In front of the camera for the BBC above but I’m usually behind!
I’m writing this from my Aunt’s house in Manchester as I embark on the next few days without my little boy as I attend film and commercial meetings before returning next week to shoot the ads. You see ‘Mummy’s got to go to work now’. Yes it will help us financially but more so, I want to go and work. I need to. I love my job, it’s the most challenging, unbelievably fun career in the world. I’m sure of it.
I get to go and ‘play’ in my job as a filmmaker for OK maybe 12 hour days when we are shooting but I LOVE IT. I love the buzz of being on set, of honing my vision to create films, music videos, ads or promos. I love working in a team, I love driving the piece, being the captain of the ship, I love the responsibility and how creative and dynamic it can be.
Now I love my child more than any of the above, more than my job and more than anything or anyone. He is my number 1 but I’m going to say something a little controversial here…I was getting a little bored on maternity leave. I was getting a bored of Cbeebies (and it’s a brilliant channel), I was getting a little bit bored of the routine, of not knowing when I’d get back to work, I was getting bored of forgetting who I was. I now and have always needed mental and intellectual stimulation and I feel I need to talk and do things that don’t always involve or relate to my child. Is that wrong?
Fundamentally to be happy I need the balance between my child and work. I know there will be times when the balance tips either way and that’s fine but if I can have it all, I’d like to, thanks. There are so few female directors and there are many reasons for this: gender inequality, lack of role models, the fact it’s seen as a volatile career (which it is), women struggling in juggling children with the long hours but I am determined to do what I love and raise a happy and healthy child in the process.
The perks of being freelance means I can do a job and have time off until the next one comes along and I can pick my gigs. This was the case before baby-very few constantly work in the business. The other bonus is flexibility when editing. The shoots are long days but most edits are on my own schedule so can work well around Baby O. Plus I want to do this for him too, there would be nothing better than seeing him proud of my work. He already loves my music videos. You can watch them here.
Women shouldn’t feel guilty in wanting to work and raise a family. My Mum felt the same when I was a toddler-she wanted to get back to lecturing. Now I have nothing against women who choose to be full time parents, in fact I take my hat off to them and admire them-raising a family is the hardest and most challenging job of all and is much harder than going to work, whatever you do- and I am lucky I can get back to work because I have family near to help and support me. Without them it wouldn’t be so easy.
I’ve worked very hard as a filmmaker before baby, and believe me there were times on aforementioned maternity leave, without sleep, with uncontrollable hormones that I couldn’t comprehend ever getting back on set. Shit I couldn’t even comprehend getting to the local shop-but now he’s 1 I’m ready. My first job back is on a set of a set of fashion commercials/virals which is very exciting. It’s the first time I am working for a commercial’s agency and directing virals of this kind (big budget) and I’m ‘pumped’ and this time not with milk.
I’ve made short films, tv docs, web dramas, music videos and promos but not commercials before so it’s a new challenge. The commercials industry seemed a little closed shop in London-without commercials on your reel you couldn’t get in (bit of a catch 22 there) but up North the people from Del Monte (OK the ad people) liked my reel and even pronounced me ‘over qualified’ for the job. Now it’s time to get this show on the road!
Meanwhile it’s my first night away from the monkey as he’s affectionately known and I miss him like crazy. His smile, his laugh, his kisses like no other. I need and want to get back on set but no one said it was going to be easy.
Photograph credit Vanessa Scott-Thompson, ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.