An interview with Emma Wilson
This month sees us going into the world of Filmmaking with our wonderful Ambassador Emma Wilson.
Emma, who’s background is in Journalism has seen a career extend to Children’s television, a reporter on CBBC, BBC Breakfast News and reading the news for Midlands Today.
Today, Emma, located in Switzerland, is one of Europes leading Videographers as well as running her own training school inspiring others. It was a delight to catch up with Emma, who tells her own story!
RISE: Welcome Emma, firstly, tell us all all a little more about your move to Switzerland and that beautiful village you now live.
It was never my intention to move to Switzerland full time. My husband, James loves the country and works for a Swiss company called Switzerland Travel Centre, so when an opportunity came to spend six months in the village of Wengen, we took it. I knew after 4/5 weeks I wouldn’t go home, we fell in love.
My boys go to a local school and love it as much as we do. Each season is wonderful. It is a completely different way of life, I’ve traded my car in for a sledge and wouldn’t have it any other way. I have to pinch myself now that I live in a Swiss Mountain Village, in the middle of the Alps, miles away from anywhere. It is idyllic.
RISE: How did you get into filmmaking, was it something you always had an interest in? (moved this question from the top!)
I wasn’t always interested in Filmmaking, I did a media degree and part of that was Cinema. I majored in Radio and Journalism. Initially I did radio, which is where my background is from. I would much rather listen to something than watch it, as I think our imagination is more than just someone giving the information. I moved around in different areas, Children’s television, a reporter on CBBC, then onto BBC Breakfast News. It was a means to an end………and that lead to reading the news on Midlands Today and then at BBC Look North. I suddenly wanted to do everything myself from filming, editing and presenting, I loved it. I didn’t ever think I had a creative eye and thats how I ended up doing Filmmaking, I was initially a video journalist.
I am a storyteller first and foremost and Filmmaking is a means to do that. I eventually ended up filming weddings after a colleague of mine asked me to film their wedding. I remember asking my Dad to come up with a name for my new business and he came up with ‘Story Of Your Day’ It works well and portrays everything that I do.
RISE: How do you feel being a journalist helps you with your filmmaking and your clients?
It helps because as a journalist I had years of identifying a story, this isn’t something that happens over night, it takes experience, my favourite stories being about characters and their lives.I am organised and plan everything meticulously, I identify the story very early on.
My experience gave me the tools to recognise a story from the initial enquiry, when I meet my clients through to the day of the wedding.
I can also identify a story during editing. I know when to be harsh and know when to throw out parts of the edits, I don’t just concentrate on the best bits and aesthetically pleasing shots, it all has to make sense and be part of the couples story.
RISE: Your true strength is in telling true, honest stories, why is this so important to you?
In order to tell my clients’ story I need to have to have a true connection with them and I can be true to myself and my ethos – ‘a woman with a camera telling your story’. I’m more interested in couples that have interesting stories to tell – the more unique they are the better. I don’t have a formula, my clients buy into their story being told and they just so happen to be getting married – that is my main aim. Weaving through stories to get a full picture. My clients want something different, It’s about an experience when my clients commission me. I ensure I ask all the right questions of my couples, I am genuinely interested in people and that is what you connect with.
RISE: You are one of Europes leading videographers, have you found it a challenge in what can be a very male dominated industry?
In the very beginning, yes, at times. I found some of the technology side of things a challenge. To make matters worse often things are over complicated in the talk of technical jargon and that’s why I set up the Female Film Creatives Facebook group as a safe space for women in the industry to ask questions without worry of being patronised. I’ve always worked in a male dominated environment, within sports news and business news, which are predominately male but there are more and more women now entering the industry. I think some women are apprehensive to step forward but I have never had a fear of that… although at times I do suffer from ‘imposter syndrome.’
RISE: Your films are truly magical and evoke real emotions, what is your secret?
I make the films for my clients, not to win awards or to make people cry, but truly for my clients. I make sure I know every detail. I am able to throw out all the noise within my stories, I’m not interested in making the films for others to enjoy, although obviously that is great, I am only interested in telling my couples story, Everything I do is considered, from my questions, to how I edit through to the sound bites I choose.
Get to know your clients, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I feel my filming also came on when I stopped entering awards to please others. My only goal is to tell my clients story, my films are for them, that is truly all that matters.
RISE: Do you work with a team when going out to capture a wedding?
Generally I am a solo shooter. I work all over the world. I like to control the situation. I have worked with second shooters but I concentrate on the story telling aspect, whilst they look at the bigger picture. if I do work with someone, it has to be in my style.
My style incorporates many aspects, I don’t use gimbals, sliders etc. my style is to find a frame, focus on that frame and wait for the action to happen in that frame, to have patience for the story to unfold. I don’t chase the action. Continuity is key, all my frames lead through from one to the other.
RISE: You are also passionate about training other videographers, tell us more about this?
I have always loved teaching. When I was at the BBC, I was a mentor in the newsroom and a trainer for BBC College of Journalism. I love sharing my passion and skills. Its genuinely satisfying for me to see people progress, I love to see light bulb moments in those I teach, I love to see how creatively they progress. It is self satisfying to know how much people value what I have to offer.
RISE: If someone was to book themselves on one of your retreats , what could they expect?
Expect, hard work!!!
It is set over 2 days, 3 nights, in a luxury spa hotel in Switzerland.
We initially get to know each other on the first evening. We talk and find out what people need and their expectations.
Day one is more theory, based around the business. With day two being fully hands on, when we stage a wedding from ceremony through to speeches. We will also go through a one to one, looking through their business. It is a fully immersive, intimate training programme.
I initially set up my Evolve Training Programme for women and it has grown to now include couples in business.
My training isn’t for anyone who has never picked up a camera before but can be for those who would like to move into film from photography. It is also for those who are experienced but may have reached a mental block and don’t know where to go next to take their filming to the next level.
I also do an online training programme for those that don’t feel ready for the retreat but would like to learn something from me.
RISE: If you could give one piece of advice to those reading, who would like to get into filmmaking, what would it be?
Stay true to yourself, find out what makes you tick and what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid, be brave.
RISE: Thank You so much for taking the time to chat with us Emma, I absolutely adore your work, just to finish our interview, do you have any exciting plans for either of your businesses?
I want to build a team of amazing women around me and build on my training. I also love my corporate and branding film and hope to do more and more of that.
I would love to spend more time with my family and my boys, I love them so much.
As a RISE member you can now head over to your ‘Members Area’ for this months video and download with Emma, who shares her filmmaking secrets to
‘Story of Your Day’
You can find out more about the work Emma does both with ‘Story of Your Day’ and her ‘Evolve Videography Training’ by clicking the links below.