Hilariously Facebook decided to remind me of our wedding anniversary with this picture a few days ago. I think it’s funny for two reasons, one being that my husband doesn’t feature in it (why choose an image without the groom?) and secondly because even though I love working and hanging out with these guys (cameramen, editors, motion graphics artists), this image is a pretty spot on representation of the video production industry and the lack of women behind the camera.
Where are all the women behind the camera?
Just before lockdown I spoke to a production company who only have one other female freelancer but 11 male ones on their books. There are of course a lot more women working in a range of different roles in video production these days, but there still aren’t that many women behind the camera, either filming or making high-level decisions. And even when you know your stuff about directing, filming and editing and running big projects it still sometimes feels like a bit of an all-boy's club.
I thought it was 2020 not 1920
I spoke to a photographer friend recently about this and couldn’t believe the story she told me, well that this sort of thing is still happening:
‘I find being a photographer AND a woman is a step beyond what some people can fathom in this world. Like girls can't do tech. When I used to shoot weddings, the amount of times registrar's would ask me 'when is the main photographer arriving, I've not met him yet'......erm. ok. Le sigh. Glitter truth bomb love, I am him. But I'd prefer you to refer to the photographer as her.’ Rebecca Douglas
Whether you are only just starting out in the industry or are looking for a female community to exchange experiences in, women to collaborate with and support each other, I have collated 5 websites that might come in useful for you:
1 - Women behind the Camera
Luckily there are websites like Women behind the Camera, a database for producers and Directors of Photography to crew for their projects in a diverse manner. The site not only showcases the many women working behind the camera in the UK but also serves as a networking space. The website was initially conceived as a way of trying to encourage more women into camera operating as a career, but has since developed into a collective of women who work in the camera, lighting and grips departments on dramas and features. The founders are interested in helping women progress up the rungs of the camera department, and are also organising training and mentoring around camera operating.
2 - Women in Film & Television UK
Another great networking site is Women in Film & Television UK, the leading membership organisation for women working in creative media in the UK and part of an international network of over 13,000 women. I’t members come from a broad range of professions spanning the entire creative-media industry. Women in Film & Television UK host a variety of events throughout the year, present a prestigious awards ceremony every December and run two mid-career mentoring programmes for women - one based in London, one in Northern Ireland. They also host networking evenings, collaborate with industry bodies on research projects and lobby for women’s interests.
3 - Edit Collective
If you are a female editor you might be interested in the Edit Collective, an organisation that brings together female, non-binary and trans editors in the Film and TV industry. It’s a community to help establish fair wages, work and treatment by supporting one another and working collectively to make a change to the business we are dedicated to. Their aim is to:
- Be an intersectional support network to share information and advice, based in a safe private FB group.
- Create a communal pot of self-raised funds, that can contribute to training, networking events, workshops and mentoring.
- Supporting maternity leave for Freelancers and people with families.
- Encourage transparency of fees for freelancers.
- Champion equal pay and workers rights, by creating a shared - blacklist for companies and individuals that don’t behave ethically.
- Connect all the leading Post Production womxn so we can easily recommend other talented people for the right jobs and at the right price.
- Share our contacts and members through a database to highlight leading women, non-binary and trans-identifying people working in the industry.
4 - GIRLS IN FILM
GIRLS IN FILM is a community of young female creatives in the field of moving image - a group for a new generation of female filmmakers worldwide. Their aim is to offer support, collaboration, shout outs, hook ups and all around good vibes. They offer a private Facebook group as part of their free membership which encompasses:
- first invite to our events
- first opportunities for promoting your work at the events
- guaranteed inclusion in our private Facebook group
- and for those that wish so, a direct line to team up with our production team
5 - REALWORK
I have recently joined REALWORK an online co-working space for women by Fleur Emery and the energy of the group is amazing. This is a space where you work on your business alongside your peers in an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual support. REALWORK fast-tracks your learning and your access to information and supercharges your professional growth. Here is what you get:
- Live training sessions from world-class experts; agenda set by the group.
- A closed Slack group with Fleur active and responsive daily.
- Free access to self-paced online courses covering all aspects of starting and growing a business.
- Free access to an exclusive archive of workshops from female business experts.
We’re all at different stages in our businesses and from a wide range of industries but there's a real community spirit and I love how everyone is cheering each other on. So here’s to women supporting women doing real work!