Film distribution professional Delphine Lievens

Having moved from theatrical sales executive to box office analyst, Delphine was keen to then further progress her career and network more.

This is why she decided to do the Bird’s Eye View Future Leaders in Distribution training from September last year. Former colleagues at Altitude, Emily Compton and Lia Devlin, had already done the course and found it hugely beneficial, both gaining promotions, so were very encouraging.

“They also told me it had given them a great network of contacts, which really appealed, because since moving out of a distribution company into a service one, you sometimes feel out of the loop,” explains Delphine.

 Future leaders in distribution is a training programme for women (including those that identify as women across the spectrum) with 7+ years of film distribution experience who have the ambition to run/own a distribution business or operate at a higher executive level.

The course is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI and lasts four months. It is designed to fit into a full-time work schedule and comprises 13 sessions involving workshops, group sessions, panels, peer networking, mentoring and business coaching.

“My business coach was Averil Leimon (founder of leadership consultancy White Water Group) who was incredibly helpful as I didn’t really understand how management works at the professional level,” says Delphine. “She doesn’t work in the industry, but with big corporations, so was well placed to give me tips and talk through the style of management I wanted to use and how I saw myself as a manager. She was more like a psychologist.”

This proved fortuitous as towards the end of the course Delphine was promoted at Gower Street Analytics, where she had become a box office analyst in 2018 after working as a theatrical sales executive at Altitude Film Distribution. She found herself managing a junior member of staff, so was able to put what she’d learned into practice.

Delphine’s mentor during the course, Ed Fletcher, former managing director of Soda Pictures, also proved helpful and supportive, both as a sounding board and to give advice on Delphine’s career and where it was going.

But it was the networking sessions with other women that Delphine enjoyed the most. “We were not in competition with each other, just sharing our experiences and thoughts on issues affecting women and diversity in the industry in an honest environment. We bonded very quickly and are now not just networking acquaintances, but friends,” enthuses Delphine.

One area of the course she was initially dismissive of was the workshops where they discussed things like voice coaching and dealing with different personality types. But she soon found these very useful too; as much so as the career assistance and developing leadership skills. “Some of the techniques I learned, I’ve already put into practice in the workplace,” she insists.

Having finished the course in February, Delphine feels she is now better prepared for her senior role at Gower Street Analytics. “Without the course, I’m not sure I’d have been ready. On the career front it got me ready for management and leadership, and on a personal level it improved my confidence and self-belief, equipping me to take the promotion in January and run with it,” she concludes.

Delphine’s tips for those starting in her profession…

"Let your passion for film shine through, and to be willing to give anything a try! It’s a difficult industry to get into but if you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about film then you’ve got the skills you need to succeed and any film company should be pleased to have you!"

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