Interview with Documentary Line Producer Mon Alonso
Mon Alonso is a line producer of tv /film documentaries. Born in Barcelona although a Londoner at heart with an infinite curiosity about the world, she is learning to play the ukulele, loves cooking and travelling with her children.
Some of the documentaries she has worked on include: BUILDING THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR for Doha Film Institute & Qatar Museums Authority, THE ARISTOCRATS, BBC Worlwide & C4, THE NEW FUNDAMENTALISTS, C4 and A PROPOSAL FOR AN UNMADE FILM for the Arts Council England.
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day starts with me waking up at 6:30 to my favourite Spanish sounds & a strong caffetiere! Once the kids are up the ‘getting ready’ chaos starts. We have breakfast together and I drive them to school.
There is is never a dull day in the office! Usually I oversee a few projects so production meetings are always on the agenda, interviewing potential crew members, looking after budgets and legal issues are also an integral part of my job.
I am currently developing/researching various projects that I will film in Egypt early next year as well as producing a couple of short films in Spain & Egypt. The last few projects I have worked on were broadcast on Channel4 & Al Jazeera.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Having been able to work in the field I love; documentary production, my two wonderful children and to have managed to have a happy balance between them.
What advice would you give your pre baby self that you now know having had children?
Enjoy and embrace being spontaneous. I miss those out of the blue wild plans I enjoyed with friends like weekends away, saying yes to last minute screenings, concerts, parties etc..
What’s in your handbag?
iPhone charger, headphones, international adaptor, wallet, 3 different currencies, my perfume Aire Loewe, London travelcard, a couple of Egyptian pounds, short story ‘Gli Amore difficili’ by Italo Calvino, receipts and various pieces of Lego mini, watermelon chewing gum, Ipad, small make up bag.
What are your ambitions in life?
From a personal level my ambition in life is to raise my two children to be independent free thinkers & happy souls. I’d like to spend more time in our family home by the seaside in Barcelona, my hometown, a place where I can truly disconnect and recharge the batteries.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In 5 years time I see myself having set up my own documentary production company, directing my own films and nurturing new talent.
What advice would you give a budding documentary producer?
Be curious, be interested in people and producing.
In my opinion when you are an assistant the best way to learn a trade is by asking lots of questions. I love proactive assistants that are keen to develop their careers and are curious about how we do our work. My first manager became my mentor and became a very important person, both professionally and personally, as she was very generous with the knowledge she shared with me.
Through the years I’ve learned how important it is to think ahead of your directors and have contingencies on your budgets. Contingencies are key on production budgets as most of the time the success of any project/production will be determined by the bottom line. Having pockets of money tucked away for those last minute directorial demands are life savers. One last recommendation would be to work in fields that you are interested in.
Personally I am at home working on documentaries and I wouldn’t change it to work in realities or studio work for example!
Finally, happiness is…
My moments of happiness involve my family, my lovely friends, a home made meal cooked by me, Latin rhythms in the background and the sun shining.
This summer Mon is researching various projects that she will direct in Cairo next year along with learning Arabic and producing a couple of short films.
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