A resource for creating inclusive productions
We acknowledge that not every production can do everything but every production should be thinking about what it CAN do. Raising Films
Guidelines, suggestions and ideas on how to make the full life-span of a production fully inclusive for parents and/or carers.
Use the drop-down sections below relating to specific stages in the life-span of a production for detailed breakdowns. In addition, scroll down for our Checklists, an overview of the Wellness Practitioner role, our suggested Childcare Solutions, a brilliant Case Study of a care-led production, and a reminder to apply for your Raising Films Ribbon!
Here at Raising Films we know that parents and carers are never ‘just’ parents and carers: our experiences are also shaped by our ability, race, gender, sexuality and economic status. These are also protected identities under the Equality Act, and they all require specific interventions and support to create and sustain inclusive workplaces. Our Creating Inclusive Productions Resource focuses on offering you specific, tried and tested practices that include and engage parents and carers, and we see this as part of a larger change towards inclusive workplaces.
We are, as ever, in full support of the organisations mentioned within this resource and if you engage with them and want to share your story about the outcome then please drop Raising Films an email.
“Don’t apologise. Ask for what you need.” Shelly Love
At this point in the film’s life there are far fewer people employed, so a more flexible schedule is possible. However development and financing can go on for a long time, so it’s important to be clear about how, when and by whom the work will be delivered.
- Please don’t ask anyone to work for free unless there is a clear and collaborative reason why they should. The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) has a good practice guide for employing writers (PDF).
- The WGGB also has contract templates and minimum rates for hiring writers. If you don’t have a lawyer or agent to help manage this employment, please check these resources.
- Also available from the WGGB is this Good Practice Guide to Writing Film (PDF) which is aimed at screenwriters and anyone who works with writers in film. The guide is intended to clarify the journey from a first idea to a distributed film.
- Once writers are employed, discuss with your team what their caring responsibilities are, and how that will impact their work schedule. Are there school holidays they need to work around? Do they have only a few hours a day they can do meetings/work?
- If you have a director, writer and producer in place, what is the best way to create an environment that will allow them to make the most of this time. If going away on retreat or for research is useful, extra caring costs may need to be covered. They might be casual, e.g. paying for a grandparent to travel or a temporary nanny for a few days. Ensure this is covered in the budget.
- As loose as the development and financing time frame can be, it’s important to consider personal commitments outside of work. For example, try and avoid asking someone on Friday afternoon to deliver something on Monday morning. Bear in mind people have parental and/or caring responsibilities that means they will be working in a certain way.
- Be clear about the number of drafts and polishes required, when notes will be given, and when work will be delivered. Expectations and schedules can be really helpful for parents and carers who are juggling everything all the time.
- For early casting and financing work, figure out how the teams involved are going to work together, especially if different time zones are involved. Be mindful of caring obligations and ensure that there remains an open channel of communication around this.
As you set up your production, the people you employ and the way you employ them should be as important as the finance and logistics. This is an opportunity to establish a production that centres care not only in regards to people’s personal responsibilities, but also in the life of the film.
- Put HR policies in place for all cast and crew e.g. draw up official contracts with all individual workers, clearly stating their terms of employment and rights. For quick guidance on the main contract types (e.g. fixed term) head over to BECTU’s website. Also available on BECTU’s website are rate cards for all departments. The Employment Status Manual on the Government website covers guidance on the self-employed status of particular occupations, including those in the ‘entertainment industry’ and details the various roles both behind and in front of the camera.
- Have clear and open hiring practices, which are not only reliant on existing networks.
- Have a zero tolerance policy for any discrimination throughout your production, and clear and open processes for the reporting of bullying, harassment, and personal difficulties including mental health, physical health, and caring responsibilities. To this end, identify various crew members who are accessible to everyone to seek help from, from runners and interns up. Managers and heads of departments who have this responsibility need to be educated on how to deal with any reports and protect the crew member.
- Allow time off in lieu to workers.
