Sister Motion is a production agency working to address the gender imbalance in the production industry but actively championing and mentoring women and underrepresented talent.

The Jobs Foundation talked to director Nicky Woodhouse and producer Claire Brown about their career journeys and how they made our launch film.

We love working with people. At Sister Motion, we do a mix of branded content, films and TV commercials, and we also like to use real people because there are so many interesting people out there with great stories.

The brief for the Jobs Foundation launch film was perfect for us. It’s about real people who love their job, and it makes heroes of everyday people who work hard to support their families. Both Joe and Joanne had to fight for their place in some way and they have each come a long way to do the work and live the life they have now. You might not be headlining Glastonbury in your job, but you can have pride and pleasure and passion in what you do.

We worked with the employers – in this case Reidsteel and Europa – who sent us details of people in their teams who were interested in taking part. We sent questionnaires and had lots of phone calls and eventually found that Joanne and Joe had stories that had a lot of hope. There’s not just one set route to a particular role, and both Joe and Joanne are proof that with the right boss and plenty of determination they could get to where they wanted to be despite a rocky start.

This film took us to lots of different places. We went to Devon, Oxford, Leicester, Sheffield, London, Dartford. It’s not a glamorous life on the road. We arrived in one place after 11pm and knew we had to get up at 5am. Then, when we got up early the next morning, the sky was too cloudy for the filming so we had to wait a couple of hours until the sun came out. There’s a lot of unpredictability in this job, so we plan very carefully but we have to be ready for anything. You always have to have contingency plans for rain, and it’s very different filming during the winter when the days are shorter and there isn’t as much light.

We have a collective of talent to tap into consisting of 200 people and growing daily. Every film is different so we bring in the skills and the styles we need for each one. The Director of Photography role is crucial, and it’s important we can work really well with that person, so we have a few people we might go to for help with that depending on the brief for the film. We don’t want all of our films to look the same.

We both always wanted to work in TV and films. Nicky watched programmes like TFI Friday in the 90s where the cameras showed the audience behind the scenes and everyone looked as though they were having a lot of fun so she wanted to do that. From the age of ten, she wrote to The Holiday Programme as a child with ideas for shows! Having trained at Bournemouth University on a media course, she went into TV for seven years but this was the time when it was a very toxic environment and it wasn’t as pleasant as it had appeared.

Claire made lots of cups of tea for people until she started being given production work in broadcast, and worked in films and drama as well as documentaries. With longer documentaries, you become very familiar with someone’s life and spend a lot of time with them and that isn’t always easy to do for a long time, so when she saw Nicky’s work as a storyteller she knew she wanted to work with her.

We are really happy with the Jobs Foundation film. It has made us think about the different jobs people do and how something that one person finds boring might be something that another person gets a lot of pleasure from. Jobs are the foundation of our society and everyone contributes to something and does their best, which makes for a holistic and fully functioning society.

A lot of people don’t realise that they have a story, but we believe the opposite. Everyone’s got a story, and we like to help people find theirs.