“Always be really hungry to learn and grow,” is the key piece of advice offered by Scott Lakso, executive producer at loyalkaspar. And it served him well. Lakso started at loyalkaspar’s front desk 12 years ago, and worked his way up to leadership.
On any given day, you’ll find Lakso helping producers manage their projects, jumping in on new business proposals and making sure clients are happy.
Daily Brief Contributing Editor Kareem Taylor had the opportunity to catch up with Lakso on his time as a mentee in PromaxBDA’s executive mentorship program, how he landed his first job and the story of behind his career journey. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation:
DAILY BRIEF: How did you get this job?
After graduating from university in 2006, I moved down to New York City, which is every upstate New Yorker’s dream. I started interviewing at any company in film and television that I could get an interview at. I found a job posting on Mandy.com by loyalkaspar for an office manager. I interviewed here, got hired on at the front desk, office management, resourcing, IT and project management. I became a production coordinator, associate producer, producer, senior producer and then worked my way up to executive producer. It’s been about 12 years now.
Lakso: When you were at university, what’d you get your degree in?
I was at the University of Rochester in upstate New York in the film and media studies department. It’s fantastic, but [only offers] film theory, analysis and criticism. For me and my peers who wanted to be hands-on and make more things, we would team up with students from other universities who had equipment. I always had a passion for film and television. I’ve found many people in our field have a lot of strong film background, in understanding the theory and history in how film and television is made. I parlayed that into a hands-on management position.
In regards to the PromaxBDA executive mentorship program, you mentioned previously that honing skills doesn’t come naturally and that it takes an effort to hone those skills. When did that realization occur?
I started to learn that day one on the job. I’m lucky that David, who’s the owner here, from the very beginning was very invested in helping me and everyone else grow within the company. What was presented is that you can become whatever you want to be, there’s no limitations to what you’re passionate about and they will support that. My growth is only limited by my efforts and determination. So much of my job is overseeing other producers and helping them grow. And then, I’m doing that for myself through the PromaxBDA mentorship program. My mentor, Mark Williams at Sundance, has been amazing and has helped me grow so much in just the six months we’ve been doing it.
What does working with Mark look like?
We meet every three to four weeks at his office at 11 Penn Plaza. He’s nice enough to dedicate an hour to an hour and a half every time we meet. The mentorship program provides this workbook that has different categories and areas to focus on. There’s sections on personal branding and executive presence. I usually complete a certain section of it, and we just have a nice conversation. It’s great, I’ve gotten to know Mark very well. He’s very open and honest. Having the workbook has been a good structure for the conversation, but they take on a life of their own once we’re in the room.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to be where you are?
Always be really hungry to learn and grow. Be open to feedback and criticism, and fully committed to working on themselves. It’s about not assuming that you know everything and that you’re always right. Nobody is perfect, no one will ever be perfect, but striving to get there is what we all should be doing.
Listen below to hear all of Kareem Taylor’s conversation with Scott Lasko:
Subscribe to The Daily Brief Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Podomatic, Spotify or wherever you get podcasts for newsmaker interviews, in-depth conversations and creative insights, with new episodes delivered each week.