Create a story 'that excites you' says Film Competition judge Stan McCoy

Posted on 20 April 2021

Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association EMEA, is one of the Childnet Film Competition judges again this year.

Schools and youth groups across the UK have until Tuesday 1st June to create a short film or storyboard which impresses Stan and his fellow judges.

Here, he explains why he loves the film industry - and provides his top tip for budding filmmakers…

  1. Stan, please can you tell us a bit about the MPA?
    The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is the leading advocate of the film, television, and streaming industry around the world. Our members are Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. One of the key missions of the MPA is to champion legal protection of creative works. This way our members can continue to make the films and TV series that you enjoy watching. We very often work with film makers and creative communities in pursuit of common interests, such as the reduction of online piracy, which harms the millions of women and men working in the wider creative sector.
  2. What do you like most about your job?
    For me, it is an honour to do a job where I can support creators from script to screen, and champion the economic and cultural power of film and television to communities around the EMEA region. I also tremendously enjoy working with such a diverse team as they all bring their own unique perspectives and creative visions to the mission, which enlivens our team. I am also very fortunate as no two days look the same – some days I work with Government officials and other days with law enforcement professionals. It is quite an exciting job and I am passionate about promoting and protecting the commercial and creative interests of screen communities in the digital age.
  3. What was it that made you want to go into this industry?
    I think as a society we value stories – stories we tell about ourselves, our communities and our history; they are what helps us understand our past, and to imagine a future. The magic of connecting with people through storytelling is why I wanted to go into the film industry and why I still love it today.
    For example, one of my all-time favourite films is The Wizard of Oz. In 1939 it was one of the first great special effects films, as well as one of the first popular films to be produced in colour – in fact they adapted the novel to make Dorothy’s shoes red specially for it. I see so many echoes of that film in modern cinema. A hundred years before JK Rowling gave us the story of Harry Potter, Frank Baum gave us the story of Dorothy. And the magic of those stories forms part of our culture.
  4. What top tip would you give to a budding filmmaker reading this?
    Write the story that you want to write. It sounds obvious, but the temptation is to try and write what you think producers or other people will want. In reality, the story that will be the most authentic is the one you want to write. You can see the passion, excitement and curiosity within artists’ work, so pursue the things that excite you because that will always translate to the audience.
  5. Can you describe the first time you saw a film at the cinema? 
    I remember standing in line to see the original Star Wars in 1977, at the age of six. I remember an x-wing fighter on display outside the cinema. It must have been cardboard, but I was very impressed. A few years later we got a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) – the old kind with dials and a pop-top – and a copy of Star Wars on VHS. I must have watched it a hundred times. I’ve been hooked for life, including loving The Mandalorian on Disney+ a few months ago.
  • The Film Competition 2021 judges will be looking for films that stick to the theme and those which contain a positive and clear message. Only films and storyboards closest to this will be shortlisted. Film entries will be judged on the strength of message, creativity and delivery, and not about having the latest equipment or technology. The Childnet Film Competition is all about content and the creative filmmaking.
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