Georgia Benjamin is an independent film maker and Skype’s Film Brand Ambassador. We asked her to explain to us a little bit about how Skype helps her in the film-making process and how it can help budding film-makers build their careers.
I’ve used Skype for a long time—not only to stay in contact with friends (especially those out of the country), but also as a great tool to help build my film career. The thing I like most about Skype is being able to engage in a voice or video call; it feels much more natural than writing out lengthy emails because spontaneous ideas can often lead to an interesting discussion. Emailing isn’t as fluid because you often don’t have that instant response and feedback.
How does this help with my film career? I’m only just starting out, but the one thing everyone has told me is that the most important part of getting into the industry is making contacts and networking with other filmmakers/professionals. I’ve used Skype for this if I’ve ever been unable to meet the individual in person. For example, for a University project I interviewed a producer in America, which was a great way of networking and building an ongoing relationship with an international filmmaker.
For me, the way you can utilize Skype to best help in film projects to make all aspects quicker and easier is to use it throughout production: from development through to distribution. (From my point of view this ‘distribution’ would be entering it into film festivals.)
Initial development: In the past I’ve taken on the role of producing a few short films at university and I am currently in very early stages of pre-production on a short film looking to shoot next year. I use Skype to talk to the writer and director about any ideas he might be having, and getting his instant response is brilliant; it’s a great way to get ideas flowing.
Pre-production: When I’ve gotten to the casting process, I usually try to meet the actors in person if we want to audition them. Sometimes this isn’t possible, however, and Skype is a great tool to conduct an audition via video call when you can’t meet with an actor for whatever reason. When you’re location scouting, using Skype to send members of your crew any photos of the recce (the initial exploration of a prospective location to be used for filming) is almost like having them along with you!
Group chat: one of my favorite things about Skype is the group chat function, which allows more than two users to engage in a conversation. This is something you can use throughout the production of the film—whether it’s during development stages where you’re discussing ideas, or the final part of production where you’re deciding which film festivals you’d like to send the film.
Whatever phase of production you might be in on a film project, whether it’s a short film or a feature, Skype is a fantastic tool that allows people to collaborate and create some wonderful cinematic moments.