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Meet Your Makers: Why Ella Sedgwick Never Second Guesses a Project

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Whitehouse Post's head of production on being ridiculously organised, being a small cog in a big wheel and the importance of having an attention to detail

Meet Your Makers: Why Ella Sedgwick Never Second Guesses a Project

Ella Sedgwick began her career in offline production over 10 years ago at Work Editorial, where she worked on award winning commercials, short films and music videos. From Work, she took her skills to Trim continuing to grow the wealth of directors, producers and agencies that she has worked with. Ella joined Whitehouse Post in 2022 as head of production, bringing her knowledge and highly regarded experience to their busy London office.

 

LBB> What first attracted you to production - and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area?

Ella> I spent a large part of my 20s flitting around Europe employed in various seasonal roles from Chalet Host, to Hotel Receptionist, to Massage Therapist (my least successful venture!) I had no real sense of what I wanted to do, but knew that my strengths lay in being ridiculously organised…and trying to organise others. My first role within the industry was as office manager at Work Editorial, where I worked closely with a handful of strong, focused, brilliant producers. I was in awe of how they juggled multiple jobs, schedules and budgets and thought I had finally found something that I could carve out a career in.


LBB> What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career?

Ella> At Work Editorial, I gradually started producing music promos and content pieces where I naively thought the offline process would be straightforward, schedules would be adhered to and there would always be more budget if needed. Ha! It quickly taught me to never second guess a project and that I still had an awful lot to learn. Both points that I’ve kept in mind and have certainly rung true throughout my career.


LBB> How did you learn to be a producer?

Ella> I had the most solid training in production that I could have hoped for and owe Julian Marshall a big thank you for that (thanks Jules!) I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with some of the best editors and assistants in the industry and realising early on that to work collaboratively means filling gaps in each other’s knowledge, has taught me more as a producer than I could have possibly learnt trying to figure it out myself.


LBB> Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a producer?

Ella> Not at the beginning of my career, but projects that still managed to happen at the start of the first lock down I think helped everyone grow within their roles. I remember a last-minute job that we cut a couple of days after we shut the office was chaotic to say the least. We were still figuring out our remote systems and processes, were yet to set up a zoom account and there was certainly a sense of “what the...?!” Fortunately, the editors on the project were just outstanding and I think we all supported each other over the finish line. It’s probably one of my fondest memories of a job and one with problems to overcome that were a first for everyone involved.


LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why/why not?

Ella> I’m on the fence here! Yes, I agree a good producer should have the basic knowledge to make a production happen across all mediums, or at the very least know who to surround yourself with to help along the way. But to produce each medium well? I would have to say no. People spend years learning their specific field and I wouldn’t want to take away the time and effort that goes into that.

  

LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why?

Ella> I’m sure this is a hugely unoriginal answer, but the process of seeing words on a page being turned into a film never ceases to amaze me. Being a small cog in that relatively huge wheel makes me very proud. I’m truly in awe of all the editors I have worked with, their calmness (mostly), perseverance, creativity and sheer brilliance at story telling it what has kept me in offline for over ten years.


LBB> How has production changed since you started your career?

Ella> Budgets! Forever decreasing, whilst schedules and deliverables are all the more demanding. Remote working, although with its own challenges, has brought a much needed leveller to work / life balance within the industry.


LBB> And what has stayed the same?

Ella> The food bill at the end of a job...


LBB> What do you think is the key to being an effective producer - and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?

Ella> Attention to detail is essential in being an effective producer, but I think it’s probably empathy and patience that really helps get a job over the line successfully. All three are certainly something that can be improved upon or learnt to some extent, but you’ll have a harder trajectory to get to the top of your game if they don’t come naturally to you.


LBB> Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?

Ella> Honestly, I wouldn’t want to single one out. I’m proud of any production that has gone well, from the first editing jobs that assistants book to large multi editor campaigns. Of course, there are the odd few that haven’t gone quite so well and I’m less proud of, but that wasn’t the question...


LBB> And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges?

Ella> The first projects that you produce when you join a new company bring excitement, apprehension and challenges. You’re unsure how the editor and assistant like to work, whether the systems in place are those that you’re used to and if you’re going to make a complete hash of it. Joining Whitehouse Post I had all those fears, but I absolutely needn’t have. The whole company from London through to New York, LA and Chicago have been so welcoming and supportive and I’m excited for the many projects (and challenges) that lay ahead.


LBB> Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of it?

Ella> NDA’d I’m afraid...


LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?

Ella> To continue to work in such a way where I’ll be remembered for being a hardworking, conscientious, kind and fair producer.


LBB> As a producer your brain must have a neverending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?

Ella> Swimming, running, red wine and trying to win the Fantasy League.


LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive?

Ella> Most of my drive comes from the want to produce each project with more knowledge than the last. It’s also extremely important to me to help and support those starting out in their career, it can be a pretty daunting industry and easy not to be heard.


LBB> What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?

Ella> The best advice that I could give and I was given, is to think before you reply to an email and you don’t necessarily need to reply straight away. Never get yourself into a situation that you have over promised and then underdeliver.


LBB>From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?

Ella> A collaborative approach from all involved makes everything run smoother. Everyone has their own significant part to play in the process and each part as important as the other. Respect and patience go a long way.

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Whitehouse Post - UK, Tue, 25 Oct 2022 14:05:32 GMT