INTERVIEW: Screen Queens
The Screen Queens blog is created and written by young women and members of the LGBT community. A safe space to critically discuss film & TV old and new, with a strong focus on the exposure of women-centric and women-made films.
When I heard that Screen Queens were branching into the podcasting space, I was all about it! I am an avid podcast listener. Commuting on the train everyday to work, what else is there to do but tune in for hours and hours of podcast chatter? Honestly I don't know how I would manage without it and as you would rightly expect a lot of the podcasts I obsess over are movie themed.
Millicent Thomas, co-host of the SQ podcast took some time to talk with me about how the podcast came to fruition. We talk about the representation of women in film, not always agreeing with your podcast co-host and having a dinner party with the X-Men.
Watch/Read the interview below.
SQ Podcast is the new little sister to online magazine Screen Queens. Talking all things film, the women in them and the women who make them.
Hosted by Millicent Thomas & Megan Wilson.
AD: Today I am joined by a special guest from Manchester. She is a film writer and film podcaster and just all around film lover, it's Millicent Thomas. Thank you so much for joining me
MT: Hi, thank you for having me
AD: Really excited to have you. So Millicent is one part of the Podcasting duo Screen Queens with co-host Megan Wilson. Screen Queens is a Podcast which talks all about film the women in them and the women who make them. Which is an awesome mission statement, I am all about that, that is so cool. Millicent, I'd love to talk about the podcast and how all of that came about today but first why don't you tell me a little bit about your background in film and how you all got started.
MT: Ok, I've always loved movies like a lot of film writers and creators they just start with being obsessed with films when they're a kid and I think when I was about 14, this is a turning point that I remember vividly, it's Drive the film by Nicholas Winding Refen. I became obsessed with that because I didn't know cinema could just be colour and stuff like that. I remember going and watching Jumanji and big stories but when a film is that arty. I was just really impressed and I got obsessed with it. And then from that I went to college and did film studies and media studies and all that and then I pursued acting for a few years. I always wanted to be in films mainly, for the past years I've been pursuing that, I've been auditioning for drama schools. I've been mainly doing theatre and stuff. But then in the past, literally the past two months I've had a huge epiphany and realised I love talking and watching movies rather then trying to be in them.
So I've been writing for Screen Queens for a while, about a year, just for fun on the side and then I asked for a bit more responsibility on the website, so I wrote more often. The editor Chloe who's amazing, she asked if I'd like to take over the twitter account and stuff so I got a lot more involved in it. And then I applied for university and in September I'll be starting in film studies and publishing at Bath. So yeah, I just love movies and I've been travelling all the different avenues trying to find my place in it all.
AD: Sounds like you've dabbled in a little bit of all of it. Do you think that you'll continue your acting as well or have you kind of moved away from that
MT: Well I've struggled a bit leaving it. I was obsessed because it's all I've wanted since I was 3 or 4, I wanted to be at the BAFTRS and the OSCARS and all that. I'd obsessively watch B-Rolls to be like, 'ok that's what set-life is like.' I'm so ready. but every since changing this avenue to film journalism and writing more I've just become to happy, I didn't know I could be this happy doing this. So I've still got my agent, she said she'll keep me while I'm at uni and maybe if I want to come back to it, But I'm honestly thinking I'm really happy just pursuing this. It's nice to have that foundation there, I took classes and everything and I know I can do it if I ever want to go back to it. But at the moment I'm really happy talking about films with people.
AD: Well it seems like you are growing quite a community online of people who are loving talking about movies with you as well. So can you talk a little bit about the Screen Queens Blog because you've been writing for them for how long? And yes I know they're a really amazing female-centric blog and they publish really awesome articles, I've been following along with them for a while
MT: Brilliant. Well I started writing for them properly last August so they've been going for 5 years this November and I used to have a film blog when I was about 15 and Chloe asked to chat to me about it for a segment she was starting called 'talk to the internet.' So she talked to me for the site in about 2015 and then we just stayed friends since then. I had to delete my blog when I changed my email because it just dissapeared, I wanted a more professional email and it deleted everything...I know it's awful...
AD: Lost to the internet archives!
MT: I know! I wish I would have saved the reviews
MT: But it's in my heart! ...So we got talking and I just I really miss writing and she said why don't you just come and write for Screen Queens and I was oh my gosh, please, thank you! So she added me to this facebook group where all the girls who write for Screen Queens just talk amongst themselves and suggest articles and the community I've met since joining last August has been amazing. Some brilliant young women from all parts of the globe. We have writers in the US, the UK, Hungary. We have a wonderful girl from there it's crazy the breadth of community we've built and so I've been writing for them since August and the podcast came about recently
AD: And the podcast is super exciting. Is that your little baby?
MT: Yes, I love it so much. I nurture it and take care of it. On the twitter accounts I'm always drafting tweets and checking people are liking us and everything
AD: So you have a co-host for the podcast, it's Megan Wilson and she is currently based in the USA is that right?
