Women in Media’s Clare Alstin & Catherine Stone: “Step Outside Your Comfort Zone & Get Dirty”

Women in Media’s Clare Alstin & Catherine Stone: “Step Outside Your Comfort Zone & Get Dirty”
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine
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During the shake-up of the century, does recognition still count for something? For two of Australia’s outstanding creative producers, it has given them an opportunity to step back, with pride.

The Women in Media Awards, presented by Are Media, are just around the corner, with the cream of the media industry set to be recognised and celebrated for their courage, innovation, and leadership.

Crybaby Productions’ Clare Alstin and Catherine Stone are nominees for this year’s WIM, in the ‘Creative Producer’ category. Moreover, Stone’s series ‘Behind Every Woman’ for Pac Mags and Hyundai has been recognised as a nominee for the ‘Best Ad Campaign’.

In a combined interview with B&T, the company founders revealed what awards recognition means for them, and how they will use their nominations as a force for good.

The pair also explained how they run their business without one of the industry’s worst attributes: big egos.

Is being recognised as a professional working in advertising, marketing, or the media important?

I don’t think we have ever really placed importance on awards for ourselves. We have been so consumed running the business as well as producing and directing that we’ve never prioritised it.

But, as the landscape continues to evolve and media changes, it definitely feels nice to take a moment and reflect on the work we have done. We’ve realised how proud we are of all of our accomplishments and we wouldn’t have noticed if not for the awards.

How will you leverage your recognition as a Women in Media finalist as a force for good?

We have always tried to support diversity in our tiny agency. We hire women whenever we can, and we love training and supporting young women at the very start of their careers.

Production within media is traditionally a male dominated area and while we love working with our male crew, we really are always on the lookout for talented women. Editing and post-production is a space where we have really pushed this, and we have a handful of super clever editors that Catherine has trained and continues to mentor. I think being given further recognition as Women in Media finalists we will continue on this path. We want to be as responsive and offer as much support as we can to younger women looking for a break in the media.

Do you work for a living, or work because you love what you do?

We both have families—in fact we both had babies in 2020… (talk about a challenging year)! So, the reality is we work for money, of course we do, but owning your own busines, you have to love it, or you can’t keep pushing/moving/reviewing/pitching/creating.

While COVID has been challenging, it’s actually pushed us back on set more, back to what we love doing and what we do best—the creative and directing. So, I guess the short answer is it is because we love what we do.

What aspect of your industry, or your role, would you change for the better?

Like our parents always drilled into us: treat people how you want to be treated. I think our industry is guilty of big egos. We run our business in a way that we can be proud of. We are humble but strong. We are a team and we look after one another. We are fair and we strive for excellence in everything we do. We never miss a deliverable. We also expect our partners to treat us fairly, to communicate and to collaborate.

When it’s not a fit, we now have the courage and experience to call it what it is and not pursue, or navigate that client in the right direction for what they need. It pays off in the long run for all. We hope that by working like this, it will influence others in the industry to also work this way.

Do we have a right, as media professionals, to advocate, to influence, and to change people’s behaviour?

Our job is to paint a picture and make brands attractive. In saying this, I do think we have a social responsibility to try and be as real as possible and say it how it is. In all of our creative we always try to push inclusivity, diversity, and an honest message.

In shaky and uncertain times of change, will playing it safe, and falling back on tropes, get businesses through?

No. You have to be courageous and try different things. Yes, of course, cut back where you can and don’t take huge monetary risks, but step outside your comfort zone and get dirty and you will evolve and grow and get better.

Oh, and lose the ego. It’s ok to take a sidestep if it means bigger picture you’re still moving forward.

Where is your industry’s biggest opportunity? And where is your industry’s biggest danger?

There are so many opportunities! It’s an industry that evolves very quickly and if you’re not malleable or fluid you will get left behind very quickly. We’ve had to fast-forward in leaps and bounds communication-wise because of COVID, as well as make sure our company has had a complete digital transformation.

Content wise, we had to reinvent. We are creating more and more using Zoom and Teams and having to be clever in ways we wouldn’t have predicted. I think our main opportunity is to work out that balance between an ‘always on’ conversation with consumers and not overflooding them with content just for content sake.

Budgets are being slashed and the content is being pumped out without a great deal of creative space and time. I think very quickly consumers will switch off to a lot of it and so creating content that can cut through that clutter is going to be very important.

The Women in Media Awards will be held virtually on Wednesday 28 October 2020.

If you’d like more information about the event, head to this website.

You can also check out who made this year’s shortlist, here.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!

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