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We continue our Guest Blog series on ‘Working in 2020’, speaking to our industry friends about how Covid has affected working life across the Film, TV, and Advertising industry.

We chatted with Francesca Zerenghi, founder of Cinegirl; a digital magazine aimed at empowering women working within the film and tv industry.

Tell us a little about your background and why you started Cinegirl
After returning back from Singapore and Dubai, where I lived for numerous years, while successfully running a consulting company, I decided to step away from the corporate world and embark in my true passion: the world of the arts.
The combination of freelance work as a Cinematographer and years of corporate management,  sparked the idea of Cinegirl. I felt that something needed to be done about the fact that women often found it harder to achieve their dream than men – appearing to be caused by a difference in way of behaving and confidence instead of a superior skill set. The notion that men were employed on their potential and women not, somehow had to be changed.
What were your plans for the year and how has Covid affected them? 
Our plan for the year was to continue what we always do, building a strong community connecting incredibly talented women working across various departments in the film and tv industry. We have been very lucky to have such a supportive community and with lockdown and everyone at home…well, our readership has increased. This is of course, good news, however we also appreciate and understand the problems and incredible difficulties everyone was facing during the first lockdown.
Were you able to continue working during lockdown? How have things been since?
Yes, all of our work is done remotely, as our publication is digital, so little has changed in all honestly. Again, as everyone else work slowed down, we have been overwhelmed with applications from new contributors.  We of course missed interviewing people face to face but we did quickly adapt to the online alternatives. However, Photo shoots have suffered. Most desirable locations, were unfortunately closed, thus making our location choices harder. Outdoors shooting is an option, of course, but we are a little bit fussy with our locations (cheeky grin).
In your experience, how is the industry overcoming the boundaries put in place by Covid?
I’ve had the privilege of catching up already with some people within the industry and everyone seems to be experiencing government restrictions in different ways. Some people are very busy working, whilst others are struggling. I think, working and following the APA guidelines is very difficult and costly and smaller productions would suffer as a consequence. Cinegirl is a publication, and all our collaborators were working remotely ahead of lockdown anyway, thus little has changed for us.
Do you have any new plans for the magazine? Has it shifted your focus?
We have some exciting plans indeed. Yes. As you may know already, we have launched the Cinegirl Podcast during Lockdown. We have some incredible new episodes coming up which we are so thrilled be sharing with our community. We have also started launching online workshops for people working in the industry. We’ve realised that during these difficult times, enrolling onto a specialised course or gaining work experience can be difficult, thus, we are addressing this by offering courses that hopefully can help people develop the confidence and knowledge to progress with their careers. For example, one of our latest workshops was aimed at Camera Trainees looking to step-up as Clapper Loaders (2nd AC). This was incredibly successful. Similar workshops will be rolled out over the next coming weeks across other key-areas in the industry.
Have you done anything differently work wise in lockdown 2?
I have probably been eating more chocolate than usual! Ahah!
What positives have come from lockdown and our ‘new normal’
Personally, I think that there was nothing normal about pre-covid. We were all running around like crazy. A lot of irrational decisions being made. Environmental pollution was out of control, people were placing their health after their jobs and family time was rare. I feel like now, because of Covid, we are refocusing our priorities. I really hope these positive changes can be maintained when and if we can return to non-socially distanced reality.
More info on Cinegirl can be found here:
Follow them on @cinegirlmag
Tune in to listen the Cinegirl Podcast here:  https://www.cinegirl.net/cinegirl-podcast