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Emily goes to MAKERS!

February 20, 2017

I was honored to have been a 2017 MAKERS Awardee and given the opportunity to participate in the MAKERS annual conference in L.A. a few weeks ago. MAKERS is a three day conference in a swanky hotel that brings together hundreds of trailblazing women to elevate the conversation, and explore solutions for issues ranging from violence against women to gender equality at work and in the world, navigating the current political and social environment, and overcoming adversity and achieving success.



The theme this year was #BEBOLD. Here are a few of my favorite moments and larger ideas that resonated with me, I hope you find some of this useful:

1. Be Courageous.

We’ve got two hands – one to battle and one to build
— Brittany Packnett, VP National Community Alliances of Teach for America

I was inspired by the stories about women who courageously overcame adversity and achieved success in their respective industries. It reminded me that taking action doesn’t just mean politically or socially, but constantly, throughout our lives and careers.

If an issue doesn’t impact you, find someone who it does impact and figure out a way to help them
— Smart person, I forgot which one

Only have a PLAN A. Put all your eggs in one basket
— Lilly Singh, YouTube star

Courage is something that you have to practice every day
— Smart person, I forgot who said this too

2. Listen.

We need to do a lot more listening and far less lecturing
— Lydia Polgreen, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

Another reoccurring theme was empathic listening. Lydia Polgreen said she has no interest in fact checking or explanatory reporting within the current political climate; or writing stories that correct or lecture people. Instead, she wants to write stories that take people’s lived experiences seriously. What she was ultimately saying was that facts won’t matter to a reader if they are different to what that reader has personally experienced. As a director, I really related to this as I strive to tell stories that connect with people, and understanding others’ lived experiences will help me do this more effectively.

3. Know yourself.

Figure out where you suck and get over it
— Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Business leader, activist and entrepreneur

Play your specialist game [a.k.a know exactly who you are]
— Sarah Robb O’Hagan

The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself [AND Don’t be delusional]
– Diane von Furstenberg

Pick your friends, don’t let your friends pick you
— Tamika Catchings, Former WNBA Player

What do we gain and what do we lose when we frame our days by being pretty? [AND How much pleasure does your gender allow you?]
— Jill Soloway, genius

4. And one for the guys…

It’s our responsibility to show women how they should be loved
— Russell Wilson, super cute Seahawks Quarterback

The big lesson I took away from the MAKERs conference is that no one has the magic answer for how to change the world or how to #BEBOLD. You have to find the path that works for you. Not having a plan B just doesn’t work for everyone. Along with the other Ogilvy 2017 Maker awardees – Justine Herz and Christine Zinker, we plan to use the conference as a springboard to more action here at Ogilvy, ideas welcome! Please reach out if you want to chat about MAKERS or how we can change the world.

My favorite speakers: Gloria Steinman, Cecile Richards (President, Planned Parenthood), Diane Von Furstenberg, Hilary Clinton (sadly via webcast), Jill Soloway (writer of Transparent), Megan Smith (The 3rd U.S. Chief Technology Officer), Sheryl Sandberg, Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg, Lydia Polgreen (Editor-In-Chief, The Huffington Post), and Sherrilyn Ifill (President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund). Also actresses Eva Longoria, Rosie Perez, Octavia Spencer, Patricia Arquette, and Zosia Mammet.

Thanks for reading!

PS. Don’t look to other people to find out how you’re doing, because it’s unreliable at best
— Lisa McCarthy, Fast Forward Group

Alex Da Kid + IBM Watson

December 25, 2016

I am very excited to show you the latest film I have been working on with the amazing IBM team from Ogilvy. IBM Watson and Grammy award-winning producer Alex Da Kid teamed up to create the world’s first cognitive song.


Make it Weird.

December 20, 2016

Yes my t-shirt says ‘Make it Weird’. I had a blast teaching a session at You Matter Day.



Emily moderates a panel of amazing female directors

October 26, 2016

I had an absolute blast moderating a woman director’s panel for You Matter Day 2016 at Ogilvy NY. The ladies came with great stories to tell that inspired me and the packed room that came to listen. From L to R: Lena Beug, Sloane Klevin, Nanette Burstein and yours truly. Sorry I look so miserable in the photo, I was thinking hard of something funny to say and sadly it was the only photo taken!


