Definition September 2023 - Web


Industry movers and shakers reveal their career paths. First up, Anna Valley’s Christina Nowak shares her wisdom, advice and insights CV STORIES CHRISTINA NOWAK

Definition: What’s your current role and what excites you about it? Christina Nowak: Right now, director of client relations for film & TV at Anna Valley, and before that, director of virtual production. My role is varied, it encompasses liaising with productions and incoming enquiries, going through needs – be that practical, creative, technical or budgetary. I also lead the department’s commercial strategy, business development and any R&D. The variety is exciting – every day brings a new challenge. I love finding solutions and positive outcomes that have great synergy and results. Virtual production can also be fun; yes, it’s one tool in the toolbox – and an emerging tool at that – but the opportunity to experiment and explore is unique. Def: What was your route into production? CN: I often say production found me – it wasn’t a clear pathway. It started with RED Digital Cinema, supporting film crews in my role as filmmaker liaison. Here, my community was formed and organically progressed. Virtual production, specifically, was an amalgamation of skills learnt from working with cameras, camera tracking, production, VFX and post. It required varied knowledge, an understanding of different elements of the workflow, and

to have been an early adopter, which Covid-19 forced upon me. I was made redundant after planning a career move to LA, and the pandemic forced me to stay in the UK – at the exact time virtual production became a helpful tool and known in mainstream industry media. I started my own business and consulted for those that needed guidance in piecing that puzzle together. Def: Outside of the day job, what organisations are you involved with – and why? CN: I’ve held a board-level position at SMPTE since 2022, became a Cinegirl ambassador, and involved myself with Women in Film and TV, Rise WIB and others. Through these organisations, I’ve honed in on different people and roles, gaining insight into the industry and where I can forge change and give back. This has inspired my goals, how I choose to work with people and my understanding of what’s necessary. Def: How have you built up such a strong network of connections? CN: Years of getting to know people on a professional and personal level. I researched what was happening and relevant events, and got to know people in the room and their work. I watch the movies people make so I am familiar with their craft and techniques; their work is their blueprint of expression. I also took time to follow up with people, truly listen and identify mutual interests. Def: What networking advice do you have? CN: Have purpose, and don’t be afraid to express yourself – and get to know strangers. Remember that, no matter how big a name somebody might be,

we’re all still people. Anyone would get tired being told about work credits or being sold to every day. You won’t get far without being genuine, personable and knowledgeable. Finally, if you have an interest in a subject matter, do the research, find out who’s who in the field CN: One is the difficulty of women’s leadership in a male-dominated industry. I try to overcome this with philanthropy, volunteering my time and promoting causes that create word of mouth and have a positive impact for women and EDI in film. I am a big believer in self-improvement, and leading the way on what you want the world to look like. If that means a happy set with a great culture, allowing mentoring and shadowing, I will make it happen. Another big challenge was the pandemic, which I overcame by finding opportunities with gaps in the market. I didn’t need to sell to survive – I had to help those find ways of surviving or growing in a new climate, and that took a big shift in independence. Def: Any advice for people hoping to follow a similar trajectory to yours? – and don’t get complacent. Def: Biggest career challenges? CN: Be bold. Find a mentor or a support network. Make connections. Never stop learning unless you’re happy with where you’re at. Treat others how you wish to be treated, regardless of how they choose to treat you. And finally, have a thick skin – business can be tough. It can be too busy, it can be too quiet. It can be dog eat dog. Remain true, remain resilient and always try to rise above. Don’t let life grind you down.

BE BOLD. MAKE connections ”



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