The Directors’ Take Podcast

Welcome to The Directors’ Take, a podcast where we explore how you go from directing something with your mates, to being the most senior decision-maker on a film set. Hosted by rising stars Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas, The Directors’ Take Podcast will arm you with all of the knowledge you need to be a success in the Film & TV industry. Whether it’s the two of them talking through their own filmmaking journeys and experiences or conducting deep-dives on Directing craft with industry guests, they will offer you a look behind-the-curtain and demystify what it takes to Direct Film & TV at the highest level. For Directors... The pathway doesn’t exist, so we are going to do our best to help bridge the gap. Music by Oliver Wegmüller.

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Episodes

7 days ago

WE'RE BACK! This is the very first exciting episode of our brand new season of The Directors Take Podcast, 
In this episode we'll be speaking to Weronika Tofilska who is the lead director (Eps1-4) of the Netflix global phenomenon BABY REINDEER. As ever we break down directing craft to gain a greater understanding of how this smash hit show was created. This conversation includes:
 
-Weronika's journey into filmmaking.
-Her experience of film school in Poland and in the UK.
-How she navigated the filmmaking wilderness.
-How she got her first break as a TV Director.
-Her process for interviewing.
-How she evolved her process for working in television.
-Creating a bespoke visual language for Baby Reindeer.
-Working with the show's creator Richard Gadd.
-Her directing process.
-How she wrote Love Lies Bleeding with Rose Glass.
 
Our wonderful sponsor for this episode is The National Film and Television School.
 
Bio
Weronika Tofilska is a London based Writer and Director, a graduate of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Film School  in Poland and National Film and Television School in the UK. 
 
They’ve made several successful short films including LAST TRAIN, which won multiple awards at Polish and Internation film festivals, they’ve made Dark Comedies such as THE PATIENT, SUICIDE IS EASY and horror/comedy PINK and BLUE which won FrightFest Short Film Competition as well as the Channel 4 Horror Short DOORKEEPER. You can watch a lot of these on her website. 
 
With the success of her short works, she has begun making her name in TV directing on the Netflix Show IRREGULARS, with Amazon on the show HANNAH, on HBOs His Dark Materials and most recently has directed the first four episodes of the smash hit Netflix Show, BABY REINDEER which is written and created by, as well as starring Richard Gadd. 
She is in development on her feature project POLYPHONY with Film4 and also co-wrote LOVE LIES BLEEDING
 
Nuggets of the week
Weronika: Jerry Seinfeld wisdom.
Oz: Go to the lake district.
Marcus: Take the time to celebrate your wins as they happen.
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Weronika: Twitter (X) & Instagram
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.
 

Friday Feb 16, 2024

 
In this Bafta Special episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by BAFTA nominees Yasmin Afifi and Elham Ehsas. Yasmin is an award-winning writer/director based in London and her her grad film Jellyfish and Lobster has gone on to receive widespread industry acclaim, screening in festivals all over the world, including the BAFTA/BIFA Qualifying Underwire, Encounters, LFF among others.
Elham is a BAFTA nominated and Oscar shortlisted writer/director and Actor working in Film and Television. His latest short film Yellow was BAFTA nominated in 2024 and longlisted for the Academy Awards in the same year.
This episode is a goldmine for insights how to create a successful short film, the dreaded festival circuit, overcoming production challenges, the importance of authenticity in storytelling, and practical advice on film conception and success.
 
This conversation includes:
Diverse career paths into filmmaking.
Choices around film education.
Creating personal and authentic stories. Visual storytelling and creative processes.
Challenges in low-budget filmmaking.
Conceptualisation of films.
Navigating film festivals and marketing.
Reactions to receiving BAFTA nominations
Yasmin, celebrated for her use of comedy and magical realism, and Elham, known for his human-centric narratives, share their unique journeys in the film industry, from educational choices to the crafting of personal and impactful stories. This is an educational episode.
Nuggets of the week
Yasmin:  Spike Lee Quote - Write the ideas that you’re embarrassed about.
Elham: 
Oz: Godfather DVD Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola 
Marcus: Watch the BAFTA nominated films, they’re up on the BAFTA YouTube channel for a short time, so you can watch both of these incredible films. https://www.youtube.com/@bafta/videos
 
Additional links
- Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1
- Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2
- Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
- Dil Se
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Elham: Instagram
Yasmin: Instagram
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.
 

