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Big productions for good reasons: Saj Patel
The international producer has been behind a number of shows involving some of LA's biggest stars, from Oscar winners to ratings winners.

When Saj Patel is called to work on projects involving some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, it's because he has earned the confidence of the industry. Originally from the UK, his work included such notable production as The VoiceStrictly Come Dancing, and even the iconic rock band U2. Fundraising/charity events are often more involved and challenging than standard productions and Patel has been a producer on some of the biggest in the US. His recent outstanding work with Stand Up To Cancer and XQ Super School, vets him as one of the most trusted and talented production managers working in the US today. These live events require pinpoint precision, massive preparation, and confident decision making; all of which aptly describe Saj and his abilities.

There's no shortage of those who proclaim that our educational system is important. To raise awareness and funds, EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox (live on the East Coast and taped-delayed on the West Coast). Broadcast for one hour without any commercial breaks, this event included live and pre-taped segments. Patel's main role in this was leading the team reacting to last minute decisions…of which there were many. He managed all pre-taped elements. This involved Patel working with celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson, DJ Khaled, Jennifer Hudson, and Justin Timberlake.

One of the most popular and trending segments of this production was a spin-off of James Cordon's now-famous "Carpool Karaoke" featuring him and multiple Oscar winner Tom Hanks redubbed "School Bus Karaoke" for this event. Patel notes, "I had less than 24 hours to pull together a crew and an LA location to film this piece. I could not move forward with confirming this shoot until the night before, when we finally received a sign-off from both talent camps. Tom Hanks, famously known as 'the nicest guy in Hollywood' was on true form and was incredibly easy to work with as soon as he arrived on location. He met all the children in the piece, took selfies with them, and even went through song rehearsals with the school kid extras before we began filming. Primetime Emmy and BAFTA award winner James Corden had come to the shoot directly after filming his own late night show and was very professional as soon as he arrived as well. Both knew that this was for a good cause and were willing to make sure the director got exactly what he needed." Giving credit where it's due, the event featured a "Teacher's Red Carpet" hosted by Melissa Rivers & Kevin Frazier.

Emily Wolfe (Freelance Executive In Charge of Production) was so impressed with Patel's work on XQ Super School Live that she hired him for the ten year anniversary of Stand Up To Cancer. The 2018 production not only reminded viewers of the accomplishments and dedication to this initiative but also achieved the highest amount of total donations pledged in the show's history. Saj oversaw not only the pre-taped segments for this production but also the main show. For half a year, he hired and finalized employment deals with a majority of the crews used throughout preproduction and into the main show and was also responsible for feeding that information to the rest of the team and keeping up to date contact grids encompassing all elements of the show. Essentially, he assembled and ensured that once the production was ready to begin, all elements were in place. This continued through to post.

To date, more than $603 million has been pledged to support Stand Up To Cancer's innovative research programs. The 2018 presentation featured a mixture of A-list TV, Movie and Music stars, some of whom have direct personal links to cancer and some with family members who have had or are currently battling cancer. Stevie Wonder, Little Big Town, Charlie Wilson, and numerous others contributed their talent and words to this important movement. Confirming his feelings, Patel relates, "Just working on the show itself was a gratifying experience for me, having been in the industry for so many years and working on numerous entertainment shows, this one was definitely special and I felt good about doing something positive with this show and helping to raise money to fight cancer."

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