- When you are crewing up, talk to everyone about what they need in terms of caring support, in order to develop an inclusive caring policy for the various stages of pre-production, production and post-production, whether that’s aimed at parents or carers or those that are both, who are working on the production.
- Consider the ages of the crew’s children, are they school age, at nursery? Would an on-set crèche support the parents on your crew? Ad hoc adult care is more difficult to secure for your crew members with caring responsibilities so how can the schedule/working hours be made more flexible to suit individual needs? Now is the time to investigate these things so that you can make necessary provisions. NB: during the recruitment process potential employers should not ask an individual if they are pregnant, intend to become pregnant or have children/what their childcare arrangements are – as these situations should in no way affect whether that person is hired. A production-wide family-friendly policy can be discussed during the hiring process then discussed in more detail once crew are offered roles.
- Talk to your funders about whether any childcare costs could be added to the budget – NI Screen covered some costs on Shelly Love’s A BUMP ALONG THE WAY, so it is possible BUT generally only on a case-by-case basis.
NB: during the recruitment process potential employers should not ask an individual if they are pregnant, intend to become pregnant or have children/what their childcare arrangements are – as these situations should in no way affect whether that person is hired. A production-wide family-friendly policy can be discussed during the hiring process then discussed in more detail once crew are offered roles.
Production is intense and all-consuming. While you are shooting you will need to have plans in place for caring commitments. These can involve family visits to the set, subsidising cast and crew caring costs or providing on-set childcare. Some people may prefer not to see their families during shoots, others may count on it to get them through it. Be sure that your crew know they can talk to you about their preferences. There are other important safety and wellbeing considerations to ensure that your production is care-centred, and we recommend you familiarise yourself with them here.
- As employers you need to protect the health and safety of any pregnant employees on your production. They need to be given paid time off for ante-natal care and you are not allowed to change the terms of the contract of pregnant employees. If you are unaware of your responsibilities to pregnant employees, you can find them on the Government website.
- Look at which roles could be offered as job shares to make them more accessible to parent/carer employees – more of them might work like this than you think. We have a range of stories from our community about job sharing, from someone who worked part-time in the Art Department and devised a system to share her work across the other members of the team, to a Producer job-sharing experience and job sharing in post-production.
- With regards to scheduling, can the production run on ten hour days rather than twelve or fourteen? Can you do five day weeks rather than six day weeks or eleven day fortnights? Shorter weeks significantly impact people’s productivity, even those with no caring responsibilities.
- You should provide suitable accommodation to anyone who has to travel with members of their family.
- Consider offering on-set childcare and bring cast and crew into the decision, perhaps the provision could be financed in part through their contributions? Find out who would want this help and who would use it. Day players might be keen to bring babies to set, for example, whereas grips might not want to manage their caring commitments around their long, physically demanding days. There are other options available – nannies, local childcare options or if you are shooting in a studio they may have an on-site facility. There is more information within this resource – scroll down!
- To keep morale up, you can have a longer lunchtime once a week and have kids visit set for lunch so people see their families, and families see their parents at work. And don’t add the time on to the end of the day, no one will thank you for that! (This is a nice thing to do even without families involved.)
- Provide a suitable private space for breastfeeding or pumping if required by any member of the cast or crew. In addition provide fridge or freezer space in case they want to store the milk.
- Be aware of the subject matter of the project, is it potentially triggering for cast and crew? What can you do to mitigate this? Intimacy coordinators can be employed to protect actors and crew and keep everyone safe around sex scenes, but there may be other material that is triggering for people. Make sure everyone knows who they can talk to about this, and that they will be protected with anonymity.
The edit and post production part of the film can sometimes be longer than production, and often arrangements are put off as production feels more urgent to lock down. However there are several things that are possible to mitigate this period being difficult for parents and carers.
- Are the editor and director based near to each other? Research this and find out where, and how, they could work that is convenient for both parties.
