Allison Brownmoore is co-founder and design director for Blue Spill, a boutique design and
VFX company based in Soho. She took part in the WFTV Mentoring Scheme in 2014 to try to bring some direction to her career. Her mentor was Sara Putt, Deputy Chair of WFTV and founder and MD of the agency for film and TV heads of department, Sara Putt Associates.
‘I felt I took away so much more than what I had anticipated.’
Why did you apply for the WFTV Mentoring Scheme?
I was really enjoying my career but felt it lacked direction. I wanted to feel like I was able to make informed decisions going forward regarding my professional path, rather than just taking things as they came. I was also interested in a journey with like-minded women, my undergrad was a similar setup (many people together with differing skills and experiences) and it was such an incredible experience, so I was keen to join, share and journey!
What were you hoping to get out of the scheme?
I wanted to feel more informed about my professional direction, and spend some dedicated time defining and exploring my career both in its present state and in the future.
Were you at all surprised by the mentor you were paired with?
At first yes! I was expecting someone in post production, who was well informed with the challenges I was facing and the possibilities going forward. My surprise was short lived once we met, however.
How did the relationship with your mentor work during the scheme and what do you feel you gained from it?
I warmed to Sara straight away, and I felt very fortunate to be discussing all things business with her. Our values were well aligned and I felt her advice was invaluable. My mentorship was interrupted by a death in my immediate family and by the birth of my second child, however Sara was incredibly flexible and we managed to catch up those sessions later, which was very much appreciated.
‘I am still in the same role as when I undertook the scheme, however I am really quite different in my approach, confidence and direction.’
The unique aspect of the scheme is how it uses peer-to-peer training as well as mentor support, how did that work?
I thoroughly enjoyed learning from the other mentees, it was a wonderful experience! I felt I took away so much more than what I had anticipated.
How did the mentoring scheme change your career?
I am still in the same role as when I undertook the scheme, however I am really quite different in my approach, confidence and direction.
Tell us about your current role.
I am co-founder for a boutique design/ vfx company, Blue Spill. I’m involved in design direction from concept to completion, and we work primarily in film, theatrical feature documentary, and tv drama.
What would be a ‘typical’ day at the office for you?
I’m into work around 10:00am after the school run and after a quick scan for feedback from LA/NY overnight, I catch up with the team on what’s on the agenda both for today, and for imminent deadlines. Once the team are focussed then I’ll usually have a couple of hours of admin, this might be putting together a bid or responding to client emails. If we’re in early concept for a film, I’ll spend the afternoon researching and designing, and then mid-afternoon will break for another team catch-up so we can assess work in progress. Late afternoon is typically calls with US clients then I’m out of the door and on my bike around 5:30pm so I can be back for the children. Once they’re in bed I’ll often spend another hour responding to US emails before their day ends, and then time for rest!
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
My first job was cutting fast turnaround commercials, and early into this role I accidentally typed the wrong wording on the disclaimer for a car commercial. It went to air and the company had to sell the cars for thousands cheaper as a result. My boss came to me calmly and explained the situation, which of course was mortifying! He then said, “I don’t mind that you made a mistake. But don’t let it happen again.” His calm, poise and dignity under fire resonated with me, and to this day I’ve never delivered a typo since!
What advice would you give someone thinking of applying for the WFTV Mentoring Scheme in future?
Apply apply apply. You won’t regret it!
WFTV would like to thank Allison for taking part in this interview.
Find out more about the WFTV Mentoring Scheme and meet our current mentees here.