The Directors in association withLBB Pro

The Directors: Fredgy Noël

Production Company
London, UK
Fresh Film director on getting into the character's shoes, the importance of trust and her love of beautiful visuals

Fredgy Noël creates female driven stories that blend narrative and documentary techniques, at the core of her work is a desire to help people feel less alone in the world, achieved through crossing cultural lines and telling inclusive stories.

Based in NYC, she honed her talent through filmmaking at MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon and continually writing, directing, producing, editing and acting in her own body of short films. She made her directorial film debut with the award-winning short film Milking It, currently being developed into a feature, and her latest short ‘Dogfriend’ is winning awards and creating noise currently at global film festival.

Name: Fredgy Noël

Location: NYC 

Repped by/in: Fresh Film Prod (UK), Society (US)

Awards: Promax Gold Award, Programmer’s Choice Award Bushwick Film Festival, Best Comedy Short and Audience Award Topaz Film Festival, Gold Remi Award Original Comedy Worldfest Houston

LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Fredgy> Dialogue and location are two important elements I consider when reading a script. When I read dialogue that is nuanced and unexpected, especially when dealing with women characters, I am immediately intrigued.  Oftentimes women are not given a lot of dialogue and when they are it's usually pretty clichéd. So when I see a writer taking risks with language–– I'm immediately interested. Location is also important for me because it lets me know more about the character’s personality. From the objects in their personal environment to the spaces they feel comfortable in––those kinds of things help me begin to paint a picture of who this person is and what their journey will be. Environment also helps me see how the character moves in the world; whether they are by themselves and in a place of solitude or out engaging with whatever the world has to offer, it all drives the film’s visual and emotional story arc. I love films that use humour to deal with the absurdity of life. I love characters that lack self-awareness but who are fully aware of this. I love capers that embrace the full range of the human condition.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Fredgy> The first thing I do when I'm creating a treatment is put myself in the character's shoes. Thinking about what their needs and desires are helps me piece together how I’m going to visually execute the spot. After I connect with the character I’m able to see colours, tones, music, and location. When all of these things come together I’m able to tell a story that is authentic to the brand. 


LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Fredgy> It's funny because even if I know a brand or like a brand I still research it when I'm working on a project for that client. It’s just part of my process. If I were not familiar with the brand, I would research past spots and try to understand their demographics. It's important for me to effectively communicate to the audience. Once I have a good understanding of the consumer’s needs, I’m able to apply my storytelling skills to make a great spot.  Google is my best friend when it comes to research. I look at old YouTube videos,  social media platforms, influencers or celebrities who are or  were once attached to the brand just to get a feel for the themes and overall messaging of the product. It’s a pretty intense deep dive, but I feel better after doing it.

LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Fredgy> Trust. It’s important for everyone to trust the skills of the person they are working with and know that everyone has the same goal of making an awesome spot.

LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Fredgy> I love colourful, beautiful visuals and nuanced stories. My favourite work can’t be boxed by genre. Life is genre less so I think films should match that truth. I love stories with a female lead.

LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Fredgy> The main misconception is that I can only tell emotional Black stories. I feel privileged to be a director because I know how much representation matters. I want to be able to tell stories that are inclusive, funny, and honest. Sometimes I think people find it hard to have those three things be in the same category.

LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?

Fredgy> No. I had to google that:)

LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Fredgy> I was working on a Breast Cancer Awareness PSA that involved women mimicking giving themselves breast exams. I hired an all women crew so the women would feel comfortable but was surprised to find out the actors did not know how to perform the Breast self-examination. I had my crew print up  Breast self-examination charts so the women could practice on set.

LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Fredgy> I know that the agency wants a great spot so I do not take things personally when they have notes. I’m always happy to hear and try to incorporate ideas. The best projects are the ones where everyone is working to make the work amazing. And I always remind myself that I was hired because they like my ideas and my visual approach. 

LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Fredgy> I love it. I am here because of the support from talented women who want to see me become successful. I encourage mentorships and apprenticeships on set and can’t wait to create those opportunities for other up incomers.

LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Fredgy> I miss being able to hang out with my cast, crew, and clients after shooting. This time with creative collaborators is so precious and I can’t wait for it to be normal again. My pre-production process has not changed much, but the amount of testing and sometimes quarantining needed to get on a set has. Meditation is my new habit to deal with it.

LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

Fredgy> I’m a big fan of using the guidelines in my monitor on set. That way I am able to see the frame for each aspect ratio. This does not always change how I shoot something but I’m able to anticipate creative opportunities for post.

LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

Fredgy> Connection is important to me so I do get a little concerned when I see people being drawn to the escapism found in new technology. I’m glad that we still have space to tell all kinds of stories.

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

Fredgy> The Dogfriend

I directed this short film during the pandemic. I loved playing with the tone and the nuance of the story.

Dr. Martens Filmmaker Series: Alt. Underground NYC

I love telling NY stories and doing it with the support of a brand that I’ve been obsessed with since high school was a dream.

Crying Laughing

This was a piece I wrote and directed to get out some feelings during the pandemic. A lot of people have reached out to tell me how much they related to it. That was unexpected and awesome to hear.

Viacom/CBS Breast Cancer Awareness PSA

I love the colour and the natural light in this spot––seeing all the beautiful brown skin up against the pink was so lovely! I won my first Gold Promax award with this campaign. 

Work from Fresh Film