Film Producer Sidra Smith: How Kids Can Become Producers

October 10, 2016  |  
Sidra Smith

Sidra Smith

Kids have talent. If anyone saw this season’s “So You Think You Can Dance” featuring kids you know that they were just as good, if not better, than some of the adults who have been dancing for years. Especially, when it came time for them to choreograph their own routines. They showed up and out and had us wondering what’s up with today’s kids? Well, technology has them growing up at an accelerated rate and their minds are taking in information like mini-computers. Unlike generations before them, these kids feel like there’s nothing they can’t do. They’ve witnessed a full eight years of America’s first African American President and his incomparable First Lady, so why not? But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that they can do it alone.
We can help equip kids with a mindset- a producer’s mindset- that could assist them into bringing their creative visions to life. Imagine how they might be able to control their destinies as opposed to waiting for someone else to do it for them. Sooooo to get us parents and kids on the right track, we solicited the advice of Sidra Smith, lead producer of the upcoming Angela Davis movie for Codeblack/Lionsgate Films and producer of the NAACP Image Award-winning documentary, Free Angela And All Political Prisoners.
Mommynoire: First, what is a producer?
Sidra: A producer is someone who’s an expert at coordinating, logistics and bringing together the best people they can find to bring an idea to fruition.
What does it take to become a producer?
Sidra: You must develop great relationships and nurture them, have discipline, a clear vision of the project, be organized, resourceful, a problem solver, creative, a great leader and a good teammate.
How can parents tell that their kids might have a talent for producing?

Sidra: If the kid is a control freak he/she is more than likely to be a great producer. (Laughs) But again, they also have to be a great teammate. This is not a job one can do alone.

How could a kid benefit from producing? 
Sidra: Everything in this world needs to be produced. Not just film and TV, but events, plays, products, books, I could go on and on. They are sure to receive a wide range of experience.
When can a kid start producing? 
Sidra: Today kids are so advanced because of technology, they could start producing as early as 8-10 years old if they have the right discipline and mindset.
What types of things could a kid produce?
Sidra: Instructional videos, short stories, commercials, music videos, plays, PSA’s on bullying and the environment…
Do you need to go to college?
Sidra: No. But willingness to learn is important.
What do you need?
Sidra: A great team who believes in your vision.
Are there any producers that you admire?
Sidra: Women like Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith definitely inspire me because it’s not easy for Black women to produce and get amazing projects.
What made you want to produce?
Sidra: I’ve always been the organizer in the group since about 16-years-old. At one point, I thought I wanted to direct, but then I realized that I’m more effective behind the camera creating a platform for creative people to do their work, so I embraced it. The first thing I produced in my early 20’s was a scripted series for MTV called “Gil And Them’s Island” which was a spoof on “Gilligan’s Island,” with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. From there I began producing documentaries, advertising campaigns, a talk show in Ghana, commercials, TV, film, events, galas and initiatives. Once you know how to produce you have options.
What is your goal as lead producer of the Angela Davis movie?
Sidra: My goal is to work with our team to identify the right director, casts, crew and make a successful film for people to see here in the U.S. and internationally.

For more on writer and mom Erickka Sy Savané visit erickkasysavane.com or follow her on Instagram andTwitter. Also check out her POP MOM video series right here on Madamenoire.

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