Ella Greenwood of Broken Flames Productions: “To make sure the positives hold a greater weight than the negatives”

To make sure the positives hold a greater weight than the negatives — It’s easy to spend so much more time and energy thinking about rejections as they will most likely come more frequently and are hard to accept, so placing more importance on and focusing on those positive things, the acceptances and achievements, is what’s best. As […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

To make sure the positives hold a greater weight than the negatives — It’s easy to spend so much more time and energy thinking about rejections as they will most likely come more frequently and are hard to accept, so placing more importance on and focusing on those positive things, the acceptances and achievements, is what’s best.


As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ella Greenwood.

Ella is the CEO of Broken Flames Productions, which is building a slate of mental health-based projects. Their latest film ‘Self-Charm’ stars BAFTA Nominee Bukky Bakray and their first short film Faulty Roots is now being developed into a feature film in partnership with Social Impact Agency TerraMedia. Ella is the youngest ambassador for teen mental health charity stem4 and is campaigning for better representation of mental health in the media.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

I grew up in London, England and always loved anything to do with films so started acting at a young age. I was homeschooled from the age of 13 and when I turned 18, I decided to start filmmaking.

Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I absolutely loved books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, etc growing up because I was always drawn to strong female characters where the story followed them finding their power and navigating their way in the world.

How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

To me making a difference is working to change something that you don’t agree with, to something that is more positive. This can be big or small, and even if it makes a difference in a good way to one person, it’s a job well done. For example, if there’s a set or expected way to do something, you don’t have to follow it, if you choose to go the harder way because you believe it will be better then that’s how to start making a difference.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

I’m the CEO of Broken Flames Productions which is building a slate of mental health-based projects. We want to change the representation of mental health in the media and to raise more awareness of mental illness in a more positive and normalized way.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I struggled with my mental health as a young teen and saw such a lack of representation in the media, and also what I did see made me feel more isolated and less likely to reach out for support. I wanted to do what I could to make sure others aren’t in a similar situation and to show with my work that they’re not alone in what they’re going through.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I was so tired of attending countless auditions as an actor and never hearing back, and getting scripts that I really didn’t like, so decided to take back a bit of control and write my own stories. This is what made me start my production company, and I loved getting to share my experiences with mental health which is why I decided to focus on this with my work.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

It sounds simple but building your brand helps so much. No matter what type of organization you want to start, having a name, logo, website and theme to your organization helps bring it all together and make it seem a lot more real.

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

A few years back I saw the wonderful film ‘Rocks’ and attended a Q&A with the cast and crew. I loved the film so much and thought that the lead actress Bukky Bakray was so talented and knew that I wanted to work with her. When writing our latest film ‘Self-Charm’ I thought that Bukky would be perfect for the lead role, so reached out to her and she accepted it! We have now finished shooting and it’s wonderful that I got to make that wish of mine come true. She is also now a BAFTA Nominee which is so well-deserved!

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

I used to always just write ‘We’ instead of ‘I’ to make the company seem bigger. It would literally only be me responding to everything and doing everything as I founded the company alone and have taken on quite a lot of work just myself, but it makes me laugh thinking that it was just little me running it at first. I’ve learnt to not be ashamed of having to do things all by myself and to be proud that I was able to accomplish things on my own.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I’ve been working on my latest film Self-Charm with the amazing producer Karina Michel and it has been so wonderful working with her. She has so much experience in the industry, from being an actress, producer, journalist and Founder of Tallulah Films, she has a lot of knowledge on so many different areas and is just such a lovely and supportive person to work with.

Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I got a lovely message from a teenage girl who said she had watched one of our films ‘Faulty Roots’ and that it brought so much comfort to her. She had always struggled a lot with her mental health and when she saw the film, she said it felt like the first time she had actually been seen. It was such a wonderful message to receive.

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

To be more understanding of those suffering with a mental illness. There’s still such a divide in that it’s not taken anywhere near as seriously as a physical illness and that help is only offered if you’re at your absolute worst. Politicians can help by having more resources available to help those with a mental illness, communities can help by listening and supporting those with a mental illness, and society can help by destigmatizing the view of mental illness.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).

To make sure the positives hold a greater weight than the negatives — It’s easy to spend so much more time and energy thinking about rejections as they will most likely come more frequently and are hard to accept, so placing more importance on and focusing on those positive things, the acceptances and achievements, is what’s best.

To stick to how you want to do things if you believe they will make a positive difference — It can be easy to be influenced by the way others do things and to go down the easy route but sticking to what you believe in will be so much better.

To not change who you are — People can often change their personality depending on who they’re around, or on what they believe others will like most, but I’ve found that if you stay true to who you are, you’ll find the people who matter most. You’ll never be able to please everyone and honestly, I don’t see why you’d want too anyway. Find those people whose opinions you value and make sure you share your true self with them.

To see the humor in everything — Laughter is my favorite thing. Even if you’re in a stressful situation, seeing the light in those moments is what gets you through.

To be able to adapt and to keep looking ahead — There have been a lot of times when things haven’t gone to plan, but I’ve always ended up preferring how they turned out anyway! Being able to keep going and carry on is what’s most important.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I think it’s a lot easier to make a positive impact than you’d assume. If you’re creating, building or sharing something with others than you’re likely to be making an impact on their lives, and this should never be negative, so just focus on what you’re doing and on why you believe in your actions.

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. 🙂

I’d love to have a private breakfast with Emerald Fennell. From being an actress on The Crown, a showrunner on Killing Eve and now an Academy Nominee for Promising Young Women, she’s done such a variety of amazing things and it would be so interesting to hear all about them and how she navigates working on these different projects in different roles.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram — @popsella

Twitter — @ella_greenwood

Website — www.ellagreenwood.com

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//

Ella Greenwood of Broken Flames Productions: “Knowing that no feeling lasts forever”

by Ben Ari
Community//

Ella Greenwood of Broken Flames Productions: “Not giving up is the most important thing you can do”

by Karina Michel Feld
Ella Mills, Founder of Deliciously Ella
Community//

Enjoying The Simplest Things Is The Most Sustainable Path To Wellness

by Danielle Brooker
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.