MoneyTalk With Tiffany Black, Diversifying The Film Industry
In this Interview series, we feature amazing and inspiring women who are willing to talk about money. Our goal is to break the taboo around money, share experiences and learn from our community. See more examples here.
Hello Tiffany! Welcome to Vestpod. We are so excited to feature you. It has been a pleasure meeting you at the Table event. Such a brilliant idea!
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you so much! I’m a Writer/Director and the founder of The table, an events and networking company, which aims to diversify the film industry. The name is based on the phrase, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, build your own.” It gives those wanting to move into the film and TV industry the chance to take a seat, find mentors and collaborators. In particular it provides a platform from which women and people of colour can launch their careers.
On a more personal note, I also consider myself a pastry aficionado and (very) amateur roller-skater.
What inspired you to launch The table?
I’ve always loved movies and moviemaking, but felt increasingly frustrated by the lack of diversity in film and TV; only 4% of the top 100 grossing films are directed by women and only 1.3 out of 10 film directors are people of colour, and that’s just behind the camera. The kinds of people being given the privilege to make movies are still only a very select few. I decided to stop waiting for someone else to create the kind of company I wanted to join, and founded The table.
The table is a short cut into the industry, by connecting young voices with established industry professionals willing to pave the way for younger generations to diversify the film world. It also provides young filmmakers with a community and a system of mentors to help navigate a difficult landscape where hierarchy and invisible career ladders abound. We also feature white, male industry professionals because I strongly believe we need more mentors and male allies in the decision making rooms, backing young, diverse talent.
What are you passionate about?
So many things! Storytelling, food, good conversation, women supporting each other, music, honesty, openness. Anything that gives me goosebumps basically.
What was the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
One of the things I’ve learnt working in production is how to navigate complex personalities whilst staying true to myself. And that bringing good energy and a sense of humour to work goes a long way.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
Relationship is a good word for it. It’s something I’m still working on. Monzo has been a great way to keep track of my spending. Getting into the habit of transferring money to my ISA every month is also an important aspect of my financial planning. I think money is a little ludicrous: it’s not water or food, and yet it’s a resource that completely dictates our lives. I’d love to look further into investing now that I’ve reached a financially secure point in my life.
What does financial independence mean to you?
Very simply it means knowing everything about the less glamorous side of financial admin – taxes, pensions, repaying my student loan. One summer I promised myself that with my first real pay cheque I’d buy myself a ring. A really beautiful, more than I would normally spend on one object kind of ring. And it would be like a promise ring to myself, to always have independence from my parents, debts or anything else that could make me feel financially unstable.
What do you indulge in?
Good food, books, presents for people I love (I’m real good at presents) candles, Jo Malone perfume, and coffee – I accidentally became a coffee snob whilst living in Australia.
What is the best financial decision you have ever made? And what is the greatest long term investment?
Spending money on a solo trip to New York is the best financial gift I ever gave myself. I got my mojo back in that city and absolutely fell in love with it. I’d say the greatest long-term investment I’ve made is in The table. All the set up costs and the risk involved; from bigger things like the venue or paying for travel to individual letters thanking guests for attending. (I’m pretty old fashioned and a big believer in snail mail!).
Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”?
Definitely! One summer, I maxed out my overdraft and was only just keeping it together with babysitting jobs and pub work. My parents live in Australia, so to a certain extent financial independence came pretty early for me. I rang up my bank to extend my loan and they flat out refused. I remember crying when I hung up and I promised I’d never put myself in that position again. It was scary, humiliating and hard, but a good lesson learned.
What is Vestpod for you?
A goddamn brilliant concept! I can’t wait to attend the Intro to Investing talk. One of the events we run at The table is a “Show me the Money Night” all about demystifying money; talking about how to get paid for freelance work or ask for a raise in the creative industries. People are so awkward about money and they shouldn’t be, it’s just a resource, like stationary or snacks. We should ask for a raise in the same breath we complain the office has run out of cereal.
Favourite book & podcast?
Favourite book is a tough one, you’re talking to an English Literature graduate here. I recently read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and was so unbelievably moved by it, I had to get off a crowded train so I could weep openly on a park bench instead…! Eggshell Skull by the Australian writer, Bri Lee is also a fascinating non-fiction work detailing her experiences as a Judges associate overseeing sexual harassment and assault cases, and then eventually having her own assault case put to trial.
Podcast – also another tough one. The Cut makes great content on topical feminist issues, like pubic hair or likeability in politics but the Director’s Guild or Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith always give me a great snapshot of behind the scenes movie anecdotes.
Where can we find you?
The table on Instagram: welcometothetable__
Or our Website : www.welcome2thetable.com
My personal account tiffanyblack__
My film work: https://vimeo.com/tiffanyblack
Christina & Emilie