I’m Karen Coetzee.
I’m a producer.
I’m based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
I primarily I facilitate international productions coming to film in the UAE. This involves budgeting, scheduling, contracting and managing the technical and creative teams that are brought on board to deliver the creative vision of the Director and Client.
What path did your career take to get where you are now?
10 years in Cape Town & Johannesburg / 5 years in London / 10 years in Dubai
I studied Business Management, did my internship for Young & Rubicam Ad Agency, they asked me to stay on and finish my studies part time. I moved into their TV Department – promoted to Producer and moved to Johannesburg.
I felt I needed to understand how the production process really worked, and so resigned from the Ad Agency and freelanced for production companies in TVC, TV production (factual and drama) and feature films.
Before I turned 30, I felt that I needed a big change and a challenge. I moved to London where I freelanced and then also met and married my now business partner. London weather wasn’t my cup of tea, and we were shooting jobs in the Middle East from London – it looked like a new adventure and we took it! Never looked back.
A jungle gym of career advancement!
Did you have any help during your career?
I had people who believed in me and gave me chances – and I took every chance I was offered that I felt would teach me new skills and was an adventure.
What do you wish you had known when you started out?
Nothing comes to mind. I’m happy with the path I took and how I approached my varied work life. I always did the best I could.
If you could talk to your younger self now, what would you tell them?
You did the right thing.
Who has most inspired you and why?
My peers inspire me all the time with their insight, savvy, bravery and commitment.
There is not one particular person.
What tips would you give someone just starting out?
Work hard, be focussed on what you do, listen, have fun, be confident.
What was the best piece of advice anyone gave you?
Take the time you need – don’t rush
What inspiring quote to you love and where does it come from?
A recent one from Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In:
..encouraging woman to ‘sit at the table’, take risks and pursue their goals with gusto.
Do you use any useful apps, systems or websites that you would like to share?
I love Ted Talks