past 3 years. The hours are never 9-5 and everyday is different, maybe I didn’t know this was exactly what I wanted but I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be, well aside from a deserted Island in Bora Bora…

 

6.     What is your background? Did you have to go to school for what you are doing?

I have a BA in “Film & Television Production” from California State University, Long Beach.  As I am 1st generation Mexican-American, getting my degree and being the first in the family to attend a 4-year college was already a big deal, the fact that I got to enjoy what I was studying was icing on the cake.

7.      What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to be in your field?

As cheesy as it sounds, follow your dreams; trust your gut, do everything with a smile, and people will notice. If possible, ask questions, show interest, and find a mentor who is in your field.

 

8.     Being a busy woman, what do you like to do on your free time?

Production hours can be insane; I worked 100 hrs in 7 days during a production once. Oddly enough, I find cooking & baking very relaxing. I enjoy throwing or attending a good “themed party”. I’m pretty handy with the sewing machine and a hot glue gun, you’ll always find me making something crafty for my friends and I. Pinterest is my bestfriend, most of the time. When possible, I like to take Krav Maga self-defense classes. Finally, lounging around and cuddling with Preston, my 4lb Chihuahua, beats everything else.

9.     What do you value most in a career? Ex. Money, fun, work life balance?

I value the hard work I’ve put in because I’ve learned so much about myself in the process. I value the memories of getting to work at a really cool location. 

10.     Do you have any other goals you strive to achieve?

I am currently working freelance (meaning I switch TV shows from time to time) I’m looking to move higher up the ladder and go back to work for a TV Studio in the Production Department. I’m currently looking into my opening my own Etsy store, as I mentioned earlier I always making crafty things for parties and holidays for my friends and family and people tell me I should sell my stuff… so why not combine work and play?

 11.  What is the greatest lesson you have learned? What would you do differently if given a second chance?

The greatest lesson is realizing I am only human and can only take on so much; it’s okay to ask for help. Nothing is as important as your happiness and well-being. Loving your job is a wonderful thing, but making time for your loved ones and enjoying the little things in life is important as well.

If given a 2nd chance I probably would have minored in Business. At the end of the day, Production basically comes down to managing a very large crew and handling the TV show’s budget.

 

12.     Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself working as a TV Studio Executive for a major Production Company.