13 November 2019

In conversation: Filmmaker & Directors UK campaigner Natasha Moore

By Danny Kelly | Categorised in VIP Guest Speakers, Events at Met Film School, Industry Interviews, Filmmaking Tips, MetFilm Futures

This month, we were pleased to be joined by filmmaker Natasha Moore who, when not on production, moonlights as a campaigner at Directors UK – the UK’s professional association for screen directors working in film, TV, games, advertising and corporate filmmaking.

Over a jam-packed hour, Natasha offered our students key information and advice on a variety of pressing concerns within the industry, including BAME representation, gender equality, self-care and directing sexual content.

Here are four key takeaways from the discussion…

1. There are many factors why it can be challenging to break into the industry

There’s no denying that getting a foot on the ladder can certainly be difficult. Directors UK reports that there is still great social disparity in terms of the “authorship of film & TV” – i.e who’s behind the scenes. Women and people from BAME backgrounds continue to be under-represented and, when employed, there is often subconscious bias in terms of the types of content offered (e.g women = lifestyle, family and reality productions). Career development can also be difficult for individuals from lower socio-economic groups/regions who feel cut-off from various opportunities.

Much of the problem stems from Directors and Heads of Departments working with closed networks of the same crew members, which limits opportunities. Natasha’s advice is to be as open-minded as possible when choosing who we work with, to take on roles outside of your network, and to embrace different perspectives. When actively looking for work, celebrate your universal skills to highlight your potential. Using services like Shooting People can also be a good way of finding out about potential roles.

All MetFilm School students are eligible for a 50% discount on a Shooting People membership. Email danny@metfilm.co.uk to register your interest.

2. Creatives need support too

In an industry consisting largely of freelance workers, it’s not uncommon for creatives to feel unsupported in their roles and for inappropriate behaviour to be overlooked. As with any place of work, bullying and harassment exists, and unfortunately, many people endure distressing circumstances to preserve their reputation and employment.

Natasha’s view is a pragmatic one. If you find yourself in such a situation, start a log of the occurrences (inc dates and times) and, if possible, reach out to a line manager or guild for support. Find out more about dealing with bullying and harassment.

Natasha Moore on her visit to MetFilm School

3. Shooting simulated sex takes careful planning

Our students were given some fresh advice from Directors UK’s latest research on directing sex and nudity. Much of this may seem like common sense, but it’s still useful and important to have a checklist of things to remember if your production features scenes of intimacy. Tasha’s top tips were to…

  • Ask yourself: Does the scene need to be there?
  • Give your performers a clear idea of what the nudity consists of in advance. Agree everything.
  • Have a sensible conversation in rehearsal to plan the scene.
  • Share examples of your inspirations if you have them.
  • Find out what your actors’ “no’s” are.
  • Find common terms for absolute clarity
  • On filming day, enlist a minimal crew who are comfortable with being there. You never know who’ll feel triggered by the material.
  • Have a back-up plan. Actors shouldn’t proceed if they feel uncomfortable.

4. Looking after your mental health is paramount

While working in the creative industries is undoubtedly exciting, it can also be challenging. Long working days, financial restraints and dealing with competing visions can be concerning. It’s therefore important to have a support network, find a manageable daily routine, and to allow yourself to have a bad day. General mindfulness and patience towards those around will also prove valuable.

If you find yourself overwhelmed in your role, Film + TV Charity offer free and confidential 24/7 support, with options for phone, live chat and email. MetFilm School students can also speak with our Student Services team via wellbeing@metfilmschool.ac.uk or 020 8280 9112.

Find out more about Directors UK and their services here

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