- Look at what caregiving responsibilities each has and figure out a schedule that will work for everyone involved. The edit is obviously scheduled tightly – just like prep or production – but as it’s longer it’s important that you are planning for a marathon, not a sprint. For inspiration take a read of our piece from the team behind A DEAL WITH THE UNIVERSE who completed all their post-production ‘during school hours’ to enable the director and editor to collect their kids at home time.
- If the editor and director live in different parts of the city, country or world, make a plan for how they are going to work together. Do they need to be in the same room throughout the edit? Is that something that could be scheduled e.g. for the first or second week of the edit, and then perhaps they can be together for only a few days a week as it progresses. Talk to both of them to find an arrangement that works best. For example if they want to take turns travelling to the other, then make sure you have facilities in both places. Ensure you budget travel and accommodation for them if this is something you plan to do.
- Remote working is far easier than it used to be, but if an editor and director are working together for the first time, this may not work for them. If it is something you want to do, make sure you research remote working options – e.g. screen sharing, how to send cuts from editor to director and how notes will then be delivered back. The tech required for this may be specific and it’s key to ensure you have access to or budget for it.
- Apart from the director and editor who else will be involved at this stage: the composer perhaps? The producer will certainly need to be part of this process, reviewing cuts and managing the potential changes to the schedule. And the sound designer, FX artists and colourists who will be doing the next stage of post need to be part of conversations that are happening during the edit. Work out the workflow, and ensure that you are building into this the times of day and locations that work best for every party. Don’t, for example, schedule post production meetings at drop off or bed time. Raise the question about caring responsibilities early, and build it into how you are going to deliver your film.
- For feedback screenings for financiers and distributors work out where these are going to take place, and budget in travel for all relevant people to attend (as needed) and potentially accommodation.
- As with the edit, work out early where the post work is going to happen, as well as when it will be scheduled. Similarly work out travel and accommodation plans for anyone who might have to travel, and set up timings with regard to caring responsibilities.
- As well as daily commitments, there may be holidays (e.g. half term) to take into account, and although this is the responsibility of the parent/carer to manage, make sure they are comfortable to bring these things up. If post gets pushed, for example, and runs into pre-booked holidays or times when there is no caregiving support, you may need to help out with their new plans and responsibilities.
Once delivered, the film will hopefully have a life that will take it to cinemas and screens around the country and possibly the world. There are many different obligations for the cast, producer and director – as well as the rest of the crew in some circumstances. Try to mitigate the effect of this on the creatives involved using a few of the following steps:
- The world premiere is important, and so might national premieres be. However beyond that, figure out the strategy for which festivals or events the director and cast and other creatives will need to (and want to) attend. Many parents and carers have a limited amount of time they can take away from their families.
- Is it possible for the director to take their families with them to some of these events? Is that something they want to do? If so, who will be paying for this? Some festivals may, some distributors may, but in many instances the costs will come down to the filmmakers themselves. Have the conversations throughout.
- Ask festivals if they could schedule your film’s screenings in a way that makes it easier for people to attend. Weekends may be better for filmmakers who want to take their families, or who need to be at home during the week. Some may prefer weekdays, a short solo trip just for the first screening, and to get back to their families for quality time at the weekend.
- When the film is distributed at home or in different countries, there may be press and publicity obligations for parents and carers. As with festivals, can the obligations be managed in such a way that works best for the filmmakers? It’s hard to predict what these obligations will be, but at each stage keep it in mind.
Touring the national and international film festival circuit brings with it a new set of challenges, as does touring with a film during the lifespan of its theatrical release.
We have a number of stories about this aspect of filmmaking that we hope will inspire and inform…
Hope Dickson Leach (co-founder of Raising Films) shares her experience of attending a film festival with her family
Hope and Alice Lowe (director PREVENGE) talk about taking children on the festival circuit
If you’re invited to speak on a panel or at an industry event ask for fees to cover your expenses, this is especially important if you’re a freelancer (with or without caring and/or parental responsibilities) as you won’t be getting paid for your time otherwise. Check to see who else is on the panel and remember if they’re employed, their time is being covered through their salary. Raising Films awarded our Ribbon to Falmouth University, and specifically Dr Neil Fox, for addressing this inherent issue.
