Working in the creative sphere means that no day is ever the same—especially when it comes to the role of a producer. And in this month’s spotlight we got the chance to talk with one of The Lift’s top producers, Magali Sagarra. From her industry beginnings to some of the craziest projects she’s worked on, Magali’s pedigree of projects certainly lends itself to excitement all around.
Tell us a bit about your beginnings with The Lift. What drew you to The Lift in the first place and how has your role changed over the years?
My very first time working with The Lift was in 2006 when I came on to work as a producer for a massive project—but my focus hadn’t yet fully shifted to commercials.
My background was in feature films. I did that for around 10 years before focusing on commercials, and then it happened: In 2011, I got a call from The Lift to be a Production Manager on a project and I never left. I’ve taken on many roles, moving from Production Manager to producer for local jobs and then to production services before assuming my current role: Senior Producer for The Lift.
How has working at The Lift impacted your creative approach?
The Lift and I have grown up together—eight years ago we were different from what and who we are now, and we’re constantly learning from each other. We complement each other, especially since I can bring my film foundation into the work we do. If I compare films to commercials, making a film is like a marathon and a commercial is like a sprint. Here at The Lift, excellence is one of our main values, so if we are going to make things, we want to make them the best. That ethos also informs my approach and mission to empower directors’ creativity in any way I can with the time and resources that I have.
How have your views on the industry shifted from the start of your career to today?
When I was very young, I wanted to be a director and had all of these ideas in terms of the stories I wanted to tell. Everything that happens to you is a story. Like everyone else, I started from the very bottom as a production assistant, then I worked in the locations department, art department, and so on. It was such a great way to learn it all.
Tell us about some of your favorite spots and why they stand out.
I have done hundreds of jobs, so it’s hard to pick!
I worked on a huge campaign for the Mexico Tourism Board called “Live It to Believe It” that was very fun. There were four campaigns within the entire project, and I travelled around the country to bring it together. These projects with big production values are always so fun. We had helicopter shots, shots from boat to boat, jet skis, and cars racing through the deserts.
I also loved working with Joe Kosinski on “Destiny.” We shot it in a swallow cave, which is a very unique spot in Mexico. There are only three in the whole world.
“Ciel” from Los Pérez was also a great project to work on. It was like a Mad Max movie. Some other favorites I have include: StubHub “Festival” and “Machines,” both of which were directed by Martin de Thurah, the Henry Hobson Audi spot, Apple’s commercial from Daniels, and a short film sponsored by Belfast called “Outlaws” where we had the chance to work alongside David Beckham and Harvey Keitel, as well as many other great actors.
How do you go about balancing creative vision with client expectations?
One of my main challenges as a producer is making sure they both come together. It’s about being able to deliver a client’s creative expectation with the resources that we have. One of our goals at The Lift is to show all of our resources on the screen and if we are going to work on projects, we want to make sure they are of the highest quality.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would you say?
Watch and learn from the good ones and never think you know enough. Learning never ends.