Walking in Central London this week I spotted a balcony near the top of a high-rise block of flats. Against a monotone backdrop was a row of hand painted flowerpots hanging one by one along the rail. There was a show of confidence in those bright spots of creativity giving a flourish to the day.
The theme was to continue. I was on my way to Northern Media’s RISE scheme, where six of us women filmmakers had gathered for a two day bonanza of creative and vivid input from a selected group of industry professionals including Film Producer Andrea Cornwall, Celine Haddad Senior Film Executive for Creative England and Film Distribution expert Julia Short.
We were here to pitch our projects and get a sense of how they would sit in the thoroughfare of global film production, release and distribution. It was a daunting prospect. But this was our chance to find our distinctive voices and learn to give punch to our pitch. After all, we’re going to expend a lot of passion on our projects, so they’d better be what cinema punters want in return for their hard earned cash.
We had to open ourselves up to understanding the nuts and bolts of what works, either critically or commercially. We had to define mood, tone, genre, target audience, references for comparable films, budget range and create a title that does what it says on the tin. Armed with that accumulated knowledge we were eventually able to nail that elusive 25-30 word pitch.
But there’s another ingredient we realised we needed to add to the mix. We need to talk with courage and conviction about our work; stand behind it, be passionate about it. We must be our projects’ indomitable champions. As women we fear appearing arrogant, but we must be bold if we are to compete in this industry.
600 films get released a year so if our projects are to have the remotest chance of being financed, produced, released, seen, and make their money back we must stand up and be counted. If it is confidence that makes the difference then so be it. We women will do whatever it takes to RISE up to hi-five success.
RISE: Northern Film & Media scheme supported by Creative Skillset’s Skills Fund and in partnership with Women in Film & Television and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art