On set on my short film Broken, not the latest commission-no time for pics then!
I’ve been meaning to blog for ages now but well, life has gotten in the way. I’m sorry guys. I will try harder next time I promise!
It’s just I got back from being on set last month for the first time since maternity leave ended, and since we wrapped it’s been busy, busy, busy with tv meetings and of course lots of fun times with my 14 month old, settling back into life in my hometown of Leeds after 11 years away and all that comes between. It’s been an incredible ride.
So for those of you new to my blog, I’m a first time Mum and filmmaker. Let me explain. I’m known as a director but also often as producer/director if I’m doing documentary (just the way it is) and I also write as well as direct (phew, you with me? I’m tired writing this)!
So that is my work life and it’s quite honestly an amazing job (most of the time). I get to be creative, I come up with ideas, drive the creative aspects of what I direct and love every minute. Tiring: yes, stressful: yes, rewarding and fun: hell yes! I write and/or direct drama, documentary, music videos, feature films and most recently I had my first endevour into the commericals world…
Working for a super agency in Manchester I got my first gig as a director of 4 web commercial films. For anyone who works in telly or film, commercials are a notoriously difficult nut to crack for several reasons: the competition is HUGE with an overcrowded market of lots of very experienced talent bidding for sadly very few jobs.
People also want to work in commercials because the budgets are high (you get to shoot on film or HD) and of course you can play with the big toys (cameras, jibs, tracks) and be rewarded with the big notes- and you work for about 2 weeks from concept to delivering. What’s not to love? Indeed. So off I went and shot 4 fashion commercials for JD Williams’ label ‘That’s My Style’.
It’s not actually my style because it’s for 40+ but we showcased Arlene Philipps’ new pretty range and it really was a lot of fun. Generally several directors would pitch and the best idea would get the commission but in this case the agency liked my reel and the job was mine.
The models who are the face of the brand were brilliant, constantly cracking jokes, showing real enthusiasm (I made them dance-a lot- for one of the films), they never complained and they and the client (who is King in commercials) seemed to like me.
We had a one day shoot of 12 hours to get 8 and a half minutes of screen time-that’s a lot for commercials where you usually work 12 hours for 30 seconds but we did it and we really enjoyed it. I want everyone to feel relaxed on my set and I was lucky that the team was so experienced as well as such a genuine bunch from the Stylist to the Art Director and 1st AD.
I had one of my favourite Directors of Photography (Cameraman) Steven Priovolos working with me and it was like one big family collaborating-one big family being watched by the King (the Client) who incidentally was very nice. It was wonderful being back doing what I love, taking the lead, seeing my vision come to fruition in line with what the client wanted.
They’ve now wrapped, the client is happy *wipes brow and my initiation into the world of commercials is complete.
I had to stay in Manchester for a few nights spread across 2 weeks whiles we were preparing and filming and it was the first time I’d spent proper time away from the little one so that was hard.
I missed him terribly but in order to deliver the job I needed to be focused and also to sleep at night! I did feel re energised working on the films. I was using my creativity and people skills again and it was exhilarating. Returning home was my big reward though and seeing my toddler’s face.
Since getting back, I’ve had some brilliant meetings with production companies and the BBC here and in Manchester-it seems this was a good time to move back North from London career wise for me, who knew? So I’m back to juggling work and baby life and I’m loving it.
I have to say had I not been back in Leeds with my parents’ help, there is no way I could have got back to work so easily. A few of my twitter followers asked me for advice on juggling motherhood and a career but there are no easy answers. It is hard but women the world over are doing it and with far less help than I. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Stay at Home Mums have it the hardest.
The beauty of my job as a freelancer is it tends to be super busy when you are working, with quite a bit of free time in between jobs when you are not so it’s working out well although I’m still waiting for the free time bit!
In other news, I’m really excited that the prestigious luxury lifestyle City magazine ‘Square Mile Magazine’ in association with CNN have nominated me for their 30 under 30 London Talent Awards for my directing work. The awards are at the end of March and I’m nominated in the Entertainment, Media and Arts Category.
I will be sure to blog about the night and the outcome. It’s all very exciting with a designer sending me dresses and some of my closest friends will be attending for a night of champagne and a three course dinner. I feel very honoured to be nominated, there are so few women in my industry so to be recognised in my field means a lot.
There were no real female director role models for me growing up so I truly hope this will change for the next generation and if I can have something to do with that I’ll be very happy…
I’ll leave you with a little thought. Before Baby O I think I took things too seriously, work was the be all and end all. Since having this amazing little person in my world, he comes first, nothing or no one including myself or my husband matters anymore or not as much at the very least. I attended a big meeting recently-could be a life changing meeting in some respects although in the same breath it might not. I left thinking let’s see…what will be, will be.
I switched on my phone and the first thing I saw was Baby O smiling back at me from my screen. To be commissioned or not-all that matters is him. I smiled all the way home.
To be continued…
P.S Don’t know why it’s called a Director’s Chair ’cause I never get to bloody sit down!