Where You Live: Brighton
Company: Scream Out Loud
Job Title: creative director and project manager
Describe your job/role?
Scream Out Loud was only set up in May last year so our job roles are not straightforward yet. A large part of what I do is project management, which involves talking to clients and working out what they want. Then we start looking at design and branding. Once we get through that phase, we move on to storyboarding, content planning and creating the page designs. Once the designs are done, coding can begin and I stand between the project team and the client, making sure the team knows what they are doing and the client is aware of progress. Finally, there follows a period of testing the website or game, looking for bugs and fixing them.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is working with clients, making sure they are getting exactly what they want. It is especially exciting at the early stages of a project when you are going through new ideas. The end of a project is great, too, when you see it all coming together.
What attracted you to it?
I used to work in television, which was great fun but I used to work very long hours and was away from home a lot. That kind of lifestyle begins to get really obtrusive. I still work long hours but I am now based largely at home. Although it is intense at times, digital media projects have their own lifecycle, so they get really busy, then quieten down again. I think the industry lends itself quite well to flexible working, which suits me down to the ground as I have a two-year-old son.
What schools did you go to and what subjects did you take?
I went to Beacon School in Crowborough, East Sussex. My O’ Levels included English, Art, Maths, Physics, French and German. My A’ Levels were Art, English, French and Sociology.
What was your favourite subject and why?
I think my favourite subject at school was English Literature. I just really liked the way it covered so much - it not just about words but about how people lived - you learnt so much about history and culture in general.
Did you go to University / College and if so what did you study?
I did a BA in English at Leeds University. I then I did a Postgraduate Diploma at Nottingham University in Theatre Design and eventually I did a Certificate in Multimedia at Lighthouse here in Brighton.
What was your first job?
My first job was working on the checkout in Safeway - that was on Saturdays when I was at school.
What does your career path look like?
After I finished my education, I temped for a bit doing secretarial jobs, then I started working for an actor’s agent before I got the break I really wanted using my theatre design skills. A television production designer contacted me and I worked as a freelance Art Director for five years. It was a bit on and off but I worked on some great projects - dramas and comedies for Channel 4 and the BBC. It was fun but it was really erratic as a career - you’d get each job with someone new and it would be almost like starting from scratch every time. I decided I wanted my life to be a bit more stable so I did the Certificate in Multimedia. As soon as I finished that I ended up working for a new media company called Victoria Real.
After a couple of years, I had a baby and when I went back to Victoria Real, it was at the point when they were moving to London and I couldn’t commute and juggle childcare, so I ended up working as a freelance in Brighton. After a while I decided it would be far more fruitful to put the work I was getting through my own company so Sara Leatherland and myself decided to set up Scream Out Loud.
Which women have inspired and influenced your career?
That’s really hard to say - there have been so few! That’s why initiatives like this are so important. When I worked in television, I worked with an inspirational designer who was so good at getting on with things - no job was too small and she was always so encouraging and enthusiastic. My experience of digital media to date has been sorely lacking in positive female role models.
What would you say is your strongest attribute/s?
I am quite good at communicating with people and grasping things quickly and I also have a good mix of creative and organisational skills. Like many women, I’m a natural multi-tasker!
What do you think is the most exciting/interesting thing about working in the digital media industry?
There’s still a feeling of being at the forefront of something - I like the fact it is still a very young industry, although that certainly has its down points, too. In general, I think it empowers you to think about new ways of doing things and break down traditional systems of working. I also love the balance between creative and technical - they sometimes cause tensions but it’s beautiful when they work together seamlessly.
What advice would you give to people who consider entering the digital media industry?
Believe in what you want to do and don’t let people (especially men) say you can’t do something - because there is always a way to solve problems. Don’t let a lack of technical skills put you off (unless you want to be a coder). As a project manager, you just need to know enough to be confident in what you’re talking about and to know when you’re being strung a line.