Living Free of “What Will They Think of Me?”

This is the second Supergirl Interview where we ask kickass ladies from across the world how they survived those troublesome teenage years and what advise they now have for the next generation of amazing young ladies.

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Bayou Bennett. Total Supergirl.

We have someone very special today, someone I have known for a few years and who always stands out as a most creative, inspirational person. Bayou Bennett. Award winning writer and film director, Bayou creates films with her husband Daniel Lir and together they form the husband-wife duo ‘Dream Team Directors’ working with some of the biggest stars in the world.

Bayou Bennett and Matt Bennett
Directing Matt Bennett in short film “Text Me”

Bayou and I talk about the subject of ‘being judged’. A terrible subject for many teens and many people in general for that matter! We tackle the question of whether it is possible to live free of that thought: ‘But what will others think of me?’ It’s about time we found out how Bayou, despite the pitfalls of teenagehood, managed to remain true to her heart and stay faithful to her own self.

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Fashion Fantasy

When I found out a few weeks ago I would be involved with a fashion film – to co-write & direct – I was excited – jumping up and down fangirl style excited. I love clothes and always have done, especially the kind of silky, glamorous clothes Iona Crawford makes.

It began with the initial concepting stage which I always find rather fun. This involves sitting down with the other half of my creative team, Sophia Fraser. The kettle goes on, the cups of tea get poured, the lights start flashing (really?) and the ideas start to roll. We had a whole world of thoughts, it being a completely up our street style project. There were the inklings of a short film in there, hell probably a feature.

We divorced ourselves from any kind of physical universe realities during this process and I’m glad we did because if we had any ideas about what we would need to do to pull it off in the real world, in the winter, in Scotland, I seriously question whether we might have thought of an entirely different, entirely warmer idea. As it is I’m glad we ignored reality because the finished film is, I think, well worth every frozen toe on the shoot.

It took a day to film with a full crew and I worked with the two models, one of whom – Caeley Elcock is actually a theatre actress – a beautiful girl who did an amazing job and of course Jordon Steele who was also lots of fun to work with. It was absolutely freezing cold. We trekked up the sides of various hills, galavanted around the countryside with the horse ‘Casino’, waded through mud, filmed from the back of a pick-up van and generally caused havoc in the quiet regions of Stirling in Scotland.

Sophia, the co-creator, was also on the shoot, assistant directing. We kept looking at each other through interminable blasts of wind and snow, saying things like – who the hell came up with this idea? They must be goddam crazy!

Despite all that, I can hardly the numbness and pain. Not now.

Now all I can remember is the fun. And the beauty. Here’s the film:

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My 3 best fashion videos

Recently I’ve been doing some research into fashion videos as I have been asked to script and creative direct one for a well known designer. It has been great fun digging through piles of fashion videos. They range from the beautiful to the ridiculous. I’m not a great fan of the whole habit of elongating them so that they seem more arty, but many don’t do that too much – they still manage to keep the attention.

I picked out my three favorites to share with you guys. Please, if there are any fashionistas out there who are well acquainted with fashion videos, send me what you’ve got! I’m always curious.

1. This is a video for the luxury fashion company MAIYET, directed by a film director and it shows, in all the right ways. I love the intimacy and beauty of this video it is absolutely captivating. Love it. My number one.

2. This a video for Nina Ricci. Strange, verging on disturbing, incredible music – gives us an expected twist that I relish!

3. Vanessa Bruno has an admirable habit of making sumptuous, wonderful fashion videos. This one literally blows my socks of in its poetic beauty.

 

How we made Dovetail Diaries book trailer

Quite a few people have expressed interest in the book trailer for ‘Dovetail Diaries’. I was asked yesterday by a girl on wattpad a few questions about it so I want to answer them here so others can see how it was done too. First of all I have to admit my secret weapon – my husband. He is a film producer who loves cinematography, he is well into his cameras – like, well into them and he knows how to make a good film. So that helps, obviously. Saying that in this day & age anyone could create a great trailer if they wanted to.