MT: Yes, she's doing her study abroad there. She attends Kings College doing film studies
AD: How is that doing a podcast with a co-host who is in another country?
MT: Honestly I thought it was going to be really really difficult but it's been totally fine. We've got a bit high tech with all the different apps we're using to get the audio right and just checking the time differences so making sure we're ready to record at the same time as each other because it might be daytime for her when it's evening for me. So just just aligning that. We record the audio separately and I just overlap them and it's all good to go, it's really great because there's different films out in America at different times as well - so she can talk about other things that I won't be able to over here
AD: Smart, so you can cover both film markets at the same time. I know that's definitely a huge thing in the film reviewing world is that it's so difficult. The internet is so global when you're talking about movies but the film releases are still sectioned by country so that can be really frustrating when things haven't come out yet.
MT: I remember Lady Bird came out in November in America and we got it in February. That was awful
AD: Same! Same as Australia oh my gosh
MT: Did you guys get it quite late as well?
AD: February. Exactly the same. So it must have been an American release because it's their home country and then the rest of the world got it later. So the podcast it's a new creation, your new baby but it seems it's gone off to a really awesome start. How has the reception been so far for it?
MT: It's been really great actually. We weren't expecting it at all I don't think so I set up the twitter account and went to see who follows Screen Queens account because we have about 800 followers there and I thought if I could get some of their following for us because it is a side project essentially of Screen Queens, it's under their name. So we've tried to get in touch with all the different people who follow them and see if they'd be interested in listening to us. Our friends have been really great as well because Megan studies film so she's got all of her friends in her course to listen to it and follow and the involvement's been kind of crazy if you just use the right hashtag people will just comment on what you're saying and they'll always have something to say, it's brilliant
AD: We said that the podcast really focuses on a female point of view, so you're both females co-hosts and the content your talking about all types of movies but your try and take that female lens to it and look at the female characters and female directors and that kind of thing, has that been a really conscious effort as you've been putting together what your discussion points are?
MT: Yes definitely. Because we are taking the whole Screen Queens mission statement and bringing it to us, we want to make sure that if we're talking about a film or analysing if there's women behind the camera, if the women in front of the camera are represented well. I did want it to be just us talking about films at the end of the day. So if there is a film that's come out that maybe doesn't have that many female characters in it, I don't want us to feel like we can't talk about it at all if it was brilliant. But it's always nice at the end of a discussion to just say look, was there some great representation here that needs mentioning or in the future should they change things. So we just did the episode on the Women of Marvel and that was really great because it was a broad broad idea we could talk about 18 films in that and I love love Marvel. So being about to chat about it but also bring a slight criticism and analysis to it was really interesting.
AD: Nice, really nice. And do you and Megan agree on everything or do you have different points of view on things?
MT: I think it would be so boring if we agreed on everything. So far I think we've had very similar opinions, we like the same things and that's why we get along and we're friends but in the future I think there will be clashes. Especially when she finally sees Infinity War which I think she's seeing today and I saw it last night, I think she'll have a lot to say. But yeah, I do hope we don't agree on everything forever because I think that would be really boring for us and our listeners to be honest
AD: Awesome well I have one final fun question that I would love to finish up with and this is - if you could hang out with any movie character alive or who has died an on-screen death, who would you like to hang out with?
MT: I was thinking about this after your email. Can I pick a group of people that's under one name. Would that work? I couldn't just pick one
AD: Oooo, I'm going to allow it.
MT: Haha thank you. Ok so I would want a huge dinner party with all of the X-Men in Xavier's mansion. That's what I would want and then we'd party right after
AD: That is a great great answer! It's kind of cheating, I'm not going to lie you did cheat but I like it! I really like. In fact actually that reminds me, your twitter bio, you have the best... no no that's not it, you know the one I'm talking about when you talk about X-Men
MT: Is it my staff profile on Screen Queens I think I mention... yeah
AD: Yes! Do you know what it is? Can you read it?
MT: I don't think it's a written rule but all of us seem to include a witty quote in our bio and I think mine is: "her hobbies include theatre, museums and waiting for Charles Xavier to show up and tell her she's the worlds most powerful mutant." Because that's what he does to Jean Grey and I want him to just knock on the door and Magneto and Charles just be standing there like ok "you're a powerful mutant, you have to come with us to school." I'm like "ok!"
AD: One day it will happen. I believe
MT: One day...well if you've seen Logan you know that it probably won't but...
AD: I have seen Logan
MT: I'm just going to go away and cry about this to think about Logan
AD: Awesome, Millicent thank you so much for having a chat with me today, it was really fun. Tell everybody who is listening or reading the notes afterwards where they can find you and where they can find more from Screen Queens
MT: Ok if they want to read some amazing articles by some amazing young women, head to screen-queens.com/ for the website and then after that if you'd like to listen to me and Megan talk about movies you find us on twitter @sqpodcast and on Apple iTunes and Soundcloud just search the Screen Queens podcast and you'll find us.
Listen to the SQ Podcast https://soundcloud.com/user-942197709