Varun Verma on Becoming a Line Producer

January 14, 2016

Coming out of his MA Film and Media Production degree from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles, Varun Verma was hired by Replay Collective to work as a Line Producer for the production company. Replay Collective works with some of the most creative young filmmakers out there today to produce the most engaging content for major brands. While working for Replay, Verma has worked on almost a dozen high profile music videos, major commercials, and a few international short films.

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Varun Verma on set of one of his productions

Given the fact that many of our recent graduates are deciding which specific field in the industry to explore, we decided to get some more insight into Verma’s career after film school, as well as his role as a Line Producer for Replay.

Congrats on your success thus far! Can you tell us how you began working for Replay Collective?

During my final semester, I was producing a NYFA thesis called Maquisard, directed by Kurt Claridades, in an abandoned town called Boron. The first day of the shoot, I found out that there was another production going on at the same location, which was being produced by Replay Collective. Since there were student and studio productions at the same location, it was a big challenge for me to coordinate with them and make sure every one returns home with completed work and making sure the director achieves his vision. One day, I sat with producer Sid Ganji, who I work with now, and scheduled in such a way that neither of our productions would ever conflict with each other. The very next day, I received a message from Sid saying they liked the way I handled the situation and would like to hire me as a freelance line producer on two music videos of for the popular Youtube artist, Trisha Paytas. Fortunately, my first music video project “Fat Chicks” went viral (almost 5 million views to date) and was covered by Cosmopolitan magazine. After a few more freelance gigs with Replay, I was finally offered a full-time job with the company.

What are some of the challenges that come with your role as line producer?

My job as Line Producer is to support the director’s vision under the given budget. This typically includes making sure the crew is content and treated well. Keeping calm in tough circumstances is a big challenge. For example, at a recent production, our A.D. had an accident in morning and it was a tough call whether to get a new A.D. or wait for his final call. Meanwhile, our crew became irritated and began complaining about the set not being organized and, as a result, there was a communication breakdown amongst the crew—which ultimately went to higher authority. Overall, it’s a high pressure job from all aspects. And it’s tough not to freak out and prioritize the task and think a step ahead with all of the possible consequences of a decision I make that I’m totally accountable for.

Which  of the videos that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?

Recently, I worked on a music video project “Problematic” by Ricky Dillon featuring Snoop Dogg that I am very proud of. Another video that I am proud of was “Steal the Show” by Ricky Dillon, as well as the EA Games’ “Battlefield Hardline” commercial. Every project comes with new challenges and creatives. As a producer, I love working on new creatives, which makes me explore the horizon and gain experience in something completely new.

Was your experience at NYFA useful in terms of being prepared to work as a line producer?

I never thought I would end up as a producer, but NYFA played a big role in teaching industry level ethics and detailed orientation of the hollywood industry. I’m very thankful to NYFA for the practical training, in which I was given the opportunity to experience every crew position and now, as a producer, it helps me understand what it takes to be in a particular crew position.

What is your overall goal in the entertainment industry? What do you hope to achieve?

Since I love producing, and it’s fun to work in numbers and creatives, my goal is to become youngest award-wining commercial producer and eventually work on feature movies.


UPDATE: Varun’s latest project, A Good Girl, focuses on human trafficking and the plight of a young girl after she’s abducted. The film was released on May 10, 2018.