Okuhle’s line producer, Lauren Neethling, shares how she is doing what she loves.
Written by Jill Welsh
Dynamite does come in small packages. To have covered so many varied aspects of television production in just a few years takes some serious determination and guts, but then, we’re not all the über talented, multitasking Lauren Neethling! Meet Okuhle Media’s powerhouse Line Producer for shows like SABC 2’s Hectic Nine-9, Showville, and My Night.
Lauren was busy with her articles to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, along with studying law, when she realised this career path was not her true north. She followed her instincts and with her family behind her every step of the way, she transitioned into the world of television and media.
After crossing over to financial journalism for a season, lecturing on production finances at AFDA, and even presenting a ‘News and Actuality’ show on CTV, Lauren soon figured out that being in front of the camera was not her calling either!
She then tackled ‘behind the scenes’, assisting on location shoots, production management and insert producing. Lauren explains that these many career moves solidified her understanding of the big picture of television production and strategy. Her corporate finance studies also came in handy as she shifted into the finance realm of television production.
Her role models include Okuhle’s own Wilna van Schalkwyk and Liezel Vermeulen. ‘Liezel has imparted so much of her knowledge to train me. As for Wilna, she must be a genius,’ Lauren giggles. ‘She is just five steps ahead of everyone else, and is so approachable, even though her plate is full to the brim.’
Lauren manages budgets and also the finest details of a television production: she checks schedules, time deliverables and ensures people are exactly where they are meant to be at every moment. Her daily schedule is filled with FCC sheets, reviewing bank and credit card statements, doing recons, running through budgets, tracking project production spend and, deep breath, she still somehow finds the time to be very HR focused.
How does she cope? ‘It’s about knowing your boundaries and delegation of course,’ Lauren smiles. ‘Really, you’ve also got to be okay with saying ‘No, I just can’t. But here’s a better solution to fill that gap.”
‘Keeping your passions alive is also so vital to healthy, fulfilled employees,’ she asserts. Lauren studied dance through Cape Town City Ballet and attained her performance licentiate, which led to her cheerleader days for the IPL in India. Interspersed with hard work back home, these two-month escapes were all about great camaraderie and fun. She would go back in a heartbeat! This was a side to Lauren that her Okuhle colleagues were very surprised to meet at her first annual staff party where she wowed them all with some wicked dance moves.
Not just a number cruncher, clearly! And her rescue dog Sammy really has her heart and soul. ‘Even she has overcome so much, it’s inspiring,’ she says. After enduring terrible abuse as a security dog, seeing the progress her Sammy has made gives Lauren new strength to persevere through tough times, count her blessings and appreciate even the smallest things in life.
For enquiries, contact:
Lauren Neethling, Line Producer
M: 061 0187 335