Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:07:44 GMT
Camilla Stoppani has spent 23 years honing her skills across film, advertising and events. With an innate passion for narrative and an uncanny ability to make the proverbial s**t happen, her success is built on collaboration and hard work with a smile. Camilla gets her biggest kicks from problem solving, a happy team and a chinwag with a cuppa (or a G&T).
Camilla> I wanted to be a film director from the age of 13 and have always had a passion for audio visual and storytelling, in whatever guise that may be.
Camilla> I was 17 years old and from memory, my mum had picked up a leaflet about a film production that was looking for young crew members in the area. I joined the team and we produced a film based on a re-working of a Shakespeare play but set in a school. We were all in our teens - except the cameraman who was one of the dad’s and a pro camera man. It was an amazing first experience and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Camilla> My curiosity has always been a driving force so I just tried to butt myself into projects that I thought were interesting. I love being part of a team of people who make things happen and experiencing this was the best way to learn.
Camilla> We had two weeks to turn around a multi location shoot for Microsoft, lots of logistical jiggery and pokery. It involved cast members, influencers and a steadicam moving through different locations from a PC World to a nightclub scene - all set dressed. It was a lot of fun and I learned how to function on very little sleep!
Camilla> There are a myriad of transferable skills you pick up along the way but ultimately you have to learn completely new skills in each area. A good producer should be able to face each medium with tenacity, courage and get-go.
Camilla> You are part of the creative vision and play an integral part in the finished product. You see the life cycle of a project which is very rewarding. However, I would say my favourite part is being on set with crew members you’ve built relationships with over the years. You know how each other tick and get the job done with a smile. It can be a real joy.
Camilla> The main change is technology, with production and turnaround times much quicker than they were 20 years ago.
The human connection is as important as ever… even more so now. The online world hides us to a certain degree so it’s good to maintain that human connection.
Camilla> Communication, patience, humour and being the eternal solution finder. Some of these skills are innate and others are polished along the way.
Camilla> I’m proud of the work I do day to day in advertising. With smaller budgets and shorter timelines we have to work fast and smart on a permanent basis. Outside of the advertising world, my short film projects have been proud moments. Our BFI short 'Shiney' starred children as the lead roles and we street cast on a few housing estates in south Bristol. The kids were some of the brightest I'd met but sadly government funding had put paid to arts clubs, arts in schools and their youth clubs so they were unable to feed their artistic appetite. The film was a chance for them to tell their story to a wider audience. I was able to give something back and felt a huge responsibility for the community.
Camilla> One of the biggest challenges in recent years has been the pandemic. Producing throws up many obstacles but ensuring that people are safe on set is ultimately the priority. We recently had a shoot in Abu Dhabi for our clients, Miral. Covid restrictions meant we had to shoot remotely across multiple locations, with the Directors in the USA, the client and production crew in Dubai and our team in the UK. Our concept of time went out of the window but we had a blast and the end result was worth it.
Camilla> Shooting in the middle of a freak snow blizzard in London. No-one could get anywhere at any kind of pace as the roads were like ice rinks and our ad was meant to be set in the spring! On top of that the location manager wouldn’t let us have the heating on and we were filming babies and toddlers (they were in a warm room). Without a doubt it was the team's camaraderie and spirit that got us through!
Camilla> To produce and direct a feature film for a script that I’ve written. I have a few ideas on the go and I’m part of the BAFTA crew list which means I can tap into some really talented people.
Camilla> Hanging out with family and friends. Cycling, sea swimming, yoga, meditation, running, singing (mainly in the shower) and generally lots of visits to my local beach - the best environment to switch off. And how could I forget cooking and eating!
Camilla> The creative and narrative will ultimately be what drives me.
Camilla> Look around and find projects you can help out on. I spent a lot of time volunteering on shoots from my teens into my twenties because I was passionate about being involved in film. Always be curious.
Camilla> Perfect planning, prevents poor performance - one would think! No matter how much you plan, there is always something or someone that scuppers that plan. So, for a successful production you need to be patient, hardy and solutions driven.
Camilla> Always try to see it from the client’s perspective. A process that is second nature to you, might not be for them.
Camilla> As an EP you are there to support, guide and provide suggestions to help with production decisions. It’s about lending an ear, taking a birds eye view of a project and offering solutions based on your experience. You’re there to counsel rather than decide if something is right or wrong.