Executive Producer Ksenija Strydom-Mičić; quick witted, has never quitted.
‘This industry likes to get champagne tastes for lemonade monies.’ whoops the Croatian born Ksenija when we ask how she would describe the commercial production world. She is right of course, and she would know, being one of South Africa’s well-established Executive Producers, with an impressive reputation that is only matched by her impeccable style and taste. We’re Zooming, and although we are trying our best with our business-at-the-top and sweatpants-below look, the multi-lingual Ksenija (pronounced KSE-KNEE-YA), is looking as chic as ever. Of her signature red bindi she is wearing, she says ‘I keep losing my wedding ring and a red bindi signifies that I’m married so I figured I’ll stick to it’. She’s dialed in from her family home that she shares with her husband, Director Markstry, and their kid.
We ask her what it’s like working with directors and being married to one, ‘Directors are magical creatures. No normal person can do what they do. I’m obsessed with them, I mean why do you think I married one?’ Markstry and Ksenija met at a very young age while they were studying at film school. ‘I remember my first gig, producing someone’s film for their Masters project. I got paid R4000. Yeah, that was for 6 months work. And they say budgets are tighter now, haha.’
Let’s do a quick fast-forward to the now because there’s something coming that you should know about. Here’s a hint…
Before we get into the launch of Ksenija’s new venture SUPERVISION, let’s do a quick throwback to how she got to this point. Ksenija began her rise in the industry as a PA at Hammersmith and Elephant before going freelance as a Production Coordinator and then landing the role of Producer at the age of 25 for Director Brett Wild. ‘I was working with Executive Producer Byron Grant at the time. I remember we took – actually, let not me not say his name, but he is a top, wonderful ECD – for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon and we just drank tequila the whole day. I remember Byron saying to me afterwards “That’s how it’s done”. I asked him what he meant and he said “That’s how you get work.” I’ve had about 9846 tequilas since then.’ She says, only half-serious.
Ksenija’s honesty is downright refreshing. Of course, she wines and dines her clients ‘Nothing wrong with that.’ she says, but her focus on delivering top creative work is her number one priority. ‘The biggest lesson I learnt from Brett was to not take things personally and quite simply, never be late. I will never be late again for anything.’ Although that might sound like an exaggeration, Ksenija is not joking around and says carefully ‘Being on time doesn’t require a huge amount of talent, but it shows the amount of respect you have for the people that are working with you. Respect is very important to me.’
In 2014 Ksenija began producing at Spitfire Films, but she had her eye on one director in particular whose work she admired. She contacted Executive Producer Adam Thal from The Star Film Company and said she wanted to produce for Director Tristan Holmes. And like all good producers, when Ksenija puts her mind to something, more often than not, she gets it. ‘I think my most favourite ad I ever produced was Tristan’s Coronation ‘Work Hard For Your Money’ She says, thinking back over the possibly hundreds of ads she’s had her hand in. And, that was the beginning of Ksenija’s long run at Star Films where she soon worked her way up to Executive Producer, producing award-winning commercials for some of the biggest brands and agencies in the world. She says: ‘Reputation is everything. I’ve worked hard for my reputation, and I intend to continue growing it in the advertising and in the entertainment industry.’
So, what’s next for this passionate do-er with an unceasing determination to create? SUPERVISION. Supervision is production with aplomb. Based on Ksenija’s own desire to collaborate with the greats, she has launched a new production company where she plans to centre the values of adaptability, transparency and trust and attract talent that shares in those values.
‘SUPERVISION is produced with aplomb. It’s a production service for freelance directors. On one hand, there will be a few dates before we go steady, but there is also always room for SPECIAL GUESTS at SUPERVISION – directors with projects that need spectacular production support.’
Ksenija has considered every detail of SUPERVISION to create a company with a culture that she believes ‘…is something that everybody not only wants but needs! Everyone needs supervision.’
In SUPERVISION Ksenija is creating a home for great Directors who love filmmaking. ‘I am a director’s secret weapon, their trusted ally, trust between a producer and a director is vital. It means you believe in me that I can do my job, which enables you to do your job. It’s about mutual respect. It’s often about creating boundaries within the opportunities. You know, we’re not saving lives; but often we do find ourselves moulding them.’
Are you a director who is interested in joining SUPERVISION? Contact Ksenija and set up a chat.
You know, we’re not saving lives; but often we do find ourselves moulding them.’
Executive Producer: Ksenija Strydom-Mičić
083 703 6868
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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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