If you run or work at a UK-based film festival there’s a private Facebook group to join in order to collaborate, campaign, share expertise and ask for help.
Raising Films Checklists
Our series of checklists were created in response to the voices we heard from within the industry, not only workers, but also employers, leaders, and stakeholders, on how we can work towards a shared, future-oriented framework of accountability.
Click on the graphics above to download the associated checklist as an individual PDF file.
These checklists of recommended measures are aimed at realising positive change across the screen sector, from entry-level to leadership positions. The checklists are designed to provide a series of recommendations and guidelines aimed at different stakeholders within the sector, with the aim of creating positive change.
We know that many of the issues facing parents and carers in the screen sector are shared across the wider community. Ours is not the only employment sector to experience inequalities and discrimination relating to the issue of caregiving. We also know that there are differences between the working cultures and practices across film and television.
We urge all members of the screen sector to develop and use a language of openness, accountability and zero-tolerance with regards to all employment discrimination and exclusion, and to pass that on to future film and television professionals.
Please use and share these checklists and credit Raising Films accordingly.
Raising Films Job Share Resource
Our resource aims to answer a range of questions. From, what is flexible working? and how do I go about organising a job share? to do job share vacancies exist?
The resource includes information on a number of organisations working specifically in the job share world, plus links to online communities. Dive in!
Safer Working Statement – template
This template is provided as a downloadable and editable document to act as a starting point for your own statement relating to your organisation, production company or production.
Raising Films extends thanks to the National Theatre of Scotland for allowing us to adapt the theatre’s existing statement for use here.
- BIFA’s Unconcious Bias Training
- BFI Diversity Standards resource
- Inclusive Cinema’s Seven Principles for an Inclusive Recovery
- Bectu guidance on equality and diversity at work
- ScreenSkills free bullying and harassment basic training
- BECTU’s Eyes Half Shut report on long hours and productivity in the UK film and TV industry.
- Screen Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Survey Findings from Creative Scotland.
The Wellbeing Facilitator
The Wellbeing Facilitator (WBF) is a brand-new role being trialled across the film and TV sector that aims to proactively support positive, healthy and diverse workplace practices.
A WBF is a third party, highly trained presence on set whose role is to stem and reverse the tide of mental ill health. The role has a unique dual purpose:
- Advise producers and heads of department on how to prevent stress and mental health issues and meet their legal duty of care to the crew and cast.
- Robustly support all crew and cast with their own mental health and wellbeing on set.
6ft From The Spotlight train and mentor WBF’s to support the production to maintain best employment practice, drive high performance levels, de-escalate challenging situations and advise on mental health risk. As at December 2020 the role has been successfully deployed on productions such as HIS DARK MATERIALS, THE LOST GIRLS AND SMALL AXE (BBC) and is due to be used on PRETTY RED DRESS (BFI), THIS WAY UP (Channel4) and an upcoming NBC Universal UK production.
About 6ft From The Spotlight
Formed as a non-profit, community interest company to promote changes in the creative industries that improve the mental health and wellbeing of the pre-dominantly freelance crew and cast that are employed in those industries. Supported by clinical professionals working in the NHS as well as a network of people who have broad experience of the film, TV and theatre industries.
Download an info pack on the role of Wellness Practitioner (PDF) and find 6ft From the Spotlight on Twitter
The Wonder Works
An Ofsted-registered nursery based at Warner Bros. Leavesden Park. Opened in September 2020.
Back in 2015 Mark Radcliffe came along to a Raising Films networking event. Also in 2015 the Raising Films founders met Charlotte Riley at an industry event. Both Mark and Charlotte talked about their ideas for an on-set childcare provision, so Raising Films played matchmaker and introduced them…
The WonderWorks is a socially responsible childcare business and a recipient of the Raising Films Ribbon. You can read our initial interview with Mark here on our website.
