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Women in Film: From Her POV Week Five

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features a lesson in copyright and some practice working with actors to help them inhabit their roles. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Five

Thursday’s session began with Noomi, the mastermind behind From Her Point of View and Knowle West Media Centre’s Creative Skills Co-ordinator, giving us a presentation on copyright. This grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution.

For filmmakers like many of the women here, copyright can be a bit of a minefield so it’s imperative we tackle it correctly; finding out who owns the rights, acquiring permissions, protecting our own work and so on.

Copyright covers a pretty broad range of elements in filmmaking:

1) Stills
2) Moving image or archive footage
3) Music
4) Brands
5) Artwork

After this presentation, I snuck away and had a chat with Thomasina Gibson, a producer who has recently completed her first feature film. Thomasina is also a prolific author and has been a director and journalist but started her career as a publicist. Thomasina has worked with the likes of the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 to name a few, and she talked with me about her career path and gave me some insight and advice – with me being an aspiring writer and journalist – about the next steps I could take to get my foot on the ladder of the industry.

The biggest thing I took from our conversation is how useful it is to have the confidence to put yourself and your work out there and reach out to people in the industry who you aspire to or want to work for, and see if they can offer you some experience or point you in the direction of ways you can. They may not give you the time of day, but it’s important to persevere and have a sense of pride in your aspirations and your skills. I’ve never been great at networking or initiating this kind of contact, but Thomasina was welcoming and her enthusiasm infectious; I left the meeting feeling inspired and that I should try putting her advice into practise. The worst that can happen is someone rejects you and in that case you will dust yourself off and try again; because, eventually, somebody somewhere might take a chance on you, and that could lead to amazing things.

Working with Actors

Esther May Campbell joined us once more on the Friday for a more in-depth look at working with actors. Intention and Obstacle were once again the order of the day, but we looked at them in terms of how we approach discussing scenes with an actor, and how our approach might change if we are working with non actors, leading us to ways of introducing scenarios and how we might want the scene to be approached:

  • ‘As if…’
  • ‘It’s like when…’
  • ‘Imagine…’

This gives us context, and sets the scale and energy for the scene. Esther worked with team Blood Warriors on a read through of a particular scene and talked about what worked well and what could be improved and how, while we watched team Black Cherry run through a scene for blocking and how a good director can bring out the best in their cast performances.

We ended the session with a kind of meditative technique with Esther talking us through a scenario in order to get us into the heads of characters from their films: their emotions, what makes them tick. If you didn’t want to be a character, you could do it as yourself. I’d never done anything like this before, but I found it to be an interesting way of getting under the skin of your ideas – I’ll definitely apply it to my own writing!

Next time, we head into the realm of animation with a little help from a Bristol-based BAFTA winner, and Noomi tells us all about visual storytelling!

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

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