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The Art Of Storytelling

Date: Tuesday 29th March 2016

EMA`s March Event took place on 22nd March at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts where we had an inspiring discussion about The Art Of Storytelling with an iconic speaker who is the costume designer for the last Bond movies, Gravity, the last Harry Potter movies and more. She is Jany Temime, a world renowned professional who has created some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing and have won a number of awards over the many years of success.

Raccoon Photography

The Art Of Storytelling

Sat at the beautiful theatre at BAFTA (Piccadilly 195) we listened to Jany talking about how she got into the film industry and describing her passion about design. It was such a thought-provoking talk which, even though focused on a completely different industry, encouraged us to make analogies with our own day-to-day challenges and professional experiences as event planners.

The ultimate goal of a costume designer is not so much to gain attention about the actual costume they`ve created as it is to tell the story of the film the way the author has written it. Many of us have read the Harry Potter books and have imagined how the characters look, how they are dressed and how they behave. But how do you bring this product of our imagination into life and create something to people`s expectations which at the same time meets the author`s script to precision? “Working with a brief is the very first step which is also very challenging”, Jany says. It is imperative that the brief is discussed and understood without doubts and outstanding questions, to be able to start working on a piece of art that communicates this brief. Understanding what the story line is about and what the author wants to communicate sets the stage for creating a costume that is in line with this story. Jany says “it is the movie as a whole and the story people care about. If someone is focused more on the costume of an actor, than on the actual actor and their role in the story, then there is something terribly wrong with this”. Similar to our own jobs, gauging what the objectives of the particular event are combined with the company`s philosophies and goals, is just as important as being able to understand what makes a movie successful is. Knowing “what?” you are aiming for and “why” gives the answers to “how?” to get there. The creative ideas start coming naturally.

We talked a lot about the process of working with some of the most famous and honorable directors of all times. Jany emphasized on the importance to be bold to speak out about our own opinions and beliefs, and to show that we are not just “doers” but we think strategically and have our own views about how things should be done. Because this essentially is our “signature” and this is the way we position ourselves as trusted and respected professionals. Having the flexibility to choose how to present a certain objective or how to present a story or philosophy, is very important. Again, similarly to our own industry, lead times sometimes are very short and we have to learn to be flexible in order to achieve best results. Jany mentioned how the director of Harry Potter was writing the script with very short lead times so she never knew how the story would evolve and had to develop adaptability and flexibility whilst incorporating her own views and ideas in design.

As far as budget is concerned, it was to our biggest surprise to hear that the film industry claims to have small budgets. Quite unbelievable, isn`t it? We wouldn`t be surprised if this was referred to the events industry but here we are – creating a commercially viable event or, in this instance, movie is on the forefront of the business`s goals. Perhaps the most essential tool in achieving commercial success is creating experience. Jany says “a dress has a story and this is what makes it special, it is part of the experience and this is why people remember it”. It is the same with events – we create experiences so people remember us, remember the occasion, remember and get to know the brand. Representing the brand and sending its message across in the right format stays in people`s memories like a stamp sticks on an envelope. Moreover, it lets audiences know us better and builds an organic relationship between the brand and the consumer. Working with brands, sponsors and other counterparts contributes to the event`s or movie`s success.

Lastly, Jany talked about the significant importance of working with local teams in various locations all over the world, and the impact we have on local communities. How do we utilize their skills and vision to create better product/event? What do we give in return and what is our legacy? During her work on the Specter`s Mexico City Day of the Dead scene Jany worked with over a thousand extras and had to create a number of costumes for them. She used artists and local costume design students to help her in her work. She couldn`t have done it if it weren`t for the locals who did not only help and gained experience while studying but also left a part of themselves by working on costumes that represented their own culture and traditions. Her personal experience and what she taught these students is something that cannot be measured on paper. This is a perfect example of how we can get local communities involved and how we can leave something behind and contribute to their economical or even individual and personal prosperity.

Jany`s most powerful message is to know what you, as an event planner, want and what you believe in. Her last words were that “in the end of the day we work in the service industry and it is our duty to tell a story. We are messengers who help getting that important message across and we should be proud of what we do and the impact our work has on audiences”.

Special thanks go out to  the British Academy of Film and Television Arts at 195 Piccadilly, and the incredible Jany Temime for sharing her success stories with us and our industry.

 Raccoon Photography