Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Photos by: Bruna Magalhãe
This week, on the evening of the 8th January, Greater than 11% achieved one of its ambitions - launching its event series. It was a fantastic night, full of creativity, exchange and hosted conversations with the incredible commercials director, Karen Cunningham, and brilliant videographer, Tatiana Telle.
The purpose and focus of the events is an extension of the Greater than 11% podcast. To create platforms online and out in the world that promote creative careers, drive diversity within our industries and to applauded and recognise women for their creative achievements.
We purposely designed the events to be small, 15 being the maximum number of attendees. The reason behind this is slightly personal. Both Ursie and I have often discussed the overwhelm that comes with walking into crowded event, which typically invokes the reactionary reflex to reach for and hide behind our phones. We also noticed we were having similar discussions with friends and peers and it became apparent there was a consistency in the physical shudder at the mere mention of ‘networking.’
We devised a format that we felt would enable a relaxed and intimate setting through the opportunity to hands-on create, meaningfully connect with others attending, and hear from some incredible creatives. We also knew the location and space was key to ensure we would succeed and we were fortunate in securing the support of Minotti, London, perfectly located a five-minute walk from Oxford Circus. The Italian furniture showroom is awash with beautiful and comfortable sofas - immediately creating a warm, welcoming environment. Through the generous access and use of the space from Anke Summerhill, Minotti’s London’s Managing & Creative Director, we are able to ensure we can keep ticket costs low and therefore more accessible to all (we also have tickets allocated for those that can’t afford the price).
Our first event focused on ‘Working with Moving Image’. I kicked off the evening with a very condensed history and instructions of how to of create experimental 16mm found footage loops. With snippets of 1970’s news reels and educational films, attendees were encouraged to alter the mixed sections of celluloid strips they were given through various means: drawing, sticking, scratching or puncturing the surface.
What I didn’t expect was the silence that befell the group as they all assiduously undertook the activity with focus and devotion.
Screening the creations was a joy and I’m pleased to say as people watched their films flickering on the wall, the jostling and bustle of conversation returned to the space. I had one of those moments of stillness in the flurry of the activity, where I looked up feeling a huge smile spread across my face realising that we had achieved our objective in that very moment.
The second half of the evening we settled into a conversation in-the-round, with two incredibly talented and creative women.
Karen Cunningham, a multi-award winning director who has directed commercials for brands such as Barbie, Unicef, Dove and Save the Children. And Tatiana Telle, a dexterous and diverse videographer who captures documentaries, short films, music videos and branded content.
Discussions centred on work screened for the session. Karen’s heart-wrenching commercial for Unicef - World Upside Down followed by her fun and humorous Barbie - Imagine the Possibilities; and Tatiana’s documentary, Pussy Pants, and short film commissioned by Random Acts & Dazed, Pink, before focusing on their roles and creative journeys.
Tatiana shared the importance of being present when working on a shoot. Ensuring connection with subjects or actors, but always looking on the peripheral for things that may be able to add to, and enhance, the visual narrative. She also discussed how doing a ton of extra-curricular work whilst at university; interning, running, working for free has stood her in good stead since graduating.
Karen talked us through her creative process and her focus on casting - it being the crux of all good content. She also shared the importance of remaining opening to ideas and suggestions whilst on a shoot, but not being swayed by other’s opinions.
When asked what advice Karen would give to someone wanting to work as a director within the advertising industry, she summed it up with two words: ‘be brave.’
The evening wrapped to a buzz of energy as conversations continued with people swapping details and sharing photos of the evening. In the glow of the aftermath of an enjoyable, successful night, and as we collected perforated film strips and stickers gone astray, Ursie and I agreed we are already looking forward to the next event in March.
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