Aaron Carroll – Windmill Lane’s Head Producer

Aaron Carroll – Windmill Lane’s Head Producer


This week we sat down with Aaron Carroll – Head Producer for Film & TV at Windmill Lane – to discuss his career to date.


What first attracted you to being a producer – and did you come to it from another area?

I actually started off as a Junior Colourist in Windmill’s Colour Department! It was my first real brush with the industry proper and was a great introduction to the post-production pipeline, learning the ropes under Dave Hughes & Matt Branton. I was there for a couple of years, working on some amazing projects before I started to feel the itch for something new. I was lucky enough that at the same time, a position opened up for a post coordinator in the production department. I figured as much as I had loved Colour, I would rather change job, learn a new skill, and stay in Windmill with the fantastic team I had gotten to know. If I didn’t like producing I could always move back to Colour in another facility right? Luckily I quickly fell in love with producing and haven’t looked back.


How did you learn to be a producer?

I’ve been lucky to have amazing mentors over the years from our colour team, to our senior producers, to our current Head of Production Deborah Doherty. Every one of them has such a unique style and attitude they bring to projects, that I have gleefully stolen aspects from and made my own.
It’s cheesy, but I think every project is so different and has so many variables you really do learn something new on each one that you can bring with you to the next one.


[Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy]

What’s your favourite thing about being a producer and why?

As a post-producer, you have to be aware of what stage the project is in across every department. I love being able to get involved and see how a project changes and progresses’ at every step! I guess it’s just an outlet for my general nosiness!
As well, there’s such a variety of projects being done at Windmill that no day is ever the exact same. I’ve been able to fulfill childhood dreams of working on Transformers (Prod. Boulder Media), while simultaneously managing noir crime dramas like Smother (Prod. Treasure Ent) and Kin (Prod. Bron). Not many other careers can say that!


How has production changed since you started your career?

Massively. I was still a junior when the Covid lockdowns hit and I don’t think any of us have seen a bigger curveball. Focusing on the positive, it led to leapfrogs in the remote work process, both for International client management and our internal processes. Learning to manage the extra steps involved, producing across multiple timelines, and all the while helping staff maintain a good work/life balance has been challenging at times but for the best overall!
Additionally, I’ve found the word “Post” becoming a bit of a misnomer as time has gone on. Even in my relatively short time, we’re getting much more involved with productions much earlier in the pipeline. Whether it’s getting our colourists talking to DPs before the shoot or having Sound Design chats during Pre-production I’ve loved getting to jump in early and start the creative flowing!



What do you think is the key to being an effective producer – and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?

I think all the main skills of a producer can be learned to an extent, but I believe there needs to be an innate willingness and ability to adapt. Your schedule will be thrown out and redone a dozen times over a project, the creative direction will change and flow as you find the story, and of course there’s the outside changes like lockdowns, technology advancements, industry changes, etc. You have to keep up with them all and not only keep yourself afloat but your team as well. (A decent sense of humor helps with this!)


Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?

I think Lakelands (Dir. Robert Higgins & Patrick McGivney, Prod. Harp Media) is the one I’m most proud of. I got the chance to watch the offline ahead of quoting on the project and I fell in love with it instantly.
As a midlands lad myself, I’ve found it’s difficult at times for non-Dublin voices to get a platform. Being able to work with Rob and Patrick, and help them showcase such an honest and genuine view of rural Ireland was an amazing feeling. It meant a lot to me to be able to bring this feature home to my folks.
(It doesn’t hurt that our colourist Dave Hughes and DP Simon Crowe made the Midlands look the best I’ve ever seen it)



As a producer, your brain must have a never-ending “to do” list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?

I struggled at first honestly! My first few months as a producer were full of “New Job” excitement, and then Covid jumped in and made sure there wasn’t much else to do but work. I’ve been slowly re-learning to watch movies for enjoyment and not just QC them (much to my boyfriend’s relief!)
I’m also an avid comic book collector and have been slowly taking Sub-City’s entire inventory home with me.


What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?

Admit when you don’t know something.
I firmly believe the purpose of a post-producer isn’t necessarily to know everything, but rather to know who to ask! Windmill has such a brilliant team, and has such a wealth of knowledge I find it so important to ask them as many questions as I can. And if you ever feel like you’ve asked too many, ask one more just to be sure!


Finally, what are your hopes for 2024?

The same as every year really, work on some cool projects with nice people!
I’ve had an amazing time the last few months helping some of the Guilds host events in our space, most recently the ISC round table on Colourists. I’m hoping that in 2024 we can build on that, and play host more often. I think it’s a really good opportunity to rebuild some of that sense of Film Community that we lost due to the pandemic.
I also have a particular passion for shorts and indie projects. I’m very aware of how lucky I was to get into this industry and I love being able to help out others when I can. I’ve been delighted to work with some amazing short projects this year like Callus, Johnny Dragon, Good Chips and I would love to continue that streak if I can.



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