Guess what! Our annual Women in Media Awards are in less than a month! We’re getting super excited, and you should be too – because what’s better than taking some time to celebrate the inspiring women in this industry?
But to get you even more excited, we’ve decided to profile the recipients of the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program – which supports the promotion of female directors in a male-dominated industry by pairing them up with mentor companies!
This program perfectly aligns with what the Women in Media Awards is all about; making sure women in this industry get recognised for their efforts, as well as a fair shot, and a seat at the table.
This year, eight up-and-coming female directors were paired with top commercial production companies. Read more on that here.
Our first mentoree profile is on the amazing Stef Smith! She’s been paired up with Photoplay, and is pretty damn excited about it.
How did you become involved with the program?
I heard about the initiative in 2017 when they announced the recipients and made it my goal to at least do enough work to be in consideration for the 2018 round.
When the time came to apply I had no existing relationships with any of the production companies involved so I made my silly application video that showed how much of a weirdo I am and how much I swear and crossed my fingers.
Which company/who have you been mentored with?
When time came to interview I researched every production company, their directors and their work to make sure I would fit in and thankfully the one that I felt I aligned with most was the one I got! Bloody love Photoplay.
They’ve been so welcoming and generous, the people that work there are incredibly kind and talented and I feel genuinely really grateful.
And they took two of us so I’ve made a brilliant new friend in the other recipient Aimee-Lee X Curran. That’s not even a lie. She’s friggen great.
What are you most looking forward to about the mentoring program?
Learning. As much as I can. There is so much to gain and I hope I can give some back too.
Seeing the good and the bad of the ad world. Seeing difficult moments and how to navigate them. Seeing new techniques I’ve never had the budget to explore.
Watching different directors approaches to a concept. Building a relationship with a production company I one day hope to work for.
Exploring different products so I can build my knowledge and skill to become diverse and not just be pigeon-holed as the funny director but be able to be the car ad director, the drama director, the fashion director AND the pet condoms director (not a product?).
What are you excited to gain from having a mentor?
Mentoring to me is a really vital, precious and rare relationship. It currently happens all too infrequently, particularly in Australia, but I’m hopeful that things will change and people will see the benefit in opening up more.
I had my first mentor when I was 18 and she committed suicide three months after I relocated from Wagga Wagga, NSW to Sydney. Losing her broke my heart. With her support I felt like even the shit parts were worth persisting through and I was adrift for some time after her passing. Having someone who believes in you and is invested in your progress is an incredibly fortifying thing and I’ve longed for it since I lost her.
By chipping away and working relentlessly hard I’ve been lucky to have had career support from people I admire so much and never thought I’d even exist to. So far everyone that I’ve encountered in the Photoplay family has shown me great support and kindness and I’m so excited to build on that with them.
Do you think the program will help your career? Why?
It already has. It has already opened up doors to me that were typically closed.
It’s given me a weird feeling of belonging in the market and a confidence to keep persisting. It’s given me skills and insights I would never have ordinarily had, and it’s given me supporters who I can text when I’m in the edit-assembly doom spiral, drowning myself in chocolate.
The Australian Directors’ Guild, The Communications Council, and the Commercial Producers Council with the support of Screen Aus have given all of the recipients of the Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship 2018 the rare opportunity to take the ad-world by the coconuts and join in. Luckily I really do like coconuts.
What was the best advice you’ve ever received?
Even when you think you’ve got it, go for one more.
That was the pre-shoot three am Facebook advice I got from one of my first supporters who is a successful feature director when I was on the eve of directing my first film.
Of course there are times when one shot is all you get. But giving my performers a chance to feel supported and alive in the moment, then once they’ve nailed it giving them a chance to feel free to play, that can be when you get the unexpected magic.
What advice would you give to young, aspiring women?
Do it, Darling. If you love it, and it’s in your guts, and if this is what makes your heart happy… if even at the absolute shittest moments you still can’t imagine being happy doing anything else. Do it.
Work hard. Be kind. Believe in yourself. Don’t worry about being perfect just be open to learning and not needing to know all of the answers; your cast and crew are the ones you should be open to collaborating with to find those.
You should ALWAYS be learning. Be brave and do it, Darling. We need you.
