Cori Cooperider Head of Production/GM, Backyard

TRUST sat down with Backyard’s Cori Cooperider to chat about what it means to be the Head of Production, running to Kanye,  and what happens when dance meets acupuncture. (hint: it’s not what you think.)

Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How did you get your start in the industry?

I worked as a temp at a software company in Seattle back in the .com boom there, and within a year ended up producing tutorial videos all over the world. It was my first exposure to production and I loved it. I left Seattle for the sun of LA and did a bunch of free production work from craigs list to get started. I was lucky enough to meet some great people and started coordinating on music videos which then evolved to commercials. I freelanced for a decade as a coordinator then supervisor. I did several jobs at Backyard as a freelancer. So when they called and said they had a staff opening I was thrilled. I was ready for something else.

The titles “Head of Production” and “General Manager” sound like they could mean just about anything (or everything). What do you find yourself doing every day, for the most part?

Every day is different… that’s why I like it! The biggest part of most days though is working with the EPs and Directors to land jobs. I do a lot of the bidding, so I’m on conference calls, commenting on treatments and crunching numbers.

I’ve actually gone to swing dance camp… it sounds incredibly dorky but is fantastic! Then last year I went to Argentina and fell in love again, this time with Tango. So now I’m lucky enough to do both.

The Education section of your LinkedIn profile makes intriguing reference to time spent at Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine and the Institute of PsychoStructural Balancing. What did you study at these schools, and what got you interested in the subject(s)?

Yes, I went to acupuncture school for a year. It was while I was freelancing and thinking about leaving the business. I became certified in massage therapy then as well. I was burnt out and looking for a kinder and gentler career path. But in the end it really didn’t suit me. I love production… and having to take science classes as an adult kicked my ass. It was such a joy to go back to work on commercials. I had a lot more perspective and gratitude.

While we’re drudging up fun facts from your past — we hear you have a special history with dance. What kind of dance do you do?

My degree is in Choreography from Emerson College in Boston. I grew up dancing, mostly ballet. Through most of my production years I didn’t dance much but then I found Swing and loved it. It was so different from any dancing I’d ever done because it’s with a partner and social. I’ve actually gone to swing dance camp… it sounds incredibly dorky but is fantastic! Then last year I went to Argentina and fell in love again, this time with Tango. So now I’m lucky enough to do both. I need a second closet just for all my dance shoes!

What film/music/TV show are you really enjoying right now, or what’s causing you to form a pop-cultural opinion—good or bad?

I do love Mad Men. I didn’t want to. I fought it. But I do. Also: Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, True Blood, Weeds, Downton Abbey. Funny enough, I haven’t had cable for years! I’m mostly into indie/alt music from Yo La Tengo to Hot Chip. There is so much great music around right now. Alabama Shakes is a recent album that makes me happy. And I love to go running to Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

What would you be doing if you didn’t work in production?

I’d love to own a bar. Or a hotel. Or both. I’m working on it.