Thanks for taking some time out to share your thoughts with us today Heather.
1) You’ve been working in the industry for some time now. Can you share how you started out on your journey with our readers.
I started out as an intern at CNN almost 20 years ago! My first job was packing and labeling boxes to send out to trade exhibitions. I loved it. I couldn’t believe it when they hired me three months later as a Marketing Assistant. I may still have my first ever business card somewhere. I’m a hoarder and it drives my husband mad. I moved my way up the chain for 6 years, when I got a call from HSBC to join their global marketing team. I had 10 very happy years there before deciding to start Missing Link Films. Everyone thought that I was mad to give up such a great, not to mention well travelled, job and a boss that I loved. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.
2) When you created Missing Links Films did you have a goal in mind? Was there a particular area that you wanted to be renowned for?
Ben (husband and MD) and I wanted to launch a producer led company to create space for new directors to grow. We also felt passionately about having an equal female/male roster. You know, like in real life.
3) How do you strike a balance between the business and Executive producing sides of work? Do you manage to produce as much as you’d like to?
I’m learning the producing side from the very best, Ben. Although I resent taking orders from him. He says that I’m a mediocre runner. I think that I’m much better suited to Exec Producing.
4) What has been your favourite project that you’ve worked on recently?
I’ve loved so many but we recently shot a short film with directing duo Afloat (Jen & Matt), starring Rayleigh Ritchie from Game of Thrones. The cast and crew were amazing and it’s this dark and twisted sci-fi story, written by Jen. Creatively it was very different to anything I’d ever worked on and I was blown away by the generosity of everyone who volunteered their time and talent.
6) The industry has some very talented people working within it. However, it seems that only more recently female directors have received the recognition they deserve. Why do you think that is?
I think that initiatives like Free the Bid are vital. Agencies are becoming more self aware. When I was a client I had to actively request female directors as they were never presented on the shortlist.
7) Do you know actively seek out female talent or do you consider people for their work no matter their gender?
I don’t actively seek female talent, and there are so many amazing new male directors out there. But I always have my eye on achieving balance whether that’s style or gender.
9) There are many people who are just starting out in advertising and production. What advice would you give to newcomers?
Don’t give up! It’s a tough road full of highs and lows but you have to keep going. This is the advice I also tell myself!
10) The industry used to be awash with funny or shocking stories that just wouldn’t happen today. Can you share any with our readers, without causing a law-suit!
I have to save those stories to share over cocktails these days, sorry! But in terms of my own behaviour I caused quite a stir when, as a client, I hooked up with the producer at the wrap party. I thought that I was going to be fired by the time we arrived back in London. Luckily my boss thought that it was the most hysterically funny gossip ever. And I ended up marrying him so I think it sort out cancelled out the scandal.
Thanks for taking time to ‘Sit Down With’ Soho Soho today. We would love to share some of your favourite films from the Missing Links Films archive, so please select your most memorable or proudest moments with us.