Best Girl Grip
Episode 061: Louise Ford, Editor

Episode 061: Louise Ford, Editor

July 31, 2020

My guest this week is Louise Ford, a film editor who has worked on some of the most original and startling and accomplished features of recent times. I don’t think that’s overstating it. They include Robert Eggers’ The Witch and The Lighthouse, Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds and his recent release starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney Bad Education, as well as Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

We talk about a myriad of topics, from Louise’s pivot from journalism to film editing, how in a roundabout she was inspired by 70s Hollywood editor Dede Allen, her approach to editing and what that process actually looks like. We go deep into The Lighthouse talking about performance, and the layering of sounds to achieve such a deeply unsettling finale. What else? Mentorship, confidence, instinct, films... 

I really adored this conversation. I sort of had some knowledge about what editors are responsible for and capable of, but talking with Louise tipped me off just how important an editor is and I just came away with a much better sense of how they do the brilliant and often magical work that they do.

Episode 060: Grace Snell, Costume Designer

Episode 060: Grace Snell, Costume Designer

July 24, 2020
My guest this week is Grace Snell, a BIFA-nominated costume designer, whose glorious work you'll have no doubt seen in Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir, as well as Billie Piper's directorial debut Rare Beasts, and an upcoming film starring Riz Ahmed called Mogul Mowgli.
 
We talk about her path into costume design, mentorship, mental health, getting an agent and the story behind that sumptuous gown that Honor Swinton Byrne wears to the opera in The Souvenir. I had a wonderful time talking to Grace, about the specificities and responsibilities of the role and definitely got a new appreciation for not just the costumes that you see on-screen but the role that costumes play in an actor's ability to perform a role and just situating you in the world of the film.
Episode 059: Mahalia John, Central / Clapper Loader

Episode 059: Mahalia John, Central / Clapper Loader

July 16, 2020

I’ve got what I consider to be a really exciting episode this week and it’s with Mahalia John, who is a central and clapper loader. If you have no idea what that is don’t worry, we get into it. I was somewhat clueless going into this and really appreciate Mahalia’s time in breaking it down for me. 

Straight off the bat I’ll say this is one of my favourite conversations I’ve had for the podcast, it’s very giggly and Mahalia’s just a very open and lovely and funny person to talk to, so in that regard it was very easy. But also besides interrogating how Mahalia worked her way into the camera department and what that experience has been like and what it’s taught her, we also talk about some thorny and topical issues around Black Lives Matter. 

I came across Mahalia on Instagram after she published a post entitled To My White Friends in the UK Film Industry - I have hyperlinked to that post - and I impel you to read it and then take up Mahalia’s advice and do some more reading and learning beyond that. It was apparent that Mahalia’s perspective would be unique and I was hoping that maybe she could expand on some of the points she made in that post, but also just use this platform however small it is, to talk about how she got into the film industry because that is one of the salient statements that she makes. This is a nepotistic industry and people of colour aren’t always taught about the job roles that exist or granted access to them and Mahalia sets a great example I think, in both existing and excelling in the film industry and I am very grateful that she wanted to talk to me about her career thus far. 

 

Show notes:

 

Episode 058: Rebecca Horsburgh, Grip (Key Grip & Best Boy Grip)

Episode 058: Rebecca Horsburgh, Grip (Key Grip & Best Boy Grip)

July 10, 2020

This week's episode is pretty exciting because as you know this podcast is called Best Girl Grip which is play on words for the role on a film set called Best Boy Grip, meant to highlight the historical and in fact present tense lack of women within the film industry. And this week I am actually speaking to a grip, to hear about that role and what it is. So I’m hoping that 58 episodes into the life of this podcast, it will all finally make sense.

The grip in question is the delightful Rebecca Horsburgh, who has worked on lots of brilliant British films including Free Fire, Films Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Journeyman, Stan & Ollie, Rocks and also has credit on Chloe Zhao’s upcoming Marvel film The Eternals.

We chat about how she learnt about this rather lesser known role in the camera department, what it is she’s responsible for, how she built her confidence in the role and what’s it like being one of very few women in the profession.

I’m so grateful that Rebecca spared the time in lockdown to talk to me, because even though the podcast bears the name grip, it’s something I don’t have a lot of knowledge about, so I was just excited to learn from her and I hope you do as well.

Episode 057: Lara Manwaring, Casting Director

Episode 057: Lara Manwaring, Casting Director

July 2, 2020

This week I spoke to the casting director Lara Manwaring who has been in the industry for the past decade, predominately working at Des Hamilton casting - they’ve done films like Four Lions, Tyrannosaur, This Is England, Wuthering Heights and Adult Life Skills. Lots of of really incredible British cinema. Lara now has her own company, through which she has cast projects such as Mandy starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough, Aneil Karia’s Surge starring Ben Whishaw and a film called Lynn + Lucy, directed by Fyzal Boulifa which is released today! It was called a fiercely impressive feature debut by The Guardian and is now available to watch on digital platforms including BFI Player. 

Lara and I talk about making that leap from working for a company to being her own boss, what she looks for in auditions, why the recognition toward casting directors has come at a glacial pace and the responsibility feels towards ensuring greater representations for people of colour on our screens.

It’s a great chat, I always find casting so fascinating to consider and I hope you get something from it also. This is episode 57 of Best Girl Grip.

Episode 056: Rina Yang, Cinematographer

Episode 056: Rina Yang, Cinematographer

June 26, 2020

This week I spoke to director of photography Rina Yang and she’s someone I’ve wanted on the podcast for a while, but she’s incredibly prolific and hard-working and was always off doing shoots so lockdown was sort of the perfect opportunity to get to speak to her.