Emily goes to Chicago

October 21, 2016

A few weeks ago I went to sunny Chicago to shoot a series of videos for Siemens. We had the unenviable task of stopping folk in the street and ask them questions on camera about manufacturing day, which, let me tell you is hard, because how much do you have to say about American manufacturing? Exactly. Many thanks to the amazing Ogilvy creative team who trusted me to direct these videos [Jeff, Andrea, and Doreen], and my long-suffering H&O Productions team [Liam and Joanne], and my wonderful DP, Mikey Van Beuren. We created 11 social videos and a pretty cool long version too. Here are two to whet your appetite:
Is Manufacturing Cool?

What is Digital Manufacturing?

Emily goes back to Japan

I recently went back to Japan with my beloved Philips client, Sandra, and DP Patrick Jones, to shoot a branded content film about sleep apnea. Now, I know that no-one reads my blog, but a few months ago I shot a film in the Australian outback about sleep apnea, so I’m basically an expert in it now. Our hero of the story was a Tokyo taxi driver who worked the night shift and – spoiler alert – was diagnosed with sleep apnea. We had two days to shoot the whole film and got really great footage within our limited time and gadgets at our disposal. I did get a process trailer – my first one – and that was pretty exciting! Edited by Ian Marks / H&O Productions. Watch the anamorphic version fullscreen, it’s cool.

Dream Taxi [Client Cut]

Dream Taxi [Client Cut, anamorphic version]

Emily loses her voice. And goes to Hoboken.

August 10, 2016

Last week I directed a series of web videos for IBM in Hoboken, NJ. “Get the clapperboard in the frame!” is probably the phrase I shout the most as a director. More often that I shout “cut” if you ask my long suffering DOP Patrick Jones. I pretty much gave up on the teleprompter and fed my wonderful subjects their lines. This resulted in me being incredibly hoarse for days after wrapping and also the humiliation of being told that half the words I say, I pronounce wrong. Great shoot and thanks to everyone involved at Ogilvy NY and H&O Productions.

IBM Banking Anthem [1/5]

IBM Retail Anthem [2/5]


Emily goes to Australia

July 12, 2016

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked if I was  Australian, I’d probably have enough money to buy a first-class round-trip ticket there. But I’m not and had never been, so it was with great excitement that I boarded the plane to Darwin in the Northern Territory. The whole experience was a wild and eye-opening ride. We shot in Katherine and Batchelor, two towns with a predominantly indigenous population, hours on the one road that cuts through the outback. I learnt a lot about racism, Australian politics, crocodiles, and how much I hate drones.
I was there to direct a film a wonderful gentleman called David, who suffered from sleep apnea. He lived “way out in the never never” and had been a farmer his whole life. Life was pretty tough for the family – some years crops are more bountiful than others – but he lived an honest and content life. Most importantly, he was a great sport and let the crew and I into his family, home, and life; and let me run him ragged ‘acting farming’ for days!  I really hope our film does him proud. Cheers to Ben Swinnerton, my long-suffering photographer, who let me steal these pics of myself from him.

The Never Never [Dir. Cut]


More images after the jump

Emily… Inspiring Women

June 20, 2016

Sometimes I pinch myself at how far I have come in a year. Case in point, last year I wasn’t invited to the Women Inspiring Women conference, held yearly at Ogilvy, for the top performing women from the North America offices. This year I moderated one of two panels. My panel was called Leading the Way and joining me was four amazing women who have taken non-traditional ways to the top of their respective fields. It was such a great day full of inspirational advice from women, culminating in the key note address from actress Geena Davis, who spoke about gender disparity in film. Amen. Here are some pics from the day. In hindsight I definitely misjudged my outfit choice.

emily_Women-inspiring-Women emily_Women-inspiring-Women2
Top photo from L to R: Nelly Yuspova, Rhonesha Byng, Rachel Gogel, Sade Lythcott

Food & Wine U.S. tour. Or how I put on 10lbs in five cities.

June 13, 2016

Recently I completed a dream assignment— I was tapped to be creative oversight on a video series collaboration between Ogilvy, San Pellegrino, and Food & Wine magazine. We travelled to five cities, hooking up with five famous chefs to discover their ‘taste’ — what it meant for food and also when exploring the city they call home. The highlight? Eating lunch at Matsuhitsa, the original Nobu, in L.A. I have eaten a lot of great sushi in my life, but the food brought tears to my eyes. Lowlight? The aforementioned weight I put on while on the tour.

More images after the jump