Success Profile: Q&A with Hollywood Power Broker Nina Lopez-Corrado
How did you start down this path of producing and directing?
I went to film school in Orlando and then the day after graduation I decided to test my luck and move to LA. I always knew I wanted to be a producer so, I looked for a job as a producer’s assistant. I found my first job through Craigslist as an assistant production office coordinator. Through a connection there, I interviewed for and wound up working with Television Producing Director, Chris Long. I spent the next 7 years as his assistant/ protege learning everything I possibly could about the film industry. During this time I discovered I had a knack for storytelling and decided I wanted to pursue a career as a television director. I then started directing small insert units and 2nd until shoots and after 6 years on the tv show The Mentalist, I finally got my chance to direct an episode and as they say the rest is history.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced along the way and how did you handle them?
I started at a very young age and grew up in front of a lot of people that now report directly to me. My biggest challenge was to always carry myself in a professional way and to get my colleagues to see me as a serious director and not a young naive filmmaker/assistant. I learned that in order to get the part you must act the part. I had to convince myself I could be a director before I could get everyone else to see me as one too. I learned responsibility is not given, it’s taken and if you take advantage of that and you never give up, the right people will take notice and you will grow into the leadership position you desire.
What have you found along the way to be easier than you expected?
Honestly, none of it was easy. My experience has been that life is hard and most of the time unfair. Fortunately, timing was on my side. When you add in relentless hard work, things started to fall in place. It’s funny how that goes; the harder you work the more lucky you become. Easy is a funny word because nothing that’s worth anything ever comes easy and if it did then everyone would have it.
What do you think makes you successful at what you do?
I’m not afraid to make a mistake and I am very good at taking constructive criticism; two things that many people fear and two things that quite often hold people back from achieving their goals. I’m not afraid to look stupid in front of a group of people, it’s a gift and curse.
What's the most important thing you have learned in your career?
To never give up, work as hard as you can and never stop believing in yourself. Wake up each morning and visualize the job you want and focus those energies into making that visualization come to life. It worked for me.