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Cara Scott: "Shedding Titles, Challenging the Norm, and Building Community"


Founder and creative director of Other Half, Cara Scott, tells LBB about moving from production into creative direction, the slowly dissolving ‘boys’ club’ culture, and what’s on the company’s radar for 2023

Cara Scott: "Shedding Titles, Challenging the Norm, and Building Community"

It may be 2023 but the number of women-founded and led companies in our industry remains low. Cara Scott - founder and creative director of creative studio Other Half - has witnessed a shift in recent years seeing more women than ever leading the way. While a ‘boys’ club’ mentality still has a grip on the industry, more women are taking charge and leaving an indelible mark, says Cara.  

The jump from production (where Cara started out) to creative direction was a natural evolution for her. With a background in dance and a mother with a keen eye for interior design, Cara has been surrounded by creativity, learning how to express her own from an early age. This creative impulse first took Cara to a career in dance, followed by production, extensive editorial work, and directing on a range of creatively experimental projects. Founding Other Half in 2020 was her way to coalesce these creative threads and lean into what she loves: working with artists and brands that have vision and take risks.

In just two years, Other Half has produced videos for the likes of Arca, 5 Seconds of Summer, and blackbear; they’ve also worked with brands like Coach, Mackage, and Ferrari. Cara is always keen to get involved in projects where the artist’s vision is paramount, like the recent work for New Magazine and Perfect Magazine. 

Today, LBB sat down with Cara to find out what drives her, what it was like to work with Emma Chamberlain on her podcast promo for Spotify, and what’s in store for Other Half in 2023, starting with a purposeful website relaunch. 

LBB> You have quite a varied career history, starting with dance, then production and now you’re a founder and creative director of Other Half. How much of a jump did you feel between production and creative direction?

Cara> Honestly, it felt more like a natural evolution than a big leap. I always identified as a creative. I used to be a dancer, that was my creative outlet and how I learned to express myself at a young age. I fell into production and unexpectedly found my way, kind of full circle, when I started doing more art direction and directing. With Other Half, I don't like identifying as a creative director - it’s not about titles - the essence of my role is leading the company and overseeing everything we put our thumbprint on. If it’s the right fit, I’ll take the opportunity to direct but, if not, I support other artists in my circle and collaborate with new ones along the way. Helping them gain new opportunities through this platform we're building is important to me as a female leader in this industry. On set, we all have to learn how to collaborate, come up with creative solutions, and remain nimble. So it didn't really feel much like a transition, it was more about finding my home.

LBB> Creative direction requires a sharp eye. Who or what has influenced your vision?

Cara> I didn't come from the traditional training a lot of creative directors have which is why I sort of veer away from the title. I try to consume art in all formats, whether that be watching films, reading books, visiting museums, dance performances, or going to concerts and the theatre. This fusion of formats helps me see how an artist's eye translates and presents a POV, a story, and a message. I remember learning interior design from my mother; she was a history teacher, but loved tinkering with design at home. She was obsessed with interior design and always said it was a calling she never ended up following. I learned from a young age to hone in on what interested me and I believe it’s the mosaic of experiences you gather along the way that forms your own path. 

Work for New magazine

LBB> You’re the founder of Other Half in an industry that’s still quite male-dominated. How have you seen the industry change with regards to gender equality from when you first entered it to now?

Cara> I’ve definitely noticed a change. And I think it was harder when I was a producer working my way up. Even as a founder of a company, there are certain inequalities and challenges we still face. Although I have seen progress, there's still a ways to go. It’s also about finding the right communities; it’s amazing how supportive women are of one another. I've reached out and connected with a lot of female-owned companies in the industry and it’s a far more nurturing and supportive community than a competitive one. 

I've certainly felt the boys’ club aspect. I mean, I grew up with two older brothers and I've always felt close to a lot of incredible men in my life. But there’s a certain boys’ club camaraderie they have, which I suspect feels insular and protected for them! I’ve learned it’s important to let your voice be heard and not shy away from pushing for the respect you deserve. I, like many women, faced challenges with this when part of on-the ground productions. At Other Half, we always try to hire with diversity in mind. In my past experiences, many roles are gender-stereotyped leaving very few women in certain roles. When I’ve stepped into the director role, I’ve often been leading male dominated crews and am pushing to challenge that with each new project.

LBB> You recently worked on a spot for Spotify to promote Emma Chamberlain’s podcast. Tell us a little bit about that project and how you made it come to life.

Cara> Working with Spotify was a great collaboration between different departments. This was a major announcement for Emma and Spotify and our task was to thread the needle so all parties got what they were looking for. For Emma, we recognised it was important to let her personable and authentic self shine through. For Spotify, it was a huge announcement with a major talent coming to their platform. We worked hand in hand with Spotify’s creative and marketing departments and Emma’s team to ensure great communication and collaboration on set. Emma and her team understand who she is as a brand and how it's built on her persona. She’s instinctive and focused on ensuring her audience gets authentic Emma because that's what they expect. Melding that with the expectations that come with a major marketing announcement meant making adjustments on set in real-time. I had to remain nimble, listen, and bring everyone’s vision together while leaving space for organic moments. Emma and Spotify were incredible partners who helped make this happen naturally, which resulted in a great promo and experience all around. 

LBB> Other Half works across different mediums. Is there one you prefer or would like to work with more often - why?

Cara> I like the intersection of art and technology and we’re on the lookout for more opportunities that let us merge those mediums. We aim to work on projects with a very pointed perspective, maybe a bit less brand-driven but with a strong societal messaging, like sustainability. Traditional film and commercial production is fantastic - we love it - but there are so many different, interesting mediums for us to explore with the right partners. 

Work for New magazine

LBB> What’s your creative approach when you’re working on editorial shoots, like the ones you’ve done for New Magazine and Perfect? 

Cara> For me, it’s about aligning with the artist and their vision. We’ve worked with some incredible photographers who have a strong POV and a story to share. Editorial gives them carte blanche to express and explore that. We put a lot of our passion into editorial because we love projects that are purely artist-driven. We are helping the artist realise their vision and that’s rewarding. I’m a big fan of physical magazines, something to hold and touch. They take more time and patience to comb through, but there’s a magnetism to that you just don’t get with digital. 

Work for Perfect magazine

LBB> How do you bring your editorial eye to more commercial projects - how does this benefit clients?

Cara> Other Half leans on personalisation that brings a relatability and rawness audiences can connect with. We’ll always try to elevate whatever we’re working on, especially in post-production. There’s so much we can do in terms of sound design, colour and edit.  The more the artist gets involved in the process the better - they were hired for their vision and should have the ability to see it through to the end. For our company, it’s about bringing the right people together to make sure the vision is fully realised while creating something brands really love, even if it's a bit unexpected. 

Stills from work with Jordan Strafer for the Secession Museum

LBB> Looking to the future, what’s on the cards for Other Half in 2023?

Cara> We recently relaunched our website as an intentional effort to better showcase our capabilities and help people understand Other Half as both a creative studio and production company. We are excited about an installation we worked on with visual artist Jordan Strafer  that will be an exhibit at the Secession Museum in Vienna before touring throughout Europe, and eventually making an appearance in NY and LA. We’ve also been working away on an experiential event/production with another visual artist that would live in a few prominent music festivals. Everyone at the company has a good feeling about 2023. We’ll continue to align ourselves with people who have a strong vision and we’re excited to see what will come from that. 

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OTHER HALF Creative, Tue, 28 Feb 2023 12:18:36 GMT