On Wednesday the 10th of February, Naomi Wright, an old girl of the school came to visit us to give an assembly about her career as a freelance producer/director of TV programmes and films. The main focus was to tell us about the creative thinking that goes into making a TV programme or a film. Naomi went to Cambridge University where she studied theology and has loved to be creative since she was 14 when she won a script writing competition.
She began by giving a beautiful description of how a film could create a kind of distilled world which still had all the important features in it. To show us some aspect of this she played a clip from a French film called:”three colours blue”. The video showed a car driving along the motorway and then down a country lane where it crashed into a tree, killing two of its three passengers. The director had made this dramatic and creative with original camera shots and by not having any music in the film. She described the artistic value of different perspectives such as the ones shown in the film and asked us questions about why we thought the shots from the film were effective.
The presentation moved on to investigate the different styles of TV reporting and particularly relating to documentary shows which is what Naomi usually does in her line of work. These reporting styles included: Reconstruction, observational, documentaries with a presenter, interviews and programmes relying heavily on archive footage. Reconstruction includes anything from re-enacted battles to reconstructed scenes in crime watch. Observational documentaries are created by filming in one place for a long time or just by collecting footage of things as they truly are without any slant to the filming, such as a nature program. Shows with a presenter would include programmes like X-factor etc. History programs would mainly employ the use of archive footage however other programmes also use it for showing the history of something within the program.
She described how even though she has most of the control over how the program is filmed etc. She still has a certain brief to fill given to her by her commissioners and how that can be an artistic challenge to a more creative director. She said she was quite shocked in one instance where she was told that the audience for the program she was doing would be 16-30 year olds and the shots in the programme had to be exciting and the vocabulary used had to be simple because the audience watching wouldn’t necessarily be that intelligent. This was a good example of the times in life when you have to find creativity in the most restrained of situations, an area Naomi is highly skilled in.
The penultimate video she showed us was an extract from a documentary she had directed about a play The Royal Shakespeare Company were performing based on the experiences of a girls grandmother in Ukraine. This clip included the majority of the documentary styles mentioned earlier and it was very interesting to see them all weaving together.
Finally she showed us a very contrasting clip from a show called: “Fearne Meets Peaches Geldof” which she is currently directing. Watching an excerpt from this really emphasised in everyone’s minds that you have to be able to apply your artistic talents to any situation in a job like that and that you have to deal with people, such as celebrities who are often used to doing what they want to.
Unfortunately time flies when you’re having fun and we ran out of time at this point but I think i’m safe in saying that everyone enjoyed the presentation and that it was a great privilege to have Naomi Wright with us to share her experiences of the film and television industry.
You can see more information on her work at: http://www.naomiwright.com/