Now a fully fledged member of the Flatpack team, Aisling Marks updates us on her experiences so far working as Marketing Assistant for Flatpack Film Festival…
Only five minutes had I been sat inside the Custard Factory’s reception area when Flatpack’s Operations Manager scooped me into the nearest cafe and at exhilarating speed ran me through the organisation’s history, aspirations and daily concerns. The chalky exterior of my new workplace was visible through steamed panes of single-glaze and I knew I was in for a cold winter. I was given a little black bleeper granting access past Custard Factory high-security, ascended a flight of stairs that led to cavernous hallways which, with each step, sent echoes billowing underfoot. I was shown to my desk in an office on the 1st floor.
The first thing that struck me was the bookshelf, rammed with film titles from floor to ceiling. At the other end of the room, a wall of windows gazing upon those massive arched aqueduct-bridges of Digbeth, which like a singular beam of light shoots headlong straight into the heart of Birmingham’s jagged cluster of high-rise apartments and office blocks in the distance.
A room with a view
I’m employed as the Marketing Assistant; previously I had no first-hand experience of marketing at all. The overall nature of the post is to help make Flatpack as visible as possible in the run up to the festival. This has so far covered everything to do with social media, the website, writing blog posts and doing research. I’m frequently keeping abreast of film and arts-related Twitter activities and ensuring that Flatpack has a perspective, a distinctive presence, amid the aging clamour of the ‘Feed’. I’m also responsible for writing emails about film submissions and advertising, hoping that these emails fall on interested eyes. They have to be readable, they shouldn’t shine of commercial empty-rhetoric, the type that makes most people immediately hit the delete button. I’ve had a good time getting to understand the roles of my colleagues, what interests them and how their role feeds into the entire operation. I’ve been made to feel welcome, listened to and given a say.
One of the high-points has been listening to the gradual development of Flatpack 11’s programme, checking out potential venues, being part of choosing the new identity and liaising with the designers behind its creation. It’s also been a thrill to watch some of the short film submissions which may find their way to the Flatpack screen, and to interview artists working in experimental animation. Another highlight was setting up the kids’ event DIY Drive-In Cinema at Impact Hub with Famalam, the Radical Childcare project of Amy Martin. Kids made cars from cardboard boxes, then sat inside them to watch animated cartoons. I documented the event with a camera and learnt how to set up Flatpack’s big yet portable screen that they rent out to community groups. The animations were dreamy, funny and clever – even if the kids’ attention span couldn’t bare it, I thought it was great.
Now that 2017 has hit calendars, things are moving faster and with more urgency. In the next few months I’ll be pestering potential advertisers, compiling and editing the beautiful Flatpack brochure, plugging away at events and much more. More soon, in a bit.