The Production Guild has kindly allowed us to replicate part of their interview with The Wonder Works team – Charlotte, Mark, Marcus and Natasha.
Wonder Works has both full-time and flexi-spaces available to children aged 3 months to 5 years. Spaces are available to WarnerMedia staff, Leavesden based productions, tenant companies based at Leavesden Park and members of the Production Guild.
Open year-round and happy to accommodate holiday-only cover (depending on availability).
Wonder Works hours accommodate the extended hours of the film and TV industry. The standard 10-hour day runs from 8am to 6pm for parents with a structured working day. With limited half-day places available. A 12-hour day (7am to 7pm) is available for parents working on production.
Wonder Works is competitively priced and comparable with other local nurseries. A 12-hour production day is £92 and is organised via your production, a standard 10-hour full day is £75. There are a limited number of half-day spaces at £40. This is all excluding any early years or tax-free funding that you may be eligible for.
Can I come for a tour?
Yes! Someone from our team will be on site every day, along with our Deputy Manager, Natasha. You can contact us via email to arrange a tour and a chat. We’re fully set-up for COVID safe visits too.
Nipperbout was conceived in 1992 by Janthea and Steve Bridgden. It has since grown from a boutique family business to a nationally recognised, award winning company that cares for over 10,000 children a year.
Janthea and Steve Brigden came from well-established acting careers and after starting their family, became increasingly frustrated with being unable to source childcare to attend auditions. The company originated from Janthea’s experience working as an actress. After the birth of her daughter, she quickly realised she had no flexible options when it came to childcare while she attended auditions. When she started working in the West End again when her daughter was ten weeks old, the problem became even more evident and the solution was Nipperbout.
Janthea realised that leaving children in someone else’s care was a huge leap of faith and parents needed to be able to trust and relax, to enjoy the event they were attending.
A gap in the market was spotted for mobile/event childcare and Nipperbout was born. Nipperbout started operating in a similar manner to a theatre in education company and still uses actors to entertain the children and many of them have achieved childcare qualifications.
Nipperbout is an award-winning childcare provider, has been providing professional childcare services to venues and events organisers for over 25 years and is well placed to partner with film and television companies to provide childcare on location or on set.
Nipperbout offers a complete full day care service for children from 0-17 years old. Ofsted registered, the team provides children with exciting educational themes to allow parents to work, secure in the knowledge that their child is happy, homework is being done and schools won’t fine them.
To find out more about Nipperbout’s childcare services and how they can support parents on location or on set send Nipperbout an email or call 01296 712658.
COVID-specific info: Nipperbout operates according to the Government and Ofsted Covid-19 guidelines. In response to the current situation Nipperbout is operating a new service – Virtual Childcare for Online Events, more info via the website and also via this short promo film.
Producer, Jules Hussey (who now sits on our Advisory Board) sends out a welcome letter to all her cast and crew before a shoot begins, to outline who to speak to if they have problems, or more seriously if they feel they are being bullied, and to reiterate that the everyday lives of the crew are important, so leaving to attend appointments etc. is accommodated. Lines of communication within the production are open both ways too – during the shoot Jules sends out an anonymous survey to all cast and crew to ask how they are doing and if anything could be improved.
Here is Jules (left photo, centre front) with the crew of GUILT holding up signs stating who they care for
Download a copy of the I CARE FOR sign to use on your production and please send us your photos!
The Raising Films Ribbon is available to production companies, festivals and conferences, training schemes and educational institutions. It will be awarded to acknowledge activity that takes into the account the needs of parents and carers.
Stories on inclusive productions and activities from our community…
Producer April Kelley is the founder of Mini Productions, the latest recipient of our Raising Films Ribbon. Ahead of going into production on two short films - DO THIS FOR ME and JUST IN [...]
One of our ribbon awards during the summer went to Casey Herbert a producer working on her second feature. Ahead of the release of THE LAST RIGHT we caught up with Casey to look [...]