Growing up in Beijing, China, Min Dai often found herself alone as a child, looking to pass the time. Her parents were scholars working in a prestigious university, and had an extensive DVD collection for their downtime. When a young Dai discovered this collection, she never seemed to be bored again, taking in classic movies and iconic films, she was not only entertained, but enchanted by the prospect of one day making one herself. Now, as a celebrated producer with a series of award-winning projects under her belt, she spends each and every day living that childhood dream.
“I used to think producing was a very boring job. I thought producers only dealt with papers and things that were not creative. However, when I started to piece ideas together for my first project, I could not do it without a good producer to help fit everything in place. I realized that a producer is in charge of all the creativity in a project; having a good idea is easy, but without a good producer you are never going to make the idea come to life,” says Dai.
Audiences all over the world have seen Dai’s work both on the big and small screen. Her films, such as Meeting Gary, The Four, and Eggman, have seen international acclaim at prestigious international film festivals, and her television shows, such as the Emmy Award-winning Travels with Darley, have large fanbases. This is also evident with her work on the series The Switch, which has millions of viewers on Fashionone.com’s 4K channel.
“The team on The Switch is packed with experienced filmmakers who have been in the industry for a number of years. Their ideas are unique and innovative. I feel inspired working with them. The team is also very multicultural and accepting. I feel right at home working on this production,” says Dai.
Directed by award winning director Emmanual Sapolsky, The Switch is a high concept series of “exchanging lives and finding yourself through the other person’s daily struggle” shot with a Telenovela feel for the emotional arch and character interactions, also a Mockumentary genre with its behind-the scenes-overall visual look.
“The story is about equality. Two people with very different lives and backgrounds meet in New York City, and they decide to switch identities. It applies to many situations in society right now, where if we had paid more attention to how other people feel and put ourselves in their shoes, it would create more understanding and the world would be a better place,” Dai describes.
Dai says shooting the series was intense, a lot of work, but an amazing experience. As Producer, she had to make the executive choice of keeping certain scenes or deciding what needed to be reshot fast. Of course, many times it was the director’s request, but she needed to make it happen. Her knowledge of New York City helped with this, as she was able to find locations easily and hire actors or crew members quickly when they were needed.
“I think the team was very talented and inspiring, I learned a lot from this experience. We have been working all over the world, so it was nice to work with a team that is so open and so easygoing but at the same time creates great work”.
The show premiered worldwide on fashionone.com‘s 4K channel. Millions of viewers watched the series all over the world, and it continues to be a success to this day.
“The Switch has been such a great learning process. At times, producers can be vulnerable because you are always stuck with problems. But as long as you don’t give up, there’s always hope and in most cases the outcome will be worth it,” she advises. “Learning is key in trying to work your way into producing. I learned most of what I know from collaborating with award-winning producers and the more methods you experience the more personal style you are going to develop.”
If you haven’t already, check out The Switch here.