International Women's Day 2021 - Choose to Challenge

Author Team Tanami

International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on and amplify the contribution of women everywhere; and a call to action on addressing the inequalities that still pervade society. As this year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’, the Tanami team were challenged to answer some questions on the women who have had the most impact on their career, and their thoughts on the challenges that women still face in the industry.

Kat

What’s your job?
Assistant Producer

Which female are you inspired by?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the ultimate female role model. Writer, Producer and actress, she’s the triple threat. Not only is she the brains behind some of my favourite shows of the last decade (Fleabag & Killing Eve), she’s also just been announced as 2021’s President of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

Top tips at entry level production:
Network your butt off. Attend events, reach out to people in the industry and don’t be afraid to put your name out there! You never know who may cross your path again in the future…

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
Last year, I challenged myself to volunteer for CreativeMornings/Edinburgh and contribute my time to the local creative community. I’ve been volunteering for over a year now creating content and organising monthly virtual events. We offer a safe space for people to be inspired, interact and connect; which through lockdown, has never been more important.

Jemma

What’s your job?
Head of Tanami – working with a talented close knit team (all of whom I consider as friends) to produce diverse, engaging, quality video content that makes people smile.

Which female are you inspired by?
Sheryl Sandberg – read a chapter of Lean In and it will become obvious why.  “Ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”

Top tips at entry level production:
Be a sponge. Get as much experience as possible. Don’t be too proud to make coffees. And I mean a lot of coffee. I did around 12 months of solid running upon graduating – from day time telly to music videos, from feature films to TV ads. Soak it up!

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
I was recently appointed Non-Executive Director at Hibernian FC and am a member of Women In Football. I am proud to challenge any stereotypes and take my seat at what is typically a very male dominated table.

Biggest challenge facing women in industry at the moment?
COVID-19 – exhaustion, burnout and stress limits job confidence. Companies are at risk of losing women in senior roles if they cannot empathise and support. Flexible working over presentee-ism. We are individuals; one size does not fit all.

Jonny

What’s your job?
Motion Designer / Video Editor – I also do TV conforming and clocking, colour grading, and data management and project archiving

Which female are you inspired by?
Behind many of the films I grew up loving – such as the Star Wars, Back to the Future and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as E.T., The Goonies and Hook to name but a few – was Kathleen Kennedy. She worked her way up from being an assistant to Executive Producers, to working as an Executive Producer herself on so many films that shaped my childhood, to becoming the President of LucasFilm in 2012. She is renowned within the film industry and beyond, and her progression is truly admirable and inspirational.

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
I’ve always been a huge fan of horror films, so when the opportunity came up to put together an edit for a client in the style of a horror film I obviously had to put myself forward for it. It was like nothing I’ve edited before and was a far cry from my day-to-day work, but it was ridiculously good fun to work on (and the client approved it straight away!).

Kirsty

What’s your job?
Assistant Producer

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
I try to do one challenge per week, either in personal life or through work.  This could be taking on a larger project in less time or running with a new creative concept that Tanami hasn’t done before.  In my personal life I try to create something new every week, be it an illustration, edit or short writing. Lockdown has definitely given my social life a hit but also knocked a lot of procrastination out of me.

Biggest challenge facing women in industry at the moment?
Covid-19 has brought new challenges. The networking landscape has changed drastically, young women can’t meet up for casual coffees and can struggle to get on set experience. Yet grab the chance for zoom calls! A lot of industry professionals will be up for giving their time if it means they can help from their own home.

Craig

What’s your job?
Executive Producer – The eye in the sky watching over all of our productions

Which female are you inspired by?
FKA Twigs has been a constant source of inspiration over the last decade on so many levels and she is continuously breaking new creative ground.

Top tips at entry level production:
3 tips: 1. Be prepared to work hard (very hard) to get ahead. You will get out what you put in. 2. Work on some passion projects with passionate people – it will help you learn fast. 3. Find a mentor early on who can help to steer you through and provide advice.

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
2020 was an exercise in stepping out of the comfort zone. Each new shoot posed unique challenges and we had to constantly evolve in our ways of working.

Helen

What’s your job?
Client Operations Director – I help to look after the parts of a production company that aren’t the productions.

Top tips at entry level production:
Keep an open mind about where you want to go, and don’t feel you need to know this as soon as you enter the production world. Listening and observing is the best way to figure this out. And do not underestimate the importance of solid shoes with good soles.

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
Becoming a parent means continually stepping out of your comfort zone: this week my toddler insisted I perform a comedy routine with his rubber ducks. With songs. In French.

Biggest challenge facing women in industry at the moment?
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK have fallen disproportionately on women, who are 47% more likely than men to have lost their job. Add to this the persistent pay gap, and the UK government taking the view that maternity leave is equivalent to a holiday, and there’s a fair old bit to be getting on with.

Roisin

What’s your job?
Producer/ PM

Which female are you inspired by?
She’s actually one of my best friends, she taught me a lot of what I know in this industry and I’m so impressed with how she has grown in her career! I always use her as a sounding block and she really inspires me!

When did you last step out of your comfort zone?
My first shoot during Covid,  I think it was one of the biggest crew numbers on a shoot since the pandemic and I needed to make sure all safety measures were taken, some sleepless nights due to this!

Biggest challenge facing women in industry at the moment?
COVID-19 and being seen!

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