Whitney Guaderrama is an Assistant Production Coordinator living in Albuquerque.
When did you graduate from CMI?
What was your area of emphasis at CMI?
LiveAction Filmmaking – DFM
Where are you and what are you doing now?
I have been living and working in Albuquerque, NM since early 2017. Currently, I am a union Assistant Production Coordinator through IATSE Local 480. I just finished wrapping up Season 5 of Better Call Saul.
What do you like most about what you’re doing?
I enjoy being an important puzzle piece to the creation of a show. My office provides the support that our producers, directors, writers, cast, and crew need to efficiently move through prep and production. Generally speaking, I directly assist our Production Coordinator with scheduling meetings, coordinating with vendors, communicating with the studio and network, and managing our office staff. Some of my specific responsibilities include distributing cast deal memos, executing cast/stunt contracts, tracking data for SAG-AFTRA, and finalizing episodic cast sheets.
Most of my jobs have been located at Albuquerque Studios/Netflix. It’s fun to work on a studio lot and see sets get built on the stages. I’ve also enjoyed getting to meet and work with crew members from not only the Albuquerque area, but from Los Angeles, New York, and beyond. I learned early on that I have the ability to grow my network in places I didn’t think were as accessible.
What I like most about my job is I never know what I’ll be doing 6 months… 1 year… 3 years from now. That’s the most exciting element of my career.
What are some projects/jobs that you’ve worked on since graduating?
My first job after graduating was on NBC’s The Night Shift (Season 4). I was a Production Assistant at the time. Since then I’ve worked as a Production Secretary both on Better Call Saul (Season 4) and a Disney film titled Stargirl, based on the Jerry Spinelli novel. My most recent job was as the Assistant Production Coordinator for Better Call Saul (Season 5).
What classes and learning experiences at CMI were the most valuable in building towards your current job?
The course that was most helpful in landing a job was Portfolio Development. Professor Ilana Lapid really helped me in learning how to market myself which is immensely important in this type of work, no matter what department you are trying to work in. In her class I was able to take a look at all that I accomplished throughout college and make that look good on paper. I also built a list of contacts that could help me network and that is what helped me land a job so quickly after graduating.
Additionally, some of the best learning experiences were getting to work on projects directly with my professors. I had opportunities to work with Ilana Lapid, Sherwin Lau, Mitch Fowler, Ross Marks, and Dr. Phil Lewis on projects of all sizes.
What are you doing when you aren’t working?
I work about 60 hours a week. My boyfriend and I both work in the industry, so I truly cherish any extra time we get to spend together or with friends. These days I have been spending my free time doing pilates, reading, catching up with family, or learning French. In between shows it’s usually a priority for me to travel. My last couple of trips were spent in Chicago and New York City.
What’s some advice you would give a CMI student (or maybe potential CMI student) about their time at CMI?
Meet and learn from as many people as you can while in the program — both professors and classmates. I met my lifelong friends while at CMI, and we have continued to encourage and support each other in our respective careers since graduating. The film industry is rough and you absolutely need a strong support system while working in this field.
For those students who are graduating soon, having an industry mentor is invaluable if at all possible.
Where can people see your work?
Netflix, AMC, Disney+
Link to your website:
What’s next for you?
While I can’t discuss my next project quite yet, I’m also planning to relocate to New York City in the near future. Working in New Mexico has been a fantastic springboard for my career, but I’m eager to take my job and expertise to a city that I know will challenge me even more. I can’t say for certain that I want to continue working on film productions as I get older, but only time and experience will tell.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Anything is possible if you really work at it. Thank you to all faculty and staff at CMI who helped and encouraged me during my time at NMSU. I am continuously grateful to be where I am.