Earlier this month, FutureGirlCorp caught up with one of its members to check how their business has been developing since last October’s workshop. Skyla van der Pols, founder of BOOTH, a platform for women in film, shares with us the journey to creating her company, the ups and downs since and how FGC has helped in understanding her business better.
The Idea... I had the idea for BOOTH after I went to a discussion at the BFI on the representation of women in film. They shared these crazy statistics that in 2015, of the films produced in the UK, women were employed in only 20% of the six key roles (director, producer, executive producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor). A lot of women in the audience were very established in their film careers and expressed that this is a huge issue, something both women and men in the industry need to address. It made me think about my role - I was working for a creative film studio at the time - and how, up until then, we mainly hired men as crew. I was determined to start trying to get more girls hired on our shoots but I didn’t know women in the roles we required or even where to find them. I decided to create a directory that would be perfect for someone who wants to hire more women in film and addresses the issue of representation in a visual way, by literally making our members’ work the face of BOOTH. I was also wanting to meet more women in film and BOOTH has been a catalyst for this to happen, so in a way I’m my own audience.
The Product... BOOTH is a place to find and hire women in the film industry. It’s a free platform, a directory of women working in film and a curated video channel of our members’ work. We feature work that members submit to us when they join, so BOOTH is fluid because it’s always shaped by the work of the member being featured. We launched in November and people have responded really well. The fact that we have members ranging from those who are new to the industry, to those who have over 15 years experience shows that there's a place for BOOTH. Whether you’re a director, producer, costume designer, gaffer or working in post-production, we’re creating a hub of women across the industry. Instead of trawling Instagram or Vimeo, you can find so many women in one place via BOOTH.
"By joining BOOTH, our members are showing that they actively want to build networks with other women in film".
The Successes… Having women who actually want to be part of the team and who want to become BOOTH girls, despite it’s early stages, that’s really cool! Also, having members sign up and submit work to be featured. The challenge has actually been trying to keep up and cater to all our submissions.
The Challenges… I’ve got a million and one ideas and only so much that can be execute with a small team so I want to expand to having a group of girls behind BOOTH. I’m also trying to establish my own film-making work but it’s a question of priorities: focusing on what I want to do for my own career as well as for BOOTH, which is also my career but in a separate way. When it’s your own project, you’re obsessed with it. You can stay up till 2 am every night working on it. That’s the hardest part, giving yourself time to step away.
The FGC Experience… I was already following Sharmadean and admired the evolution of WAH. I saw an Instagram post about the FGC workshop around the time that I was needing BOOTH to get going. It sounded like a great opportunity so I applied and was really happy when I was successful. People had already said to me that BOOTH was great idea but having Sharmadean’s team, who know what it means to run a business, accept my application was the first real validation.
"All the workshops were amazing, the speakers inspiring and the exercises really effective at helping me become strategic and professional in knowing my company".
I enjoyed the whole day, particularly the vision workshop where Sharmadean highlighted that WAH’s vision was really about having a space for creative women to meet-up, whereas the product was the salon. That’s so powerful. Also having to describe my audience in detail (what they do, what their worries are, what interests them) really got me into head of who I’m trying to talk to. Plus, it’s really cool to be in a room filled with a mix of girls, all doing different things. It was a great way of making new contacts, some that have now become close friends and even BOOTH members.
The Next Steps… Get funding and investment in order to make BOOTH as streamlined and refined as I envision it to be. We want to have a launch event this year and we’ve already started to put feelers out for women we want at the event. The plan is for BOOTH to exist offline as well as online.
The Advice… Being fairly new to the industry, I was like “woah, I’m starting this whole platform for women in film and that’s scary because it’s not like I have 20 years of experience”. But when you have an idea and you see the space for something, just go for it. I really believe in getting out your comfort zone. And definitely sign up to FutureGirlCorp!