Lucie Fink created her role as video producer and lifestyle host at Refinery29, a New York City-based digital media company founded by Philippe von Borries, Justin Stefano, Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi in 2005. The more than 400-person company now has offices in Los Angeles, London and Berlin, and has a global audience footprint of 331 million across all platforms.
Fink is one of the team members responsible for creating informative, engaging content. When Fink isn’t trying new five-day challenges for the series Try Living With Lucie, or doing someone else’s job for the day for Lucie for Hire, she creates other video content for Refinery29′s social media channels. Fink was able to turn her passion for creating, directing, shooting and editing branded videos into a full-time job at Refinery29. In fact, she has been able to shape the role to be custom-fit to her interests.
Lucie Fink, Producer and Lifestyle Host at Refinery 29
How did you end up at Refinery29? What was your career path?
I began as a neuroscience major at Johns Hopkins University. Not kidding. After freshman year, I realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor at all and that I preferred a more creative role in the media industry. I’ve always had a laundry list of things I wanted to be — a producer, a writer, a host, a stop motion video artist and more.
When I graduated from college, I thought long and hard about whether I should sign with an agency and strive to be on-air talent, or hone in on my production skills and become a producer. I chose the latter and began as an associate producer at Ogilvy & Mather.
After a year, I interviewed with the Refinery29 video team and my current role, video producer and lifestyle host, was developed. It has turned into a great opportunity to shape the role based on a mixture of all of my interests — everything from on-camera work to behind the scenes producing, writing and editing.
What is a workday as Lucie Fink like? Please walk me through a day!
When I’m on set, I’m typically out and about in New York City trying something bizarre like fly fishing in Central Park or a bird-poop facial. My time spent in the office is chock-full of production duties — collecting release forms, providing editors with notes on rough cuts, sending out emails and scheduling new shoots. No two workdays are the same for me, so I’m always excited to see what the next day has in store.
What are your responsibilities as producer and lifestyle host at Refinery 29?
When I started at Refinery29 one year ago, I created the YouTube series Try Living with Lucie. In this series, I take on lifestyle experiments for five days at a time, documenting my experience vlog-style. A new episode went live on YouTube every single Friday for about six months, and now the series is programmed to air every other Friday. On top of that series, I created Lucie for Hire, a format that allows me to try other people’s jobs for a day.
In addition to these video formats, I create original content weekly for Refinery29′s Snapchat Discover channel and Facebook LIVE. As an in-house stop motion artist, I’ve created original stop motion videos for some of our brand partners including Oreo, TaskRabbit and Exo Cricket Flour Protein Bars.
How did you land your role?
I’m convinced I landed my current role because of the independent projects and side work I was already churning out on my own time. When I interviewed with my current boss, she mentioned that a lot of people come through her door and tell her what they want to do or what they want to be. She told me the fact that I was already doing these things on my own time proved to her that if she hired me, I’d successfully get it done for her, and if she didn’t hire me, I’d successfully get it done for somebody else.
What are the most important characteristics someone needs to have to be successful in your role?
Passion and thick skin. First of all, none of my work would ever get done if I wasn’t passionate about it. I started doing what I do in the first place purely because I loved it. Secondly, being on camera and putting yourself out there for the world can be scary at times given today’s Internet trolls. Negative comments are out there and they’re everywhere. People who read the negative comments written about them and shut down or feel defensive will never have the drive to keep going. Some people are going to love you, and others will hate you, but you can’t let the negativity hinder you. Keep on moving.
On the production side, it’s incredibly important that digital producers understand as much as they can about every step of the process. If you know cameras and lighting and can shoot and edit as well as produce, that’s even better. On the hosting side, it’s all about comfort level. Practice makes better, but some people are inherently uneasy when a camera is on them.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned at work and how did you learn it?
Clear your desk at least once a month because a clean desk is a clean brain. Working at Refinery29, it’s easy to allow tons of snacks, makeup, notebooks and coffee cups to pile up on your desk. I learned this the hard way when a huge spill destroyed months of notes!
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
I wish I hadn’t asked so many people for advice — everyone’s career journey is unique and can’t necessarily be compared to another person’s. Particularly in the entertainment field; this industry doesn’t have a linear path the same way finance or law does. Everything changes weekly as new technologies emerge and new platforms are developed.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A mentor once asked me where I saw myself in five years, and when I started answering the question he cut me off to say, “No, no, no. You should have absolutely no idea where you’ll be in five years from now.” And he was so right.
The next week, Refinery29 had a Snapchat Discover channel and we were pulling together a new team of employees hired solely to work on Snapchat. A few months later, a similar Facebook LIVE team was assembled. This space changes each and every day. Nobody should have a plan for where we’ll be in five years, five months or even five days!
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Don’t think too hard about your future or where you’re headed. Do what makes you happy and what brings you the most joy because likely, that’s what you’ll be best at. And talented people don’t go unnoticed. So share yourself with the world.