E140 - This Is The End

Sunday Dec 10, 2023

Sunday Dec 10, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by absolutely nobody, as they do a recap on all of The Directors' Take Podcast episodes so far... This is the end...
 
In this episode we talk about the following:-
 
-Why we started the podcast
-The initial response to it.
-What we gained from it.
-Why we think it has resonated.
-A recap of the episodes and our thoughts and feelings on each.
-What we've learnt.
-The growth of the podcast.
-What does the future look like?
 
Nugget of the week
 
Marcus: Robert Downey Jr. & Mark Ruffalo | Actors on Actorshttps://youtu.be/0OLBhkKLmUY?si=ehxgaliPA6EaDtFy
Oz: The Diary Of A CEO | Busta Rhymes
https://youtu.be/cRjzQuzX-tg?si=4z7uWkQOjFHlLh5H
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Dec 03, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by Justine Walton and Lucy Tallon from the Film and TV Charity.
 
About the Film and TV Charity
 
The Film and TV Charity is here to support everyone working behind the scenes in film, TV, and cinema industry. From its free, 24/7 Film and TV Support Line and legal advice, to its financial support, including Stop-Gap Grants for urgent financial needs, and our Bullying Advice Service, we have a wide range of services to support your mental health, financial and social wellbeing. For more information visit our website or call our Support Line.
 
The usual support line number is 0800 054 0000, however they are currently experiencing a technical issue. If the 0800 number does not work, then please call 0207 846 1079 to speak to an advisor. This is a temporary number and will be charged at a local rate, but you can arrange a callback with an advisor. You can also access the service via our Live Chat. 
 
In this conversation we cover:
 
-Who are the Film and TV Charity?
-What issues do you typically help to deal with?
-We talk about the structural issues in the industry.
-The importance of good line management.
-What support do they offer?
-Sustainability in the industry.
-How the strikes have affected those working in the industry.
-Why they decided to ringfence money for people from marginalised backgrounds.
 
Nuggets of the week
Lucy Tallon: Philomena by Stephen Frears
Justine Walton: There's an importance to doing things that seem hard. Embrace them. Celebrate overcoming difficulties.
Oz: Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese
Marcus: 'The Killer' Q&A Fincher & Fassbender & Rian Johnson 15th Nov 2023
 
Additional links
https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/leading-change/ 
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
The Film and TV Charity: Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn.
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.
 
 
 

Sunday Nov 26, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by Writer Helen Black. Helen has transitioned into TV after writing a series of successful crime novels, picking up credits on shows such as Life and Death in the Warehouse, Grantchester and now the second season of the hit BBC show, TIME, starring Jodie Whittaker, Tamara Lawrance, Siobhan Finneran and Bella Ramsey. If you want to be a working director in TV, you will likely be brought onto a project closer to physical production, with the Producers and Writers likely being involved since its inception. Understanding their process, their intention and best collaborative practices are key to a successful career, so we got Helen on to help break down this process. This conversation includes:
 
-Her journey into writing.
-How she transitioned into writing for screen.
-What was the process of getting representation for screen?
-The collaborative process between her and Jimmy McGovern.
-How she collaborates with the series directors.
-What does her writing and rewriting process look like?
-What does the future hold for her now?
 
