Move Like Water: Selena Pizarro, RPA

A producer knows how to merge art and commerce to tell a story that will resonate with consumers.

Full Service
Santa Monica , United States
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Selena Pizarro
SVP/ Director, Video Production RPA, Santa Monica

What is the role of a TV/video producer?

The role of a TV/video producer is to bring the words on a page into reality in the most entertaining, creative, and effective way. A producer knows how to merge art and commerce to tell a story that will resonate with consumers. A producer should have passion when it comes to storytelling and should be able to lead a project with grace and ease to find the most talented team to bring a concept from the page to fruition. My motto is to “move like water” in all that you do – meaning that you move through the production process fluidly – always moving forward, and sometimes when you come upon a barrier, you engulf it and move over, under, and around to pass through it.


Tell us about your background and what led you to where you are today?

When I was young, I used to put on productions at family functions over Christmas and Thanksgiving.  I would establish the start time and what the show was and then go about selling tickets to everyone. Later in life, I owned a company with a partner, and we would put on productions at local nightclubs with fire eaters, drag queens, and fashion shows, partnering with local clothing stores. Needless to say, it was not super-lucrative. I’ve always loved bringing ideas to life – it’s very exciting to me.  After working my way up on the production-company side for years, I got my first job at an ad agency and never looked back. I’ve been growing my career and brands since then, and I love it.  I’ve been lucky to find something that has been in my DNA from the start.


What sort of qualifications and experience do you need?

I always look for three things when I’m hiring people for my team – a sense of urgency, an ability to problem-solve/think outside of the box under pressure, and a passion for storytelling and filmmaking. 


What are some different ways you can improve and advance in your career?

I’m a firm believer in always making every decision for the right reason, and that reason is always about the work, the product that we produce.  Be bold in your choices, and stand up for bringing the best talent to every project.  You won’t lose with this approach.  Never settle. Nurture all your relationships all the time, and that means all of your relationships across all channels.  We are better together.  Maybe a cliché, but it is true.


What is the most useful advice you received from a fellow producer?

You get what you pay for. 


When looking at a new project’s script, what usually draws your attention?

I instantly can tell if a script is a winner if it comes to life in my head when teams are presenting.  I always know that it needs to be produced at that moment.  If you get really excited about an idea and you are able to tell someone about it in one sentence – you know it’s good.


Is there anything you have coming up we should keep our eyes open for?

We are doing some exciting work on the next round of Farmers Insurance and – launching in March 2021.  Keep a watch out!


How has the pandemic affected your work? 

When March 13th rolled around this year, my production methodology was completely shattered into tiny pieces.  Our whole way of doing business was no longer an option.  I had a career crisis of how I was going to morph into getting sh*t done when we all can’t be together.  Cut to today with several very successful campaigns/productions behind me and a new understanding of remote shooting across countries, and I’m very grateful for how we at the agency, together with our clients and our production and post partners, have succeeded in figuring out a way to move forward successfully while keeping everyone healthy.