I had the rare opportunity to direct a short promotional film for Fairlight School in Brighton – where my two children attend. It was an unpaid piece of work which was a treat because it took off the usual pressure of corporate deadlines. Also, we aim to do at least one project for a local community organisation in Brighton, where Nice is based, each year.

 My favourite part of the project was working with the children. The school has an ethos of being ‘pupil-led’ and headmaster Mr Jordan was clear from the outset that the children’s voices and ideas needed to be at the heart of the final video. 

The old show biz adage ‘don’t work with children or animals’ sprang to mind, of course, especially as the school have a labradoodle, which, I am reliably informed, is a type of dog.

 We pulled a production team together who had experience of working with children and who would be well-equipped for the unexpected. Being in front of a camera can be tricky enough for a confident adult, so we created an interview plan which involved small groups of children being interviewed together. This has the added value of capturing the interactions between the children, as well as helping them to feel more comfortable with a film crew. Mr Jordan played the role of interviewer to provide a familiar face for the interview conversations. 

 The beautiful thing about working with children is their straight forwardness. There’s no need to read between the lines – they are open and honest and it’s clear what they value. The pupils in the video are testament to a brilliant school with a team of fantastic teachers and staff who care about what they do. As a parent, it was interesting to be a fly-on-the-wall for an afternoon filming some lovely cutaways to illustrate the narrative and showcase the culture of the school.

 The video is now on the homepage of the school website and will offer prospective parents a window into the culture and values of the school. It has certainly reassured me that we made a good choice for our two.