Behind the Lens with Grace O’Donnell | Meet the GirlCrewer #80
“If you have something you love just go for it. I never thought it would be possible but it really is!”
Film is one of those mediums that can immediately pull you in, from horror to whimsy; from cinematic masterpieces to quiet arthouse shorts the range is simply breathtaking. One lady who decided to get behind the lens is GirlCrew London member, Grace O’Donnell, the founder and director of the aptly named Falling Gracefully. Grace describes herself as a filmmaker/traveller/communications, joking, “…yes I’m one of the dreaded slashies, leave now while you still can, before I bombard you with my various social media channels.” However, in this case we think she should bombard away as she’s growing a beautiful and thoughtful collection, for those of you want to see more her links are at the bottom of the piece. Grace made the move to the UK at young age of 19, packing her bags and heading to “…beautiful, charming” Edinburgh to study Psychology. While there she began to explore film albeit as a side project. “I was always passionate about film, [and joined the] President of the Edinburgh Movie Production Society (which won society of the year when I was head of it) but never really thought of it as a viable career option.” Once her studies were complete, Grace began to look ahead and used the skills she had been gathering to enter roles in communications.
“After university I worked as a communications officer for various charities which I loved. I started working for one charity, Film Oxford, which uses film as a creative and social outlet for vulnerable groups, such as those with disabilities or at risk youths.” Through working with various charities, Grace was able to explore things further; this gave her the freedom to eventually make the leap to a career that she is now creating for herself. “I started slowly getting more and more involved with film making, spending every second I wasn’t at work learning and working for free on pet projects, eventually people started paying me for the same kind of jobs.” Getting paid, is always a bonus, but for Grace a lot of the joy of her work comes from doing something she loves, she may have taken a winding route to get to where she is now but she’s very encouraging to those who have a dream outside of their current career path. “If you have something you love just go for it. I never thought it would be possible but it really is!”
1) What is the best thing about your role?
The freedom! Getting to learn and be challenged, Doing something I enjoy every day. I love what I do.
2) What did you find most challenging about it?
Managing clients expectations, it can be really difficult, especially at the beginning. Always write down and ask the client to confirm in writing, via email, what you have discussed.
3) What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
For one of my charities myself and my director, organised a visit from One Direction to our project in Ghana. Winning awards at several prestigious film competitions, the London 48 hour film competition and Edinburgh Film Festival, was very validating.
4) What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Don’t be intimidated! It can be easy to get put off, especially at the beginning, but you have to trust yourself and your gut. No one knows everything and everyone is constantly learning in the film industry, just keeping plugging away at it and you’ll be fine.
5) What would be your motto in life, and in work?
Treat others with kindness. Though this is a life motto pretty much all the work I’ve gotten has come through word of mouth, I am good at working with people and understanding clients’ needs because I am passionate about people.