Biography
Helen Black was born and raised in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and against everyone’s advice she studied Law at the University of Hull, becoming a solicitor for ten years. 
It was in Helen's exposure to lots of peoples stories that inspired her to write herself, penning the novel DAMAGED GOODS, a story about a young person accused of murder, who is physically unable to defend themselves. 
She then went on to write another 10 crime novels, with the latest one called HARD AS NAILS which was published in December 2020.
She has been transitioning into writing for screen over the last 7 years or so, winning a Kudos North Writers Award in 2017, a competition running in conjunction with BBC Writers Room and has been on a roll recently, earning writing credits on shows CLINK, DEATH IN PARADISE, the BAFTA nominated Single Drama LIFE AND DEATH IN THE WAREHOUSE, GRANTCHESTER. Most recently, she wrote all three episodes of BBC’s TIME season two alongside Jimmy McGovern, which stars Jodie Whittaker, Tamara Lawrance, Siobhan Finneran and Bella Ramsey.
 
Nuggets of the week
Helen: NF - Hope (Song)
Oz: Go Into The Story - Scott Myers (Website)
Marcus: Ridley Scott Picks a Favorite Shot From Each of His Most Iconic Movies | My Best Shots (YouTube video)
 
Additional links
-Writer, Directors and Producer Directors: A six-year overview of Diamond Data 2017/17 to 2021/22
-BFI Skills Review 2023
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Helen: Twitter (X)
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Nov 19, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by Annetta Laufer, a Writer/Director who has directed episodes of Dr. Who and the upcoming HBO series Get Millie Black. Annetta, like many of us, was stuck in an endless loop of directing short films, but remained true to her taste and principles, whilst waiting for the TV and Film industry to reach the place where her voice is situated. We dig down into her journey and talk about the following:
 
-Why did you begin directing?
-Do you think schemes are helpful?
-How did you get your break in TV directing?
-What is the biggest difference between shorts and TV?
-How do you prep when working in TV?
-What is a script supervisor?
-What are the most difficult challenges a director faces when working in TV?
 
Biography
Annetta is a Writer/Director and the founder of Roman Candle Productions, a film production company focused on black and female–led films.
Her short films have screened at national and international film festivals including Encounters Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Aesthetica Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival and Uppsala Film Festival.Her short films have earned her the Best Film award at the BFM International Film Festival/Screen Nation for WINNIE AND THE DUPPYBAT, which was also a finalist for the HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival. She won the Best Screenwriter award at the Indian Cine Film Festival in Mumbai for SCARLET, Best Short Film award at the Black International Film Festival for AFRO PUNK GIRL and was BAFTA long-listed for her last short film THE ARRIVAL.
Annetta is currently developing her feature film COLONY ROOMS, a drama set within the Caribbean community in 1960s Soho London, with the BFI and producer Joy Gharoro Akpojotor (Blue Story, Boxing Day). She is also developing her 2nd feature film WILD SWIMMING (RIVER MISTRESS) with producer Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo (Netflix/Top Boy, Fox Searchlight/Rye Lane) and Film4, and developing her first TV series LEMON FISH with Buccaneer Media.
As a director, Annetta directed the 2022 New Years Special of the British TV Series DOCTOR WHO for BBC Studios. She is also attached to Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s upcoming film adaptation of her Laurence Olivier Award winning play EMILIA, based on the life and times of Renaissance poet and Shakespeare contemporary Emilia Bassano. Manon Ardisson (God’s Own Country) and Chiara Ventura from Ardimages UK are producing.
Annetta is represented by Josh Varney and Hannah Linnen at 42 Management.
 
Nuggets of the week
Annetta: The Last of Us
Oz: Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
Marcus: How Michelle Yeoh Threatened 'Everything Everywhere' Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Annetta: Instagram
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Nov 12, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by absolutely no-one this week, as we decided to create a list of the short films that have inspired them. We break down their story structure and try to deconstruct what makes these films and filmmakers so great. This conversation includes:
 
-What is a concept short film?
-Should you use voice over in your short?
-The use of vignettes in short films to expand time.
-When is it appropriate to do a one take short?
-Traditional narrative shorts and authored voices.
-When should you do a proof of concept short?
 