First of all we sat down and had a creative brainstorm on what we wanted to communicate. My husband has also read the book so he knew the mood and feel of it. We wanted to include a girl who would hint at the main the character, Amber. We also decided it would be simple and effective to use certain objects that we thought would be in her house – film those things and then put them all together in the film to create a certain mood and feel.

So we asked my young cousin to be the girl – she’s absolutely gorgeous & about the right age. Then we went to a sort of junk yard and got hold of some objects that we thought would be perfect for Amber. This took some searching for the right stuff but we didn’t spend much at all. We also used objects we already had around the house and I borrowed the china cup from my Mum!

Before the shoot we did what’s called a ‘shot list’ where we wrote down every shot and in what order. Then we took one morning to do the filming – just by clearing out a space in our house, inviting my cousin round and filming until we had all the shots on the shot list.

Music is an interesting one – did you ever notice how it can make or break a film? Especially something like a trailer. My husband found the music for this trailer – it is from a YouTube cellist called Jaeyoung Chong who makes the most beautiful music. My husband just wrote and asked to see if he would help and he agreed. The editing was done in Final Cut Pro but there are much cheaper and easier editing programs such as iMovie. In total I’d say the whole thing took about a day or a day and a half to do.

Here are the main tips I can think of:

– Look around to see who & what you already have that could contribute in some way

– Use locations that are easily accessible and free

– Gather together friends & family for a fun day of filming – make them cake if necessary

– You don’t have to have an expensive camera, it could be done on an iphone. This trailer was filmed on a Canon 7D, you may possibly have a friend who owns a good camera & could also be persuaded with cake to help out

– Plan to do the whole thing on a weekend or a few evenings so it doesn’t take up lots of writing time

– Use your powers as a writer to create an effective script/storyline for the trailer

– Don’t forget to direct the viewer at the end to the book – so they can easily read it

– Always ask permission to use someone’s music – they will probably say yes

I hope this helps and anyone who makes book trailers, please let me know I’d love to see them!

 

Story in Motion

So the music video I directed a few weeks ago is now ready and released… When I came back from the shoot I talked about how much I enjoyed the process of making the video. It was quite an experience from a writer’s perspective. No longer was it just me and the page – the only real threat of alteration coming from an overeager editor. Suddenly it was a world of people, lots of them – all with their own interpretation of the script.

Instead of being a dreadful thing though it was actually a real pleasure. Each person involved brought something that I wasn’t necessarily expecting which made it really quite exciting!

The initial concept for the video was inspired by the singer herself, Catherine Kubillus. I saw somewhere, maybe on her twitter page that she described herself as a ‘muse’. I like this idea of someone whose presence is so powerful they’re able to inspire art. It got mingled in with the idea that the muse can take on all these different roles, like how a model can be different people in different photographs or paintings.

How many people could Catherine be in this short space of a few minutes? And who? This is where I turned to the song. To me it’s a beautifully sad song, sort of encapsulating those moments where the words didn’t quite come out right, or didn’t come out at all.

But whoever Catherine became had to be strong in their iconography so I picked out a number of female characters from history and literature and imagined them in their lonelier moments, each one with their own story. It didn’t need to be obvious to the viewer, so long as those echoes of history, loss and romance came through.

First of all there was Ophelia. The tragic heroine from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Always depicted in paintings as delicate and deathly. Then there was Cathy from Wuthering Heights – love torn and split from Heathcliffe. Then Cleopatra who had an incredible love life by all accounts, surely punctuated by loneliness along the way, then Artemis – the virgin Greek Goddess who created her own mythology in the woods.

Lastly came Marie Antoinette. This was Catherine’s choice and it was a great addition. Catherine is Austrian and so is Marie Antoinette – the Austrian born Queen of France. It’s up to the viewer from there really, to make of it what they will.

To create the video itself was quite an undertaking; very much in and of the real world. From laying in early autumn ponds to baths full of milk, it truly was an adventure and it amazes me when I see the video now how easy it all looks. Here it is, I hope you enjoy…