Rina is based in London but grew up in Japan, and some of her recent credits include shooting 3 episodes of Top Boy for Netflix, a fantastic feature-length TV drama about the Windrush scandal called Sitting in Limbo for BBC1, as well as working alongside director and cinematographer Nadia Hallgreen for Netflix’s Michelle Obama documentary Becoming. She’s also worked on music videos for Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Vince Staples and Dua Lipa, 

We speak about the difference between a DoP and a cinematographer, the balance between the technical and creative aspects of the role and how she transitioned to working on short films and music videos to filming and lighting Michelle Obama, as well as what it’s like working on a Netflix project.

You can watch Sitting in Limbo on BBC iPlayer and I urge that you do. In the meantime please do enjoy this interview. This is episode 56 of Best Girl Grip

REISSUE: Episode 045: Corrina Antrobus, Founder of Bechdel Test Fest

REISSUE: Episode 045: Corrina Antrobus, Founder of Bechdel Test Fest

June 18, 2020

This week I wanted to revisit the interview I had with Corrina Antrobus, originally published in February of this year, in the context of the dialogues happening around Black Lives Matter and because today is the online launch of Hackney's Windrush Generations Festival which Corrina worked on.  

If you can please consider donating to these UK-based anti-racism and racial justice organisations...

Or buy a gal-dem membership

Here are some resources that might be useful for your own education on what anti-racism means...

 

Episode 055: Anna Bertmark, Sound Designer & Supervisor

Episode 055: Anna Bertmark, Sound Designer & Supervisor

June 17, 2020

This week, I spoke to the brilliant Anna Bertmark. Anna is a sound designer and supervisor who has worked on several acclaimed and award-winning British feature films including God’s Own Country, The Goob, Adult Life Skills, LiltingYou Were Never Really Here and more recently Blue Story, as well as episodes of Normal People as a sound effects editor.

I should also mention that Anna won the Best Sound BIFA in 2017 for her work on Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country and if you haven’t seen that film it’s a true marvel and definitely something worth seeking out. 

Originally from Sweden, Anna has worked in the UK film industry for 15 years and been Vice Chair of The Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS). She’s passionate about mentorship and training, so we speak her experiences of that and how she’s providing that currently to up-and-coming sound professionals. 

We also talk about her approach to designing sound, what those initial conversations with a director look like, where she gets inspiration, how software has changed over the years and what motivates her.

Personally I think it’s a great chat and my first with a sound designer so there was lots for me learn. 

If you’re a sound designer or interested in it as a career I’m going to flag a couple of things you might find valuable. One is a documentary called Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound by Midge Costin who herself has extensive experience in the sound department and its a great introduction to both the history of sound, but also how valuable it is as a storytelling apparatus.

Secondly, next week on Friday 26 June, the Sundance Institute and their Collab offshoot are hosting a webinar with Alma Har’el who directed Honey Boy and Benh Zeitlin who directed Beasts of the Southern Wild all about sound design and the role it can play and how to make the most of it even with lower budget features. I’ve been watching quite a few of their talks and they are really really good and this sounds like it’s gonna be pretty fascinating, so yeah one to bookmark. 

And finally, Anna recommended a book she was reading called 'Women in Audio' by Leslie Gaston-Bird and it features almost 100 profiles and stories of women working in various audio fields including sound for film & TV, so give that Google.

Episode 054: Cat Marshall, Production Supervisor at Warp Films & Producer

Episode 054: Cat Marshall, Production Supervisor at Warp Films & Producer

June 9, 2020

Cat Marshall is a producer based in South Yorkshire, and also Production Supervisor for the Sheffield based company Warp Films whose projects include Shane Meadows’ recently BAFTA-nominated series for Channel 4 The Virtues, This Is England ’90 (Channel 4), The Last Panthers (Sky Atlantic), and feature films such Yardie and ’71

In her role at Warp, Cat works in production across all the company’s projects from development and prep right through to post and delivery. However, since 2018 Cat has been Associate Producer on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the feature film adaption of the hit west end musical about a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen. The film was shot in Sheffield last summer and fingers crossed will be released internationally this October. 

We talk about her experience on that shoot, as well as what provoked her desire to start producing. Cat is also currently on Women in Film and TV’s mentorship programme, so we dig into the value of that, as well as working in Sheffield, her experience of furlough and how she’s been keeping busy. 

Whether you’re out taking a stroll, soaking in the tub or scrubbing down your bathroom tiles as I did the other day whilst listening to a podcast, I hope as ever you’re using lockdown to be kind, to yourself, to others, and as Cat sagely says later on in the interview, to figure out what’s important to you. 

Episode 53: Emma Norton, Producer at Element Pictures

Episode 53: Emma Norton, Producer at Element Pictures

June 2, 2020

I had a really wonderful chat with Emma Norton, who is an In-House Producer at Ireland’s Element Pictures, she was formerly Head of Development there and she’s worked on a number of their big titles, including The Favourite, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Room, The Lobster, Frank and The Guard. She has also produced Rosie and A Date for Mad Mary and most recently she exec produced the smash hit TV series that everyone’s been devouring - Normal People.

We talk about getting fired from her first job as an agent’s assistant, freelancing, working for Film4, making the move to Ireland, building relationships with writers and directors and the different between adapting material for TV as opposed to film, as well as how lockdown has been treating her.

Speaking of treats, I think this one, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There are lots of pearls of wisdom inside.