Concept Shorts
The Retreat - Marcus Anthony Thomas
Pitch Black Heist by John Maclean
 
Voice Over Shorts
Getting On by Ewan Stewart
Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary
 
Vignette Shorts
Small Deaths by Lynne Ramsay
Festival of Slaps by Abdou Cisse
Over by Jörn Threllfall
Standby by Charlotte Regan
World of Glory by Roy Andersson
 
Long Take Shorts
Thunder Road by Jim Cummings
Mama by Andy Muschietti
With a little Patience by Laszlo Nemes
Incident by a bank by Ruben Östlund
 
Narrative Shorts - Authored Voices
Believe by Paul Wright
The Mass of Men by Gabriel Gauchet
Azaar by Myriam Raja
Six Shooter by Martin McDonagh
Wasp by Andrea Arnold
Boy and the Bicycle by Ridley Scott
Gasman by Lynne Ramsay
Nosebleed by Luna Carmoon
 
Proof of Concept Shorts
Boiling Point by Philip Barantini
Brian & Charles by Jim Archer
Lights Out by David F. Sandberg
Whiplash by Damien Chazelle
 
Documentary Short
Black Sheep by Ed Perkins
Black Cop by Charish Oteka
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
The Directors' Take: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Marcus: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Oz: Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Nov 05, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by Writer/Director Tomisin Adepeju. Tomisin is a Nigerian-British Filmmaker based in London whose work has travelled to several major film festivals including Sundance and BFI London Film Festival. He also is the founder and curator of the film event DAILIES which platforms the exceptional work of emerging filmmakers. In this conversation we dig down into his journey to talk about the following:
 
-Why he began filmmaking.
-What he believes directing is.
-Why he felt the need to go to film school.
-How he got into Sundance.
-What happened after.
-Finding his voice.
-The struggles with the industry pathway.
-What the future looks like for him now.
 
Biography
Tomisin Adepeju is a Nigerian-British Filmmaker based in London, England.
His multi award-winning shorts, The Good Son & Super 16mm graduation film, Marianne have been selected at over 100 International film festivals, these include; Oscar-Qualifying Urbanworld Film Festival, the 25th New York African Film Festival, Smalls Film Festival & Triforce Film Festival. Both shorts have also screened at several prestigious institutions including: Cinematheque Suisse, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the British Film Institute & BAFTA.
His award winning short, The Right Choice had its World Premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, it was also selected to screen as part of Sundance London. The film has screened at over 45 International Film Festivals, these include; Oscar-Qualifying; Pan African Film Festival 2018, Cleveland International Film Festival & HollyShorts Film Festival.
Tomisin is a 2018 Edinburgh Talent Lab alumnus, in 2019, he was one of the 12 filmmakers selected to take part in the annual NETWORK@LFF development programme at the BFI London Film Festival. His most recent short Appreciation had its World Premiere at the Oscar-Qualifying Pan African Film Festival 2019 & it’s North American Premiere at Oscar-Qualifying Aspen Shortsfest. The film was also an official selection of BFI London Film Festival 2019. He is currently developing his debut feature.
He is represented by United Agents in the UK and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the US.
 
Nuggets of the week
Oz: Diarmuid Goggin Twitter (X)
Marcus: Timothée Chalamet & Martin Scorsese Have an Epic Conversation | GQ
Tomisin: 'Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.' by Ingmar Bergman
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Instagram: @TheDirectorsTakePodcast
Twitter: @DirectorsTake
Tomisin's socials: Twitter (X) & Instagram
Dailies socials: Website, Twitter (X) & Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Oct 29, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by Lesley Manning, the director of 1992's cult classic British horror, Ghostwatch. The highest rated single drama for 48 years on the BBC and named by Channel 4 as the most controversial TV drama, Ghostwatch has had a a resurgence around its 30th anniversary and is now being credited as one of the films to have popularised the use of found footage, comfortably predating The Blair Witch Project. Lesley is also a tutor at the prestigious National Film and Television School, so we talk about her career as well as doing a deep dive on craft. The conversation covers:
 
-What is directing?
-Her journey into the industry.
-What obstacles did she face in trying to become a director?
-How did she get her first break?
-A craft deep dive on Ghostwatch and the fallout after release.
-Her process of teaching, commonalities in directors.
-How she sees the industry now and the challenges that are there.
 