Please login with linkedin to commentAustralian Directors Guild B&T Women in Media Awards 2018 Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship programme Photoplay Women in Media
Independent creative agency Five by Five Global has launched UK Indie film Invasion Planet Earth into Australian and New Zealand, with a campaign titled ‘the film 2020 deserves’. A low budget homage to science fiction classics, Invasion Planet Earth is a passion project brought to life after nearly twenty years of production by its maligned director. Five by Five […]
[INVNT GROUP], THE GLOBAL BRANDSTORY PROJECT today announced the appointment of Ee Chuan Fong to the role of Creative Director for branded content studio and content marketing agency HEVĒ in APAC, Colin Burling Blake as Director of Strategic Accounts, [INVNT GROUP] APAC, and Tim Prosser as Senior Graphic Designer for global live brand storytelling agency, […]
Ellen DeGeneres has opened the new season of her show by addressing the allegations of a toxic workplace that’s plagued the talk-show host the last few months. The Ellen DeGeneres Show began its 18th season on September 21, with DeGeneres using her opening monologue to apologise for things “that never should have happened”. “I know that […]
Nine and Seven were neck and neck in primary channel audience share on Monday night – 19.6 per cent to 19.5 per cent, respectively, according to OzTAM numbers. Nine’s The Block did the goods with a high of 885,000 metro viewers, while Seven’s AFL Monday Night Footabl did a decent 596,000. The ABC and 10 […]
There’s something quite ironical, dare we say ‘sweet’, about a company called ‘Milk & Honey PR’ being B-Corporation certified. Or, perhaps it’s just B&T’s penchant for puns. During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Bauer Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional people who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable […]
UK catalogue retailer Argos is the (cigarette) butt of online jokes after it revealed a set of curtains that looked very much like a humble pack of Benson & Hedges. The curtains are white, with the bottom third a sort of brown-mustard colour. They’re attached by eyelets so they fall in folds. In the accompanying […]
Integrated creative and communication agency, CRE8IVE has bolstered its digital capabilities with the appointment of innovative digital experts, Andrew Mackay (feature image) and Vishal Sahody. Andrew will now head up the CRE8IVE Digital division, as Digital Director, and brings over a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing strategy and program management, project management, […]
Australian family owned and run leading grocery retailer Harris Farm Markets has appointed Neon Black as its lead PR agency following a competitive selection process, involving four agencies nationally. This new relationship will mean Neon Black will be responsible for working with Harris Farm Markets on a range of national and locally focused PR and […]
Digital display advertising provider Inskin has announced that Georgia Woodburne will be taking up the role of General Manager in the APAC region. She will be managing the commercial, operations and design teams across APAC and play a key role in the decision-making process for the region going forward. The news corresponds with a surge […]
The Chaser has released a video that takes the piss out of The Star Casino’s handling of Covid safety. The stunt – performed by newcomers Aleksa Vulovic and Alex Apollonov – involves the Chaser comedians repeatedly attempting to get into The Star, while pretending to have Covid. The duo tried their best to gain access […]
Cinema admissions reached a record peak for the first time since first lockdown restrictions were lifted, with over 376,000 Australians visiting the cinema in the last full week of data, a 26% increase on the previous week. The past week’s results exceeded previous post-lockdown records, despite cinema closures currently in place across Melbourne. The previous […]
The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has announced that its public review of its overarching self-regulatory Code, the AANA Code of Ethics, is now complete and an updated Code will take effect in February 2021. The purpose of the review was to assess whether the Code continues to reflect community standards. The new code […]
Independent media agency MediaSmiths today announced the appointment of senior media industry executive and former Carat investment director, Corey Eyre, as senior account planner. In his role, Eyre will be involved across a number of the agency’s key clients as well as taking the lead for end-to-end planning, buying and execution of their campaigns. He […]
Barilla is launching a new international communication campaign via Publicis Italy. It will be on air from September 21 in 18 countries, although it’s unclear if Australia is on the list. The new project aims to strengthen Barilla’s message of closeness to people’s everyday life and of confidence for the future. These past months have […]
WPP AUNZ media agency Ikon Communications has selected independent digital out of home (DOOH) verification platform, Veridooh, to track, measure and verify DOOH campaigns for some of Australia’s biggest advertisers. Following a review, Ikon, which counts Commonwealth Bank, nib, Lindt and Subway as clients, appointed Veridooh to drive greater transparency and accountability for DOOH campaigns. […]
DDB Group Melbourne has appointed Mike Napolitano as managing director. Napolitano joins the agency after nine years at TBWA Melbourne, the last five as managing director overseeing the agency’s growth and success during this time. With more than 20 years in the industry, he has worked across most categories, including FMCG, automotive, financial services, government, […]
There’s plenty of bad news in the world right now. In this opinion piece, Pinterest CMO Andréa Mallard reminds advertisers of the power of positivity. More nights last spring than I’d like to admit, I found myself ‘doom-scrolling’: Mindlessly thumbing through my feeds full of scary statistics, grim updates and fear-inducing ads. It was exhausting—and […]
Customer intelligence platform Toluna has appointed consumer intelligence veteran Sej Patel to the role of Head of Business for Australia and New Zealand. With over 20 years’ experience in consumer intelligence and data analytics, Patel will be responsible for continuing to drive Toluna’s rapid growth across both Australia and New Zealand. Having kickstarted his career in the […]