Hollywood actor Jack O’Connell’s younger sister Megan is following his footsteps into the film industry with dreams of becoming a director like her role model Angelina Jolie.
Megan who, like her brother, went to school at Alvaston in Derby, says she dropped out of sixth form after the first year knowing that she wanted to work in film having been inspired by Jack.
“When I was 12, Jack took me to the film set in Bristol where they were filming Skins. I got to see a couple of night shoots, I was so excited – it was insane,” said Megan.
“It was the first time I’d seen anything like that, watching all of these busy people behind the scenes working on a professional film set, shooting and directing, and basically putting the show together – it was something that I’ll never forget.
“I think it was then I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I remember looking around and thinking how do you learn to do these things? Where do these people go to learn all this?”
After dropping out of school Megan, 23, says she had a few odd jobs until she managed to get one on a set working as a PA.
“I was able to see what life would be like from inside the industry and it just made me want to make films even more.
“I asked around, trying to work out how I could learn this craft and someone recommended going to a specialist film school.”
She is now a first year student studying a BA in Practical Film Making at London’s MetFilm School and has just made a short film as part of her course which is inspired by her grandparents.
Set in Derby in 1959, A Mother’s Ruin tells the story of pregnancy outside of marriage and the lengths to which some women had to go to manage their situation, exploring society, social norms and mental anguish.
The story tells of a young working-class couple feeling the pressures from society.
Beatrice, a 21 year old off-licence owner, discovers she’s pregnant out of wedlock and she’ll do what she must in order to get her boyfriend Arnie, a football coach for Derby County, to propose – even if it means emotionally blackmailing him.
“I really want the film to be historically accurate – I love history almost as much as I love film and the first scene starts with an old Roberts radio broadcasting the 3-0 defeat of Derby County in a football match with Middlesbrough,” said Megan.
Gender bias is close to Megan’s heart, she is very aware that there aren’t enough female directors.
“I hate that the film industry is not an equal split between genders, but it’s changing. Strong women have always worked in the industry, and many have paved the way for the likes of me; now’s the time that I feel we’re getting a proper foothold. I’m at a school where I’m pretty sure the gender split is 50/50.
“I look at directors like Andrea Arnold and Angelina Jolie and I think they’re so inspirational. They are my role models and I want to do similar work. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do when I leave MetFilm School, I may decide to do an MA in Directing or I might jump straight into the industry – all I know at this point is that I definitely want to be a director.”