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Celebrating Women in Film, TV, and Advertising: Lucy Ainsworth Taylor, CEO & Co-Founder of BlueBolt

Olivia Broadley
Mar 11, 2024
5 min read

In our series for International Women’s Day, Sohonet delves into the journeys of leading women in our industry. This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, CEO and co-founder of BlueBolt, a BAFTA-winning visual effects studio based in London. BlueBolt, founded in 2009 by Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor and Angela Barson, is renowned for its work on productions like The Last Kingdom, Peaky Blinders, Mission Impossible and Ridley Scott's Napoleon. Join us as we explore Lucy's remarkable career and the insights she shares on empowerment and promotion in our field.

Lucy, what's the favourite part about your job, and what keeps you motivated and passionate about your career?

L: There is no one specific part of my role that is a favourite, for me it's more when it all comes together and works! Having an idea to set up a company and seeing it take off is an extraordinary achievement in itself, then the fun begins. You need to keep that ship at sea, running through both stormy and dead calm water. Strategic planning, savvy business acumen and forward planning are my strengths so I love it when they are needed.

A key motivator for me is simply seeing the company and the team thrive - an award win or nomination is a very small part of it; it’s both fantastic and exhilarating to know good work is recognised. However, by the time that's happening we are already five steps ahead with other projects! Another motivator is repeat business, because it means the faith is there from the clients, our creative work and input is valued and we need to deliver even better than the last time.

To fail is to succeed - What's the most unexpected lesson you've learned from a failure or setback in your career?

L: You will make mistakes, it's normal and it's natural and a bit weird if you don't!

Back when I was trying to break into the UK film industry in my early twenties, I got knocked back so many times but I just kept at it. It's also good to be humbled, no-one is perfect. My advice would be to watch and learn from everyone around you, some you'll strive to be like, some you'll be glad you're not like at all!

What advice would you give a young woman starting in the industry?

L: My advice would be to keep going, sometimes the door opens easily, sometimes it's much harder, but it will open.  If you are keen enough, the repayment for working in this industry is well worth it. Always ask for help when you need it and always remember the importance of teamwork.

What do you think are the most significant barriers for women in our industry, and how can we work together to overcome them?

Women have always had to prove themselves.  Most men tend to be able to just talk themselves up. This means that self confidence is really important. That comes from time and experience, yes, but education, mentoring and supporting other team members are really important tools.  

It certainly took time for me, I had 20 years in the business in a few different areas before we started BlueBolt and all those life experiences were vital in helping me run the company.  

Can you share a book or podcast that has had a significant impact on your professional growth or mindset?

L: BBC's 'This Cultural Life'. I love hearing people's life stories, especially how their childhoods shaped them. Listening about the incredible talents of Sam Mendez, Matthew Bourne or Angelique Kidjo all talking in depth about life and then their careers is inspiring.

Having done a Tedx Talk during covid, it really brought home to me how important our formative years are and how they become integral to how we move through life. And although I was never very good at school, especially if subjects didn’t interest me, I LOVED sport and that taught me dedication and team playing skills which have been crucial to my career in VFX and film.

Book wise, I'm currently entrenched in Elon Musk's autobiography.  A complicated genius of a man. He does not see anything as a barrier.  He is three years younger than me and we briefly went to the same school in Johannesburg, not that I remember him! 

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