Lilia Buckingham: On Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Lilia Buckingham plays Heather on Crown Lake, but did you know she also worked as a producer on the show? Scroll to find out what she had to say about this exciting learning experience!
As an actor, there are two people on set who you immediately sit up a little straighter for, quiet down for, and well, kind of fear…the director, and the producer.
So when I became a producer on Crown Lake, as well as a cast member, I was wondering if I would be afraid of myself?
As it turns out yes…and no.
What I was actually afraid of was what was also most exciting - learning a whole new set of skills and seeing a project come to life from a completely different point of view. And if I didn’t already have massive respect for the entire crew and team that puts a production together before, I certainly did now.
In case you were wondering, becoming a producer isn’t like being named prom queen. You don’t just “get” the title. As it happened, Crown Lake came about in part because I was writing Influence with Sara Shephard and she, Emily Skinner, and I were talking about how we all needed a new Gossip Girl, and we wanted to do a boarding school show set in the past. And since (reasonably) great minds think alike, Brat was thinking the same thing. So, we introduced Sara to Brat and – voila – Crown Lake was born!
Once I learned I would be a producer, I wanted to learn as much as I could. That meant looking at budgets, sitting in on casting sessions, and creating a key prop (take special note of Heather’s Diary). And in that learning experience, I saw what happens before the actors show up, and what happens after they leave! The producers are the first ones on set and the last to leave. All day. Everyday. And their work begins way before filming and ends long after the wrap day. It was fascinating to see how much needed to happen before one actor stepped foot on the set. There were shooting permits, crews to hire, props to be ordered. And as the newbie, I did 1/100th of what Madison Leibman and some of the other crew did.
But the ultimate perk of being a producer? A walkie talkie and earpiece. Figuring out how to listen to the person talking in front of you while a whole other set of people are talking in your ear is a skill I have yet to master. But it’s one of 1,000 things I feel like I began to understand while filming Crown Lake.
I have to say it was a privilege to get to learn with such an incredible (and patient) crew and work on both sides of the camera with such an amazing cast. I feel lucky that we had a cast with such easy chemistry. The feeling at the table read, getting to see our show come to life for the first time, was something I’d never felt before. Seeing characters jump off a script page and onto the screen was such a fulfilling moment, and I can’t wait to experience that again.
I certainly don’t want to give up acting, but I can say this experience opened my eyes to a whole other world of how to make shows happen. I hope you love the show half as much as I loved helping to make it.