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Questions about working in the film industry? Send a Q to 'Nativity' director Debbie Isitt - ANSWERS BACK

(30 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 22-Nov-12 08:16:36

This Friday sees release of the much anticipated prequel, 'Nativity 2 Danger in the Manger' starring David Tennant and we're very happy to have the director of the films, Debbie Isitt, answering questions from Mumsnetters about everything from film making, musicals, working in the theatre, working with David Tennant, children and even animals on the set of Nativity and Nativity 2!

Debbie Isitt has worked as writer and director on a variety of theatre, television and feature film productions to great acclaim. She won a prestigious BAFTA Award for her Channel 4 teleplay "The Illustrated Mum" in 2004. Her comedy feature film "Confetti" was nominated for a British Comedy Award.

Her hit Christmas comedy "Nativity!" won two Richard Attenborough Film Awards and was nominated for Best Breakthrough Movie at the National Movie Awards 2009.

If you're interested in finding out more about what it's like working in the film industry, send your questions to Debbie before 30th November and we'll link to her answers on 10 December.

Oodthunkit Thu 22-Nov-12 08:53:26

Mmm David Tennant......

webwiz Tue 27-Nov-12 18:03:29

Hi Debbie I'd like to know about how to get into the film industry in the first place. My son is 15 and wants to be a director/screenwriter, he has made lots of short films and had one of them in a local film festival but I'm unsure how to advise him any further. He is thinking of doing English at university and carrying on with his film making and writing alongside this. How does he make the move from amateur to professional and do you have any words of advice for him?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 27-Nov-12 18:13:27

Hi Debbie. Dd I'd interested in working in films or tv. She thinks she'd like to be a researcher. How do you get experience in this field? Is it a case of having to do unpaid experience, intern, etc? Would production companies welcome speculative letters asking about unpaid work experience? Thanks.

Heroine Tue 27-Nov-12 18:23:44

In film-making and acting, once someone becomes a 'name' they can push other, sometimes more impressive talent to one side because of the production desire for (relatively) easy money-making. Does the pressure to work with familiar actors ever get in the way of making a good film, or conversely, is there something more fundamental about using a familiar face that genuinely add to a film's quality?

BlameItOnTheCuervo Wed 28-Nov-12 21:01:50

Hello there, my son loves videoing and wants to be a film-maker when he grows up. what advice can you give him.

TeWiDoesTheHulaInHawaii Thu 29-Nov-12 12:36:41

Hello Debbie,

When I was a teenager one of my aims was to be a producer. Unfortunately I was somewhat hampered by not knowing what they did and how to become one...

Could you tell me a bit more about producers, and how the ones you work with got into the job?

peasabovesticks Thu 29-Nov-12 14:20:58

Hi Debbie,

I have two ds and the highlight of their entire year will be going to watch Nativity. They adored the last one and if their reaction to the trailer for this one is anything to go by they'll like this one even more.

I am really interested in your views on women in film. I'm a member of Bird's Eye View and have written several screenplays, the latest of which won awards at the two US film festivals, one of which was the Women's Independent Film Festival (the other was one of the New York festivals). I've also won a BBC Writersroom competition in the recent past. I am still finding it hard to break into the industry though.

How hard do you think it is for women these days in the industry? The statistics are still pretty depressing which makes your success even more impressive.

I'm off to name change now...

peasandgravy Thu 29-Nov-12 14:31:26

I saw the film at the weekend and I really loved it. My question is who is your favourite character in Nativity and Nativity 2 and why?

lia66 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:39:27

Hi there, Where did you cast the children from? Do you always get them from agencies as some of the children in the first film were fab. smile

What was your favourite scene to film?

EdwardtheEagle Thu 29-Nov-12 14:52:29

Hello Debbie. What is the process of a song being chosen for the soundtrack?

AlmostAChristmasHipster Thu 29-Nov-12 14:58:10

Hi Debbie!
I've got a daughter studying Film Studies at university. Apart from working really hard at her studies, what else could/should she be doing to enhance her chances of getting onto to career ladder?

(She aims to be a director - her course leans more to the academic rather than purely practical)

Many thanks in advance smile

AlmostAChristmasHipster Thu 29-Nov-12 14:59:08

* getting onto the career ladder. <rolls eyes at stupid self>

alwayscrackers Thu 29-Nov-12 15:16:58

Hi Debbie,

I loved the first Nativity and can't wait to see the next one. Do you prefer working on comedies like this or dramas that deal with serious issues like the Illustrated Mum?

exexpat Thu 29-Nov-12 17:03:28

Hi Debbie,

My daughter has always been very into arts, crafts, design etc, and for the last year or so she has been saying that she wants to work in film/TV, doing special effects make-up/prosthetics etc. She spends ages watching the behind-the-scenes extras on DVDs and found all the technical stuff in the Harry Potter studio tour fascinating. She's also getting quite good at using eyeshadow palettes to create some very realistic-looking bruises...

She's still young, so may well change her mind, but I wondered if there is a recognised career path into that line of work, or if it's something you end up in by an indirect route, years of internships and so on?

mignonette Thu 29-Nov-12 18:47:28

Good Evening Debbie.

If you were ruler of the UK, what two measures would you implement to encourage growth within the British film industry?

mignonette Thu 29-Nov-12 18:49:17

One more sneaky one- can you find a place for a would-be Foley artist intern with no experience whatsoever but plenty of eagerness?! (Me- the oldest beginner in town!) smile

purpleroses Thu 29-Nov-12 19:49:42

What advice would you give to my 9 year old daughter who is very keen to be on stage, or in films. She attends drama/dance classes and they ocassionally put her forward for auditions locally, but on a rather ad hoc basis - what's the best way of finding out about other opportunities?

drummersma Thu 29-Nov-12 20:02:24

My son has several years of experience in local radio, plus live broadcasting and recording. He hopes to go to uni next year to study sound tech. How would you suggest he make the transition from there to working in film post-production (sound editing)?

PenguinBear Thu 29-Nov-12 21:12:54

Hi Debbie!

I have always been interested at working in the film industry. I am currently a primary school teacher and have directed, filmed and edited a series of videos etc of the children at school involved in various short stories etc.

Is there any way I could get into the film industry somehow? I love directing but also filming and editing.

All tips welcome! smile

troisenfants Thu 29-Nov-12 21:36:19

I worked in telly for 18 years, ultimately as a producer/director. I have had a career break for the last 7 years whilst I brought up my 3 young girls. I'd like to get back into the industry but would like to expand my horizons to film. How do you get an idea off the ground as a Producer - where/who do you pitch it too, get the funding from? Find the right people (exec's, scriptwriters etc..) and how easy is it to combine a career in film with a family? I know from my time in television the commitment that is required and also that its not what you know but who you know..... I know how hard it was to get into telly I just wonder how much harder it is to get into film and will people look at older production crew over the young?

troisenfants Thu 29-Nov-12 21:36:44

Sorry that is about half a dozen questions - feel free to just answer one!

OwedToAutumn Thu 29-Nov-12 22:23:59

DD1 is interested in becoming a director, possibly stage, and not film.

What would you suggest she study at university? And what should she do once she has completed a degree? Internship, perhaps?

orangepudding Fri 30-Nov-12 10:22:37

Growing up I wanted to become a casting director - How would I do that?

What's David tennant really like to work with? grin

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