Personal

Storytelling


No Comments

Earlier this week, I was at a reception hosted by the very wonderful School For Social Entrepreneurs in London for their most recent cohort of Fellows. This group of Fellows all had one thing in common – they were all ex-offenders who had been given funding for their own start-ups. Each Fellow was invited to present their project and to give a brief summary of their life thus far and where they were looking to go from there.

One Fellow’s story was most interesting. As a young man he had somehow got mixed up in the wrong crowd and ended up behind bars. He was given a lifeline by the programme specifically aimed at ex-offenders and his new project was breeding endangered frogs.

Listening to the young man talk about his life and his start-up, I could almost sense the audience in the room willing him to do well. Hoping that his troubled story would end well. And I realised yet again, how a great story, told well can win even the most sceptic of audiences.

Personal

This Girl Can


No Comments

Have you seen the latest Sport England campaign that urges women to do more sport? If not, may I suggest you do so straightaway?

I loved the honesty of the video. It is refreshing to see the flab, the sweat and the cellulite on the women. Isn’t it great to see a motley group of ladies just having a great time and giving it their all? And a rare sight it is too. Little wonder that the video has become a huge viral hit as it seems to have resonated with thousands of people.

Now, turn down the volume and play the video back. Does it have the same kind of zing to it? What a honking, stonking humdinger of a choice Missy Elliot’s song is to convey just the right amount of sassiness and don’t-give-a-damniness.

And even if the only thing it made you do, was dance at your desk (because, you know, you really, really are going to start exercising tomorrow, promise!), then its job is done.

Personal

Back To School


No Comments

I spent all of last week at the National Film & TV School in Beaconsfield. Back in 2013, NFTS was voted the top film school in the world in a poll that included nearly 60 other institutions from around the world. And I can see why. Last week I learnt how to direct documentaries without once picking up the camera.

It was the kind of course where we talked and discussed and disagreed and dissected our respective documentary story ideas until a lean, tight and robust story danced out the paper demanding to be realised. The course has left me feeling at once exhausted and exalted.

What’s even better about the entire experience is that my place was funded by a grant that believes in backing more women and other under-represented groups in forging a career in digital story-telling. It’s this kind of faith that I draw upon when the going is tough and the tunnel long and dark.

I can barely wait to begin shooting again. I have a new client (well, an old client but a new project) for which I am to start shooting in two weeks’ time and I am looking forward to put all of my learning to good use.

Personal

So, What Do You Do?


No Comments

I am not a shy or a retiring person, normally. But when confronted with the aforementioned question, I used to get very flummoxed. I used to go into a right tizzy, mumble something and then jump rather awkwardly to talk about the weather. Because when the question is asked, I would wonder if I should tell them about this social enterprise project – http://www.vandanamu.org – that I have been managing for a few years or the new one which I have revived after a hiatus? Should I explain the reason for the sabbatical? Will they wonder how I fill the hours of my day? Will they assume that I fill my child-free hours watching Jeremy Kyle (once on the main channel and once on the +1)? Should I nip that last question in the bud and state out loud how much I dislike day time telly? Should I mention all three voluntary positions I hold so they don’t think I am wasting my time? Like I said, I would get very anxious and tie myself in knots over an innocuous question. But gradually, almost imperceptibly, I have started to refine and trim and hone my answer when posed with the question about what I do.

The past few months, I found that one of the best ways of refining my goals and gaining clarity with my work was to say it out loud. Almost like a affirmation. In other words, I actively go and seek places where I am asked what it is that I do. I have signed up to networking meetings and the more meetings I attend, the most certain I become of what I do.

I tell people that I make corporate videos and promotional videos for small and micro businesses and charities. I try not to flinch or be dismissive about what I do. I try to look at the person (or people) in the eye when I say this. I try to smile and be as slow as possible when I explain it. This is how I think I do it. Perhaps I am still bumbling through it all but I am working on it.

Personal

The Waiting Game


No Comments

It is not easy being a start-up. When the client’s approval matters so much more than it should. And your own limited track record means that you lack the authority…yet. It can be frustrating when the approval takes its time getting to you. As it is happening with me right now.

It has been precisely 28 hours since I sent a piece of work to a client seeking feedback and I am yet to hear anything except deafening silence. I have twiddled thumbs, chewed nails, drummed fingers and (I admit) checked my email ever-so-regularly in the hope that the client would have had a chance to go through the work and get back to me. But so far no luck.

In the back of my mind, I am also preparing myself for the contingency that it is not going to be a very positive response. After all, if it is taking so long to come through, chances are, the promo was not up to scratch. But, it could well be that the client has been super busy and has not had a chance to spend six minutes going through the edit and feed back to me. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Would you assume that a delay in feedback means that the client is not happy with the work? Or would you actually wait until you hear from them to know for sure? Harder though it may be, I am going to wait (and perhaps even drop a prodding email later) for a response from the client before assuming the worst.

Update: 96 nail-bitten hours later, this arrives from the client – “This is lovely! Thank you so much – it’s a really dynamic piece that beautifully captures the project”

Needless to say, I am mightily relieved and so are the nails or the mortal remains of what may have once been them.

Personal

Learning The Ropes


No Comments

This blog will attempt to chart the progress of an emerging video-based production company. Its various trials and tribulations and the attempt to document the growth from its stumbling beginnings to becoming a strong, confident and skilled enterprise.