Lesley's Bio
Welsh born Lesley Manning started making films at Bristol Art College where she graduated with 1st Class Honours. She trained at the National Film and Television School as a director and graduated to work on films and serials at the BBC. One of which was the cult hit Ghostwatch, the highest rated single drama for 48 years – BBC Screen One film strand and named by Channel 4 as the most controversial TV drama.
Lesley directed My Sister Wife BBC Screen Two film strand and won CRE best drama, Best Asian Film Award and was screened at Dinard and Brussels film festivals. 2011 Leila is the first feature Lesley has written as well as directed – and was a finalist at Austin Festival, winning Best Actress at London Independent FF and Audience and Jury award for best narrative at United Festival.
In 2013 she completed Honeycomb Lodge – written by Surendra Kochar – a controversial film set in the British/Asian community won Best Film NRI in Delhi International Film festival. Now a tutor at the National Film and Television School, she has helped the careers of directors' such as Lewis Arnold, Nick Rowland, Rose Glass and Mahalia Belo.
 
Nuggets of the week
Marcus: The Battersea Poltergeist - Podcast series
Oz: Top Boy Director Breaks Down The Final Ever Episode | William Stefan Smith
Lesley: Chinese Proverb - 'The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it'
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Instagram: @TheDirectorsTakePodcast
Twitter: @DirectorsTake
Lesley Manning: Instagram & X (Twitter)
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.

Sunday Oct 22, 2023

In this episode of The Directors' Take podcast, your hosts Oz Arshad and Marcus Anthony Thomas are joined by the prodigiously gifted editor Mdhamiri Á Nkemi. A BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and Screen Daily Star of Tomorrow, he has a long list of credits which includes The Last Tree by Shola Amoo, Blue Story by Rapman and Ear for Eye by Debbie Tucker Green. With a natural sense of story and rhythm, we do a deep dive with Mdhamiri on the craft of editing. This conversation includes:
 
-His journey into editing.
-How he chooses his collaborators.
-What are the first conversations with a director like?
-The process of assembling a first cut.
-How do you navigate notes?
-What does he bring to a project?
-Can an editor have a style?
-What does the future hold?
 
Born in Hammersmith, up until the age of 12 Mdhamiri had his heart set on becoming an author, but on discovering that his friend’s new camera had a video mode, that love of storytelling transferred to making films and he began them from there, often playing every role himself. 
He took part in the inaugural BFI Film Academy scheme for young aspiring filmmakers’ and subsequently studied editing at the National Film and Television School.
His first credit came on an independent feature called A Moving Image, Directed by Shola Amoo and produced by Rienkje Attoh, which premiered at BFI London Film Festival.
This led to bigger standout films such as The Last Tree, again with Shola Amoo, Blue Story which was written and directed by Rapman, and Debbie Tucker Green’s Ear for Eye which was recently added to the criterion collection. 
Nuggets of the week
Marcus: How to direct actors - Directing Advice from the Greats
Oz: Scriptnotes 403 - How to Write a Movie
Mdhamiri: The Servant - Apple TV
 
Credits
Music by Oliver Wegmüller
 
Socials
Instagram: @TheDirectorsTakePodcast
Twitter: @DirectorsTake
Mdhamiri Nkemi: Instagram
 
If you have any questions relating to the episode or have topics you would like covering in future releases, reach out to us at TheDirectorsTake@Outlook.com.
 
 

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