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Bridging Creativity and Efficiency: The Insightful Experience of A Project Manager & Line Producer

Join us for an enlightening interview with DeeDee Animation Studio’s Project Manager & Line Producer, Trinh Kieu Nguy. Through her stories, we gain valuable insights into the dynamic world of animation production, and learn how project managers play a pivotal role in keeping creative visions on track, budgets in check, and schedules on point.


Trinh Kieu Nguy

Job Title

Project Manager

at DeeDee Animation Studio


Based

Hanoi, Vietnam


Education

BA in English Language for International Relations

Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam


Project

Chimimo

How to Become a Cult Leader

DC’s Justice League: Comic Chaos

Warhammer Interrogator

Hot Wheels Skate

CAMP x Disney’s: Mickey & Friends


Inspiration

How did you get into the field of animation? Was it by chance or because you planned for that career path?

I didn't plan to work on animation in the first place. What led me here is my artistic curiosity. I love storytelling and enjoy exploring different art forms.

Even though art was not my major at university, I seized every chance I had to work on many part-time jobs and projects related to art outside of school. I first started working at an atelier teaching art for kids and middle-aged individuals, then worked at a contemporary art space and a network for creative hubs, and finally joined a performance ensemble until I found DeeDee.

Why did you choose DeeDee Animation Studio? How has been your journey with DeeDee so far?

I have loved cartoons and anime since I was a kid. When I saw a recruitment post for a Production Assistant job at DeeDee Animation Studio I applied right away. I could not miss the chance to learn how animation works and be a part of it. Now it’s been almost 3 years and I work as a Project Manager.

I think I’ve met half the goals I set for myself to learn how production and the industry work, but a lot remains to be done. I want us to make our own IP that we can be proud to share with our friends in Vietnam and around the world. I guess this is a long-term goal for us, we have the potential, we just need to keep trying, and upgrading ourselves every day.



Becoming

Can you provide an overview of your role as a Project Manager/ Line Producer at DeeDee Animation Studio? What do you like most in that role?

As a producer, most of the time, I liaise between the production team and our clients. I make sure our team understands the requirements of the projects we are working on. And I keep our clients updated about the status of the production from the start to the final delivery. I also work with a team of line producers to plan and run productions in-house. Sometimes, when it’s needed, I work as a line producer too.

What I like most about this job is I get to know most of the things happening in production. The more I know the more I learn and the more I understand how things work.

What projects have you been involved in recently? Which one left the biggest impression on you? Why?

I usually work on one series and 2 or 3 shorts at a time. The project that impressed me the most is the series "How to Become a Cult Leader" published on Netflix. I had to do research on real-life characters that I didn’t know before. I was totally amazed and shocked by those stories. Another reason why this became a memorable project is that it was the second time we worked with 6 Point Harness. They came back after we did one short for Mattel with them. I always enjoy working with them since they are one of the most professional studios that we have worked with.



What are the major challenges you've encountered when managing projects at DeeDee, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge for me is balancing the needs of the studio, artists, and clients/partners. I have to juggle with meeting the schedule and quality agreed with the client on a specific project, figuring out ways to effectively run multiple projects at once and helping the artists improve themselves and be more efficient, while still finding space for creativity. These needs shouldn't conflict with each other, but sometimes we still have to compromise one thing for another. For me, the key to this is knowing the priority at any given time to make the right decision.

How do you handle managing projects in very different formats, styles and complexity for clients in different parts of the world? Is any adaptation needed?

At DeeDee we work with studios, agencies, companies around the world who use different pipelines, different software, terms, languages and so on. So I definitely have to be flexible and adapt to each client/project. I see our relation with our clients as a partnership, as long as we’ve decided to work together we’ll always find solutions and bring value to each other. And in case something unexpected happens I always prepare backup plans so that production remains under control at all times.



Upgrading

What do you think are the most important qualities of a Project Manager/ Line Producer?

One of the most critical qualities of a Producer to me is problem-solving, which is to identify issues, analyze them, and find creative solutions to overcome obstacles that arise during a project.

The second one is resilience to face high-pressure situations and setbacks. Resilience allows you to bounce back from adversity and continue to lead effectively. Last but not least, the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and unforeseen challenges is crucial. We should remain flexible and open to new ideas and solutions.

What do you do to stay ahead of the game? How do you upgrade your skills and competencies?

The animation industry is dynamic and constantly evolving, so my team and I always have to stay informed of industry trends, emerging technologies, and market developments. We update ourselves with a new model for management by enrolling in online courses and training and seeking out experienced mentors who can provide guidance and share their knowledge not only in the animation field but also in other industries. While project management is a key role, maintaining a creative mindset is important. I usually follow and attend exhibitions and performances, and participate in art projects outside the studio so I can explore different facets of the art world.


The role of Producer is not yet common in Vietnam, what is your advice for Vietnamese talents who would like to pursue that career?

If you're a Vietnamese aspiring to become a Producer in the animation field, the first thing you should do is try to gain some hands-on experience.

We don't have a school for animation in Vietnam, but we can learn on the job. I believe that would be the best and most practical way to get a taste of what it's like to be here. The second thing is to be persistent, and this applies to any job. Whatever job you do, it's essential to weather the ups and downs, adapt to challenges, and accumulate experience over time. You should stay long enough to gain a deeper understanding of the work.

The last thing is that as you spend enough time on the job, you develop a better sense of which aspects you genuinely enjoy and excel at. Focusing on your strengths and areas of passion can lead to a more fulfilling and successful career. Good luck!

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