• Chalkboard

For The Authentic Project - "On Creative Living: What we’ve learnt in our first 6 months"

Starting From Scratch 

Chalkboard Productions on creative living and what they have learnt in their first 6 months.

They are currently fundraising for their upcoming film project – check out their crowdfunding campaign here: https://igg.me/at/DinnerPartyFilm/x/21871075

As any proud parents will tell you, the first 6 months are the real eye-openers. 

Chalkboard began in December 2018 in a Pret a Manger in Waterloo, it was born out of shared creative desires that we felt passionate about and wanted to give a voice to.

As Chalkboard Productions we not only produce work but also run regular, accessibly priced wellbeing focused workshops for creatives to “check in”. This was incredibly important for us and something we felt was missing in the industry.

In our first 6 months, we commissioned 4 workshops, hosted a staged reading, began pre-production on our first film project and met some incredible and wonderful artists who we are so excited to call part of the Chalkboard Family.

So here are our top tips for anyone starting out and the things we feel have been most important in those early stages:

1) Find your “partner” 

We met at university, over 5 years ago now. We knew instantly we were on the same page and had the same mindset about our work. But the timing wasn’t right until last year for us to work together. However, it was worth the wait. We see our relationship as a “marriage” and much of the key principles of a healthy work relationship and a healthy marriage are the same. It takes commitment, for one! Acceptance is another – find someone who shares your core values and principles but also is unafraid to voice their opinion, even if that contradicts yours. You need to both appreciate and challenge each other to really push your work forward.

2) Identify individual strengths (and use them)

Amy is incredibly talented when it comes to design and social media. She has the artistic eye and the nack. Liv is a dab hand at emails and organisational work. Together we combine to create the key parts of running a creative freelance project. This also allows us to split the workload as evenly as we can depending on our talents and skills. Take time to really identify where your skill set lies and where that can intersect with the others in your team.

3) Zone in

Work out what it is that’s driving you. Be really clear about this and it will save you so much time! We were driven by two key principles – firstly we wanted to create work that reflects the world we inhabit in a playful, daring and open way. Our second principle was to create a communal space for artists to feel good in. Too often – in the current world of online castings, self-tapes and freelance work – artists can be left feeling incredibly lonely. Community is the key to combatting this, so we wanted to become a creative and above all supportive environment for artists to play and grow. Find what it is that’s driving you and really nail down why that is. This will become your mission statement that can help inform all your decisions and discussion – as often creativity is a minefield with far too many options. Having a strong mission statement can help you navigate this easily.

4) Embrace fear

Something that really boosted us into starting Chalkboard was reading “Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. In it, she talks about fear in such an enlightening way. Here’s our favourite quote that sums up how we now try to approach these wobbles:

“Creativity can ONLY coexist alongside Fear...So here’s my magical thinking — I decide every day that I love Creativity enough to accept that Fear will always come along with it. And I talk to Fear all the time, speaking to it with respect, saying to it: “I understand that you are Fear and that your job is to be afraid. And you do your job really well! …But I need you to understand that I will always choose Creativity’s ideas over yours. You may join us on this journey — and I know that you will — but you do not get to choose the direction in which we will walk and you will not stop me and Creativity from making plans and decisions together."

If you haven’t read this book we would highly recommend it!

5) Create connections

Working with and meeting new people is a huge part of our goal as a company. It’s through building connections with other artists we have been able to begin pre-production on our first film – “The Dinner Party”. It’s the most creative and fulfilling way we’ve found to create work. You can see more details here: https://igg.me/at/DinnerPartyFilm/x/21871075.

Chalkboard is a new production company dedicated to storytelling and artist wellbeing co-founded by Olivia Foan and Amy Cotter.

Twitter: @ChalkboardProd1

Instagram: @hellochalkboardproductions


Email: hellochalkboardproduction@gmail.com

Liv trained at The University of Bristol and The Oxford School of Drama. She met Amy at University and has been doggedly pursuing her as a partner in crime ever since.

Amy is currently training at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama after graduating from the University of Bristol. Amy works as an actor and is enjoying embarking upon new producing and writing ventures.

They are currently fundraising for their upcoming film project – check out their crowdfunding campaign here: https://igg.me/at/DinnerPartyFilm/x/21871075