Community//

Elizabeth Blake-Thomas: “Be kind to yourself”

I think there should be a fund for smaller studios so that instead of one movie costing over 30 million, a million could be pledged to a company like mine that could make three or four smaller projects employing people that really need work and want to learn.The indie film industry should be given more […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

I think there should be a fund for smaller studios so that instead of one movie costing over 30 million, a million could be pledged to a company like mine that could make three or four smaller projects employing people that really need work and want to learn.

The indie film industry should be given more support to create. Unless you’re a major studio you don’t really get noticed.

Instead of so many smaller groups of people, if we all worked together then we could really be a loud voice in the entertainment industry.


Aspart of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Blake-Thomas.

Director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas is a British award-winning filmmaker and philanthropist based in Los Angeles, having recently completed her 8th feature film. Her latest feature Evie Rose, starring Oscar-nominated actress Terry Moore, follows the heartwarming story of an unusual friendship during the final days of a 100-year-old woman’s life. Elizabeth is the founder and resident director of entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, whose motto is “Making Content That Matters”, putting focus on each project starting a conversation amongst viewers. Her most recent project, Project Phoenix, is a campaign to help support struggling crew members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Official Ambassador of Awareness Ties for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth hopes to raise more awareness to the horrific nature of human trafficking and help put a stop to it. Her award-winning short film UNSEEN, which addresses the role technology plays in the facilitation of child trafficking, was awarded “Best Short Film” by Film Threat’s Award This! and is currently available on all platforms. Being a female director, Elizabeth strives to make projects with at least a 50/50 female cast and crew. A regular on panels at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, Elizabeth mentors wherever possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female directors and filmmakers.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ibelieve some of us are born into a specific career path even before we know it. I’ve always been a teacher at heart, whether I was setting up a theatre school aged 16, homeschooling my daughter or running a film set. I simply love that act of teaching, mentoring and sharing my knowledge. There are so many careers that enable this. Throughout my life, I have just wanted to share everything I’ve ever done. I also love learning, so I surround myself with people that are much better than me at everything. This keeps me inspired and motivated to constantly elevate myself every day.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

I am lucky enough to get to work with my daughter through our company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, and because of this, everyone involved in the company feels like family. We are unconventional and believe in taking opportunities when they arise and pivoting whenever necessary. We are constantly growing and developing. Every day is exciting and leads to something new. I think that’s what’s most interesting. We have a plan, but this plan is constantly changing and adapting to the current situation.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t consider anything I’ve ever done as a mistake. If I hadn’t done what I had done, I wouldn’t be who I am now doing what I’m doing. If I’d listened to advice that said I shouldn’t do things, I wouldn’t have learned what I know now. It’s important to follow your gut. You can listen and learn from other people, but no one is on the same journey. You need to learn from everything you’re doing. It’s your “movie” and only you can play you!

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Our latest work Project Phoenix was set up as a subsidiary of Mother & Daughter Entertainment. Our company mantra is “making content that matters”, so I try to ensure that every piece we make has a social message of some sorts. Project Phoenix is a campaign for people to pledge in order to provide over 350 paid jobs to the creative freelancers that are currently out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on dealing with the current social climate we are in, with the potential to grow and continue long after the pandemic has ended. The funds of Project Phoenix will employ hundreds of creatives to make 8 features, not only ensuring people’s jobs but also hope and a purpose. More on this impactful campaign can be seen here:

https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/projectphoenix

Project Phoenix is a co-pro with Seed & Spark and Cinematcher, both also run by a couple of amazingly strong women.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

There are a lot of people who have been part of my “work family”. I believe every single one of them has learned something, either about themselves or what they want in life. To me the work/life balance is important, and I want everyone to love coming to work for me and feel motivated. I like everyone to feel they have something to gain. The more they put in, the more they get out. My executive assistant is incredible, and she bit the bullet and gave up her “normal jobs” in society to come work for me. I think and hope this has changed her life and given, and will continue to give, her amazing opportunities.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

I think there should be a fund for smaller studios so that instead of one movie costing over 30 million, a million could be pledged to a company like mine that could make three or four smaller projects employing people that really need work and want to learn.

The indie film industry should be given more support to create. Unless you’re a major studio you don’t really get noticed.

Instead of so many smaller groups of people, if we all worked together then we could really be a loud voice in the entertainment industry.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I believe it’s actually about taking a step back and letting others take the lead. That’s true leadership to me. I have the ideas and let other people run with them. I man the ship, but don’t need to steer it. It’s important to not have an ego as well. That can get in the way of everything. Also delegating. I enjoy giving people opportunities. If they say they don’t know how to do something, then I say let’s learn. There are no mistakes. Let’s just all do the best we can. We are all winging it!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. That you will have each decade to try something new. It doesn’t matter if you change your mind in life, you can try and do as many things as you want to. I enjoy all sorts of creativity and that’s ok.
  2. Don’t purchase the things you think you will need, because you won’t! I live on a boat now and really don’t need anything. It makes life simpler and cheaper.
  3. Study Kabbalah. I wish I’d known this as a child. It’s the most wonderful spiritual practice. It’s helped me stay grounded and understand who I am.
  4. Start in your chosen industry as early as you can. This way you can start to build those contacts ASAP. Everyone becomes a contact and you can probably help them in the future.
  5. Read, read and read. Don’t worry if you don’t like something at school. Eventually, you might. Don’t sweat that small stuff at school, you can always learn it later in life. But read and read and read and keep learning!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Mini studios. Where I can have people making films in the real world. Getting paid, but all at an affordable budget, and giving people opportunities to start somewhere. An academy for grownups. Using the same framework as the big studios for production but on a much smaller scale. You don’t need millions of dollars to run a film set and make quality content. I have so many ideas within this that I know can work. I just need that person with the funding to believe in it and it would be hugely successful, especially with how the industry is set to change following this pandemic.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Be kind to yourself.

Our world moves at such a fast pace we are all bound to have missteps. None of us really know what we are doing, so whatever happens: Be kind to yourself!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Jeff Bezos and Alice Walton. I believe they could both help me set up my mini studios! Creating quality content with smaller-scale production teams is my forte as an indie filmmaker. All I need is the funding to make it a reality for so many struggling freelancers needing work!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

My Personal:

  • Facebook: @elizabethblakethomas
  • Instagram: @elizabeth_b_t
  • Twitter: @Elizabeth_B_T

Mother & Daughter Entertainment:

  • Facebook: @motheranddaughterent
  • Instagram: @motheranddaughterent
  • Twitter: @M_D_Ent

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas: “I actually think you should burn out” with Marco Derhy

by Marco Derhy
Community//

Isabella Blake Thomas: “Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”

by Ben Ari
Community//

Surviving Corona: Kelsey Blake

by Firuzan Mistry

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.