Following a successful 20yr+ career in filmmaking and advertising, Nat Taylor decided to take the plunge and launch her own production company. Here she speaks to B&T about the realities of life as an entrepreneur and mother.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you have to achieve a successful multi-million dollar business by the time you’re about 29. With the average age in the industry hovering somewhere around the early 30s, it can seem like you should almost be throwing the towel in by the time you’re just getting good.
Taylor’s story of launching her own production company is, therefore, surprisingly refreshing. Previously executive producer at Sherpa and part of the industry mentor group The Aunties, in May this year she decided to launch her own production company – Poppet.
For Taylor, this was not an impulse decision.
“There’s probably been a few times in the lead up to where I am now, where I’ve been thinking should I do this myself? But then being aware that I have quite a big financial commitment with my mortgage and my children, I thought ‘I don’t know if I’m ready to do that yet’”.
Now both her children are at primary school however, Taylor says there is less pressure to pay for costly child daycare.
“My kids had to go to daycare five days a week while I was working. And that’s like 30 grand a year, so when you have two it goes to 60. So, you know, doing things where you are going to make a jump and go, ‘hey, I might, you know, not earn as much as I was earning before for six months’ suddenly becomes a very big [deal]”.
For Taylor, one of the key benefits of having her own business is that she is able to make decisions that she believes in – “not that I’m Gandhi, but you know, we must be the change we wish to see in the world”.
This includes making decisions that benefit the environment as well as hiring diversely and acting to improve equality.
“Every day, we get to make really good decisions about how we operate, Today, all of my recyclable 100 per cent eco-friendly water bottles arrived. So we won’t have to have plastic bottles on set anymore”.
When she found out that Poppet’s male talent was being paid more than female talent, she took the money out of her own pocket and equaled the salaries.
Taylor has also looked to hire diversely including hiring valuable older talent that might be overlooked by other companies.
“We’ve got millions of young, super cool people who are coming in now, but I think it’s nice to make sure that you’re diverse in all areas, not just you know, the ones that look cool”.
Taylor is also bucking the trend when it comes to work socialising – after previously arranging a staff day at a spa in her previous role, she is looking to host bonding events that don’t just involve drinking.
“I think there’s actually quite a whole sort of new swathes of young people who aren’t interested in getting super smashed with their work colleagues”.
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There are obvious challenges, however, to running your own production company, she adds. This mainly comes in the form of buying production insurance and convincing insurance companies to cover you for the myriad of mad things in production including skydiving.
Despite the challenges she says “I wake up with a huge beam on my face every day thinking I’m so pleased I did this”.
The ultimate bonus, however, was the impact on her children.
“Both my boys, who are only 10 and seven, have repeatedly asked me if they can work at Poppet, when they grow up”.
Looks like they will have to join the queue!
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