Award-winning writer director Emma Miranda Moore has brought her background in fine art, fashion and short form drama to the commercial world. Bringing her astute observational skills and performances to create natural, nuanced and layered characters that burn onto the screen. As well as bringing her natural understanding of what it means to be human, enabling her to draw out performances from both unskilled actors and real people testimonials.
Winning numerous awards for her short ‘Lit’, including the Raindance Film Festival One Minute Heartache, her other shots ‘Run’ starring EastEnders Maddy Hill and ‘Jackson’ are currently being shortlisted for multiple awards on the circuit.
Name: Emma Miranda Moore
Location: London, UK
Repped by/in: Fresh Film
Awards: Main Award at DepicT for ‘LIT’, One Minute Heartache Competition winner at Raindance for ‘LIT’, Best International Director at Houston Comedy Film Festival for ‘100%’, Best Rom Com at Hollywood Comedy Film Festival for ‘100%’, Best Choreography and Performance at Light Moves Festival of Dance for ‘Swarm’
Emma> I’m always excited to read scripts that have narrative through lines, I feel like that’s where I can connect and add most value to a project. I love to see scripts where it feels like the agency and client are up for pushing their idea as far as it can go, basically that they are open and ambitious to make the result as excellent as it can be. That enthusiasm is more of a vibe than particular wording but I’m always looking for that feeling in a potential project.
I’ll also pretty much always be interested in a project that includes a message I stand behind, so if it’s got an angle on representation or environmentalism that feels truthful and genuine, that will win me over. Lastly I love movement, so anything that offers an opportunity for sport or dance or physical moves, I’m going to be into it!
Emma> After an initial meeting I usually start by pulling a handful of images that I think say ‘it’ to me personally - even if they don’t end up being in the final treatment. Then I’ll do some research on the brand and what they have done previously and start to build a rough sketch of what I want to say in the text. Usually at that point I’ll have a conversation with whoever is helping me with picture research, because I’ve then got a handle on my starting point.
I think it’s really important to have the treatment be visually arresting and for it to fit with the brand and make the client feel that you get what their brand is about. But equally, the text should reflect my tone and vision for the project and allow them to feel the voice of the director behind the treatment.
Emma> I’ll always research the brand, even if I feel like I really know them. I like to know what the parameters are, what they’ve done before, tone and texture for where they are right now. I’ll research online but I’ll also quite often ask in the first meeting with the agency ‘what did they do last’ or ‘where does this sit in terms of what the brand wants’ if that information isn’t being made explicit. At the end of the day, you’re problem solving, so you want to go in armed as best you can to find a great solution. Then you are giving yourself maximum space to be creative and wild within the right area.
Emma> I’m going to cheat and say two. First up my producer, because you are in it for the long haul with them from pitch though to edit and a supportive and understanding producer is gold. Secondly my DP because having a clear communication of what is going to happen visually and having someone who is willing to think laterally to create some exciting shots is vital. You want to be working with people who are open and up for it and also lovely. There’s always space for love.
Emma> I’m a storyteller so if there’s a narrative drive to the spot I’m definitely more drawn to it. In terms of subject matter I love stories that connect people or encourage people to do that more, to be engaged and present in the people and world around them.
Emma> I think there’s a temptation to book women directors on certain kinds of brands and I think sometimes that can be limiting. I’d love the chance to work on a car or some tech and bring a fresh take to those kinds of ads.
Emma> What happens on set stays on set haha, but the problems always get solved somehow. Usually the best tools for that are collaboration, calm and Kit Kats…
Emma> Collaboration always starts with listening and understanding, we all need to head to set looking for the same thing. If I’m communicating well then hopefully the agency and client feel safe with what I’m doing. I’ll always try to add value to the script with my take on it, be that an inventive way of getting a shot, a script tweak to up the humour or an edit that delivers their vision in a way that I genuinely love. I’m aiming to do the best version of what we are all after. Beyond that, you have to choose your hills to die on! If I can get into one element that is perfect for the brief but that also represents what I’m about, then I’m happy.
Emma> Broadening the talent pool to be more genuinely inclusive can only be a good thing. I’d love to see more practical steps taken in that direction, removing names from treatments and having at least one non-male director in every treatment round as standard. Sometimes the approach to representation can be done in a less thoughtful, more reactionary way and I don’t think that is ultimately helpful to anyone. In terms of mentoring and apprenticeships I’m very open to that and usually have at least a couple of people waiting to have a set day with me. Covid has obviously made that harder but fingers crossed we are moving towards a place where it becomes more possible again.
Emma> Some of the remote prep elements will maybe stay with me, but not others. I like casting in real life and recess that we can actually go to. I’m also a big hugger, so the pandemic was not my happy place in that regard!
Emma? Honestly I think it’s pretty tough but I’ll always prioritise for 16:9 and know that I can go to 1:1 if needed within that. Once we are at 9:16 I think it needs separate thought and planning and time allowed to get those shots separately if needed. I’ve also got a few tricks up my sleeve if that isn’t possible, but ideally as long as we know up front what we are looking for, we can make it beautiful.
Ritz Carlton trailer
Ecover with Dawn O’Porter