Yasmin Doe is an award-winning creative services executive with 20 years’ experience in the entertainment industry. Her career in the film industry started with Paramount Home Ent and moved from a junior coordinator through to being head of the International Creative Department. Yasmin joined Twentieth Century Fox in 2006 and has been with them ever since, in her role as Head of Creative Services.
Why do you think you are a Head of Creative?
My role in the film industry is where I have always aspired to be, I literally have the job of my dreams – for me it’s the coming together of all of my values and ideals. I love film, I love art – I am passionate about design, beauty and communication in all its forms. I love working on campaigns to deliver amazing, stand out ground breaking creative – I may have done this for 20 odd years but I have never become bored and that’s because every project is different, every film or TV show is unique – it means my day to day work is constantly new and fresh – working as a head of creative within this industry means I have the best of all of these worlds.
When I was about 11 I was talking to my mother about jobs and careers and she said “work out what you like doing best in life and get someone to pay you for doing it” – I think they were such wise words. My passions in life have always been reading, films and art… I am lucky enough to have found a career that encompasses all of those passions.
What’s your elevator pitch to describe the kind of films and/or filmmakers you like working with the most?
Working with filmmakers who take risks and aren’t afraid to try to challenge the norm is always inspiring –I should say I am just as happy working on big blockbusters as smaller niche titles, but the difference is in the approach the film makers take when it comes to distributing those titles, some are open to collaboration and input, that often allows for a more diverse approach. Then there are those who are resolute in their vision and quite immovable – that’s not always a bad thing though, if they have a clear and compelling vision that can also be a wonderful thing to work with. Wow – this has turned in to the longest elevator pitch ever, maybe the lift broke down along the way!
What is it about such material or teams that you find the most inspiring?
Having the ability to shape the communication of the story to the consumer is the most exciting and inspiring thing about what I do – looking at each film, for its own merits and finding a way to deliver the very best results for that project by creating a tailored and (hopefully) creatively unique campaign is so fulfilling! I wish I hadn’t got stuck in the lift earlier (see question and answer above) as I fear I may start repeating myself.
If forced to give one tip to new people coming through what would it be?
Bring the enthusiasm – be passionate, energetic and focussed in all that you do – be able to demonstrate day to day that you’re interested and enthused and that you want to learn and grow within this industry!
And what pitfall would you say is essential to avoid in your sector when starting out?
On a creative level I would be mindful of complacency, feeling like you know all there is to know because you have worked on a certain number of projects. This is a fast-changing industry and you need to stay at the fore front of changes and developments.
Tell us about where you come from or where you live now and how it filters into your work?
I was born in India, but we moved to this country when I was about 6 months old. I grew up in Beckenham (a small town in Bromley on the outskirts of London) and then moved to Sutton (also a town on the outskirts of London!) where I stayed up until 2016 when my husband and I took the plunge and upped sticks to move down to the Kent coast… it’s the best thing we ever did! We live right out by the sea, in an area called Romney Marsh – near the wilds of Dungeness (officially Britain’s only desert!) it’s the most amazing part of the country and I am constantly inspired and moved by the beauty of this strange, wild and slightly desolate landscape. Living here, so far outside of the hustle and bustle of London, undoubtedly gives me a calmness and a more open approach to my working life. I love the hustle and bustle of being in London for work, but can leave that frenetic energy behind when I get on the train – and that feels good! When I get back to Kent I definitely feel that the calm that descends on me,creeps into my work. I see things differently when I am here versus when I am in London. I also think being really far outside of a city centre opens your eyes to differing views and opinions about film and how it works in wider communities – I have definitely been guilty of being ‘London centric’ in my approach to film marketing and distribution in the past.
Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?
Film wise I loved The Favourite – it’s just brilliant, with the most marvellous cast.
Book wise I recently read Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter, who’s books I always enjoy – she writes for and about women so eloquently and in such relatable ways.
I also just finished Three by Sarah Lotz which I thoroughly enjoyed – I haven’t read any of her books before, but this was a great read and I thought that it would make a great screen play… I saw this week that the BBC have announced they will be adapting this into an 8 part drama!
What frustrates you about what you do?
That old saying about ‘too many cooks’ is so true, I find that ‘creative by committee’ rarely works well and I should stress that is a very different thing from collaboration, which I am all for. But those lines can get blurred and that is one of the most frustrating things about what I do!
How do you overcome this?
Over the years I have learnt how to listen to input and feedback and filter out the ‘noise’… it has taken me years but I am certainly a lot less frustrated about things then I ever used to be. I have also learnt how to guide and steer projects in a way that makes people feel included and heard albeit sometimes without their ‘input’ necessarily being actioned!
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
I absolutely believe in the female gaze, I don’t see how you can’t… the male gaze exists just as the female gaze does, though clearly (like most things in life) they are not created equal and that’s really what it all comes down to… equality between the male and female gaze is the ideal, but we are still a ways away from that scenario… moving in the right direction though.
As mentioned before, I appreciate beauty in all its forms and the female gaze is (for me) all about appreciation. That’s not to say that that men can’t (or shouldn’t) find women beautiful& vice versa (or any mix of gender and sexuality finding beauty in any other mix of gender and sexuality). Appreciating someone’s sexuality and beauty is one thing,but the objectification and the inequality is what has to change and it is, slowly but surely.
Parting shot, please tell us what you are excited about as regards the film industry and the next 5 years and why.
I think the film industry is learning from past mistakes and building new frontiers based on voices that are now finally being heard – it’s an incredibly exciting time from a film making perspective but I also see huge shifts and changes in technology that means our audiences are changing the way they consume film and media – we have to stay on the front foot of those changes to stay relevant, that challenge in itself is exciting. I don’t think we can be daunted by the changes, they have to be embraced and prepared for.