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Celebrating Women in Film, TV, and Advertising: Cara Kotschy, MD & Co-Founder, Residence Pictures

Olivia Broadley
Mar 7, 2024
5 min read

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Sohonet has had the privilege of sitting down with leading talent from across our industry to explore the experiences of women succeeding in our field. These inspiring interviews not only showcase their passion for their work but also openly discuss the challenges they've faced, failures they've learned from, and triumphs they've achieved. And, at the forefront of these discussions is the promotion and empowerment of women in our industry.

First up, we sit down with Cara Kotschy, Managing Director & Co-Founder of the award-winning London-based picture finishing facility, Residence Pictures.

Cara, What drew you to work in this industry?

C: I Always knew I wanted to be in the creative industries. I did a Broadcast Journalism degree but I can honestly say that I haven’t used my degree and I don’t think anybody has ever asked me about it in post. I got my first job by being in the right place at the right time – I was just a girl from Cambridge in London with zero contacts who happened to be working in a temp job with a guy who’s best mate was setting up a post house and needed a Runner. The rest as they say is history!

What's the most empowering career advice you've received?

C: This isn’t advice that I have received but it’s something I’ve learnt and now tell people: Each year write down what you want to achieve at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year keep a record of what you actually achieved. 

For me, the writing down what I want to achieve as a business leader at the beginning of the year is simple because essentially that will eventually form my business strategy but taking a moment to reflect and record my achievements comes less naturally to me.

It’s important for two reasons, firstly because if you write down what you want to achieve, you’ll see that you are more likely to achieve those things once they’re written down and you can also refer to it if you feel like you’re veering off track.

Secondly, it’s remarkable how much we forget; things that seemed pretty big or important at the time can often fade away when the next challenge comes along. I learnt this the hard way when I left a business I’d been part of for almost 17 years and when I came to write my CV I found it really hard to recall what I had achieved. 

It’s great for self-esteem to see how far you’ve come, particularly during low moments.

And what guidance would you offer to a young woman embarking on her journey in the industry?

C: In post production I would certainly advise against going to university. You don’t generally need a degree for many roles. It costs a phenomenal amount of money to complete a degree these days and you will often be learning on equipment we no longer use and taught by people who are no longer in the industry. We do our best learning on the job in post, working on live projects, using tools that we use day to day and learning from our peers and the people around us. So if possible skip the university bit and get an entry level job as soon as you can.

Sadly there aren’t many entry schemes that support people into our industry currently but we are launching Pixel Pathway in the next few months, an employability scheme that provides free training up to an entry level standard in post producing, colour grading and VFX. 

Given the incredible women making waves across our industry, do you believe there's more our industry could do to support their advancement?

C: More must be done for women to remain in their roles after having children. It really isn’t beyond the realms of possibility to offer industry wide flexible working for those with children or other carers. I mean this for all parents and carers, but it does have a much larger impact on women. I’ve had two children while working in post production and I paid for expensive childcare so that I could balance having a family while maintaining my career and be available for the unlimited hours that post production can throw at you, attend networking events and ensure I didn’t miss out on the deals that are talked about in the pub after hours and over dinner.  We shouldn’t have to afford expensive childcare just to support our careers. So if we as an industry want to retain our hardworking, brilliantly talented, intelligent and strategic female workers we must support them. 

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