DreamWorks Studios Ups Shelly Strong to Head of Physical Production (EXCLUSIVE)

Departing physical production chief Jane Evans becomes a producer

DreamWorks Studio has promoted Shelly Strong to head of physical production.

Strong has been with DreamWorks for nine years, starting as a VP and moving up to senior VP in the physical production department. Her credits at the studio include “The Help,” “Real Steel” and “A Dog’s Purpose.”

She replaces Jane Evans, who is becoming a producer after three years as the studio’s physical production chief. Strong’s formal title will be executive vice president, physical production. She will report to the studio’s president and chief operating officer Jeff Small and president of production Holly Bario.

The studios’ heads of physical production keep a low profile, but the job is a vital one. The head of physical production ensures that each project is made on schedule and on budget, and that there are enough resources to realize the filmmakers’ vision. They often help producers budget a project before it is greenlit. Once the picture is officially a go, they help choose crew, locations, vendors and more; troubleshoot throughout shooting; then oversee post until the picture is delivered for distribution.

“I’m looking forward to taking a bigger role in helping to bring our projects to the screen,” Strong told Variety. “It’s exciting to be part of the initial architecture in forming the physical production part of the plan: the where, when and how.” She added that her long history at DreamWorks is one of her strengths as she assumes that larger role. “I already enjoy working with the different departments here and its rewarding to be able to take those relationships to the next level,” she said. “I really enjoy the collaborative nature of filmmaking and appreciate the support from Jeff, Holly and our CEO Michael Wright.”

Prior to joining the studio, Strong was a producer of independent films. She also worked at Stratus, under Yari Film Group, where she worked on titles including “The Illusionist,” “The Painted Veil” and “Block Party.”

Evans will join two DreamWorks pictures, serving as co-producer on “Ghost in the Shell” and executive producer on “Thank You for Your Service.”

Strong is the only woman among current heads of physical production at the majors, as was Evans before her. Donna Smith, formerly head of physical production at Universal, was the first woman to hold such a post.

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