Blogged by Fox Fisher, Ambassador and Advisor for All About Trans, Director of Lucky Tooth Films and co-creator of My Genderation films and My Trans Story.
It’s an understatement to say it’s been a busy few years for trans awareness and action, and a large percentage of my output has been through All About Trans projects and interactions with the media.
After we met on prime time documentary Channel 4’s My Transsexual Summer, Lewis Hancox and I combined forces to create films about trans people and trans topics, for a much wider audience. We set up My Genderation as an on-going documentary film project celebrating gender variance. I’m proud to boast that our films are unique, intimate and insightful, featuring trans events and individuals. The trans community expect heart-felt, fresh and authentic representation from us, and unlike other production companies, we are spoilt for choice with applicants.
At the start of 2014, Lewis and I embarked upon an intensive 6-month project, supported by All About Trans and Channel 4 to create 25 short films about gender variant people of all ages and backgrounds living throughout the UK. This series of films was initially part of the Patchwork Digital Storytelling Project; the digital arm of All About Trans. This year, 8 of those 25 short films were re-branded as My Trans Story, now available on All4.
Watch My Trans Story on All 4.
For the first 6 months of our film project, we traveled up and down the UK, visiting people ranging from 9 to 60+ years old, binary and non-binary, poets, builders, psychic mediums, models and rail conductors. Creating these films was a fantastic way to get to know new individuals and to share the stories of those we’d already come into contact with. The mini-doc format is great for anyone who wants something introductory & bite-size on gender variance and trans experiences.
We filmed an armed forces mini-series within the batch of films, and it was fascinating to visit the various bases and learn more about the RAF, the Army and the Navy, as well as how policies for those transitioning within the forces have been in place since 1999, making them more advanced than our American cousins. The mainstream press wrote articles based on our films with Ayla Holdom (RAF) and Captain Hannah Winterbourne (Army).
We met with Channel 4 commissioning editors throughout 2014, facilitated and supported by All About Trans. At these meetings, we would view each batch of films and discuss changes and ideas for the next batch. We maintained a high standard, meeting broadcast quality with a Channel 4 UK audience in mind.
On completion of the series of films in July last year, we held a big launch at Channel 4 to celebrate with all the contributors and the media, and we also held Q+A sessions at two All About Trans socials at the BBC in Salford and London. It was great to have positive feedback from other producers and filmmakers in the industry, and meet other trans people who are keen to work with us on future projects.
We released a number of films online via Diva, So-So Gay, Autostraddle, the Advocate, Buzzfeed and Original Plumbing, helping raise awareness of British trans people and their diverse trans experiences across several global, diverse platforms. Last year, BBC3 broadcast our film about Tayler, a skateboarding teen.
As an All About Trans facilitator, I’ve been taking part in more All About Trans media interactions, social meet-ups designed to encourage better understanding between the media and trans people. I’ve met with The Observer, The Mail Online, The Mail on Sunday, BBC and The Sun. It was priceless being able to sit in the same boardroom as the gatekeepers who approved of some shocking articles, and witness them apologise and go on to work with two of our volunteers, Ayla Holdom and Dr Kate Stone, both of whom had sensationalist front page Sun headlines written about them.
In the past year, we worked with GIRES to create 8 short films on caring for young gender non-conforming people for an e-resource for the NHS. NHS Choices have also hosted our films.
Also, I’ve helped set up and design for Trans Pride Brighton (totally heart-felt and a massive success, now in its 3rd year), as well as being designer and contributor for Brighton Trans*formed, (a book featuring many of our film contributors). I also co-created a kid’s book on gender titled ‘Are you a boy or are you a girl?’ with Sarah Savage, now available on Amazon, which is also being used as a resource in some primary schools across the country.
Over the summer, I worked with community interest company Gendered Intelligence and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to set up a course for actors, called ‘TransActing‘, which has been a massive success, resulting in some participants getting parts in BBC’s Casualty and with guest visitors, Eddie Redmayne and Rebecca Root advising the group. Check out our short video about the course.
It’s been a busy year! Lewis and I were acknowledged in The Independent on Sunday Rainbow List 2014, which is now coming up again. This time last year I also spoke about all things trans at TEDx Brighton. My most recent role is as Casting Director and consultant for the Will Young music video ‘Brave Man’, which features a trans guy called Finn.
Everything is still gathering momentum and I feel that I’ve learned so much in the past few years, not only in film production but in how to spread my time and energy. It’s so exciting that I’ve sorted myself out, so I can be in a position to help others.
11 Things I’d recommend if you want to get into film-making / acting / design / activism
- Learn as much about the subject as possible (You Tube / Google)
- Reach out to someone who is already making the type of work you love and ask them questions. If they are too busy, don’t take it personally, and ask someone else. There are a lot of inspiring people out there!
- Start small. Test the water.
- Look locally and globally.
- Work Experience: offer to help your favourite creators with their projects
- Got a good idea? Can’t see what you’re looking for already out there? Why not set up your own project. Announce your plans and see who wants to get involved.
- You can achieve much bigger things when you work with a group. Delegate! Learn together!
- Enter creative competitions as they help you to focus and get used to meeting deadlines.
- Communication is key. Use social media. Get out and chat to people, attend events etc.
- Have an idea of where you want to be in a year’s time.