SALLY HODGSON, FUTURE LEADER IN DISTRIBUTION
Why do you think you are a Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD)?
I’m not always 100% comfortable with using PMD as a job title but it does go some way to quickly summing up what I do. Which essentially is working directly with filmmakers to get their films out into the world and connected to audiences and working with established distributors on regional activities connected to their big national campaigns. Most recently working on Moonlight with Altitude and I, Daniel Blake with eOne.
I gravitated to this area of work and forged a now seven-year long freelance career in it because I’ve always been interested in people (audiences) and stories (films). I used to work at one of the regional screen agencies (pre Creative England days) with an amazing team and was involved in a wide range of film development and production projects. The films the agency co-financed won five BAFTAs, three Scottish BAFTAs, ten British Independent Film Awards and three Michael Powell Awards. Amazing times!
If forced to give one tip to new people coming through what would it be?
My tip is to build your network. Then build it some more! I try and get to industry events and parties as much as I can (not always straightforward as I don’t live in London).
And my tip has a second part – just remember to be nice in the process. It really does go a long way.
And what pitfall would you’d say to a newcomer into your realm that is essential to avoid?
I speak here from a freelancer point of view not an employee’s perspective but it’s always a good idea to get half your fee paid up front on contracts. And it’s never a good idea to start work on a job or a contract without having a signed agreement in place.
Tell us about where you come from and how it filters into your work?
My early background in a nutshell – born in West Yorkshire to a motor mechanic and a factory worker, passed the 11 plus exam, we moved around a lot – I went to three secondary schools, I was first person in my family to go to university.
How this filters into my work? I definitely developed a strong work ethic and the drive and commitment to get things done. Plus I became very good at quickly finding my place with new people in new surroundings. I guess those skills make a good foundation for being a successful freelancer in a competitive industry.
Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?
I loved Wonder Woman for the powerful and positive reactions it evoked in my young god-daughter and my teenage step-daughters. We need more of these stories, I hope the next one is just around the corner.
What frustrates you about what you do?
Me: So who is this film for? Who do you think your audience is?
Filmmaker: Everyone will love my film, it’s really universal.
How do you overcome this?
By working with people who build the development of audience, advocates and ambassadors into the production process or at the very least are thinking about who the film might be for while they’re in development and production.
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
I believe the telling of stories should come from a range of perspectives and the female perspective is of course one of those that’s not common or mainstream enough, yet… The dialogue and discussion and most importantly the action and lobbying that’s going on to represent all voices and perspectives within the industry is totally inspiring and I’m convinced will amount to significant changes. We need to keep on it. We need to stay relentless.