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Meet Your Makers: The Importance of Human Connection with Camilla Stoppani



Truant London's head of production on a passion for audio visual, curiosity as a driving force and being proud of her work

Meet Your Makers: The Importance of Human Connection with Camilla Stoppani

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).

LBB> What first attracted you to production - and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area? 

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.

LBB> What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career? 

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.

LBB> How did you learn to be a producer? 

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.

LBB> Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a Producer ?

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!

LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? 

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.  

LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why? 

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.

LBB> How has production changed since you started your career? 

Camilla> The main change is technology, with production and turnaround times much quicker than they were 20 years ago. 

And what has stayed the same?

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.

LBB> What do you think is the key to being an effective producer - and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?  

Camilla> Communication, patience, humour and being the eternal solution finder. Some of these skills are innate and others are polished along the way.

LBB> Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why? 

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.

LBB> And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges? 

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.

LBB> Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of 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!

LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer? 

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.

LBB> As a producer your brain must have a never ending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax? 

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!

LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive? 

Camilla> The creative and narrative will ultimately be what drives me.  

LBB> What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?  

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.

LBB> From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production? 

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.

LBB> What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship? 

Camilla> Always try to see it from the client’s perspective. A process that is second nature to you, might not be for them.

LBB> One specifically for EPs: Producers are naturally hands on - they have to be. How do you balance that in the more managerial role of an EP? 

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. 

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Truant London, Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:07:44 GMT