Sue Turner is a video editor with a broad range of experience. Employed at Portsmouth TV from 2001-2004 Sue then went on to make two documentaries on Portsmouth in World War Two, one of
which was fully funded from the National Lottery. Having spent ten years with the scientific publisher Wiley working on award-winning international projects in both print and video, Sue has now set up her own Community Interest Company, Elephant in Scarlet,
to preserve the memories of the people of Portsmouth and the local area on video. Sue also shares a life-long interest in science-fiction with ‘Minding Mama’ creator Elaine Jackson.
Sue, you and
Elaine are old friends, having begun your friendship as pen pals in the early ‘70’s. How did you first get to hear about ‘Minding Mama’ and what drew you to the project?
Well, as with most friends, as we got
older Elaine and I found ourselves at the once-a-year Christmas card to update each other with news stage, but in 2015 Elaine sent me a card which said that she was thinking of having a video made to publicise her new story “The Methuselah Paradox”.
I immediately grabbed my phone and offered my services.
At that time I was looking for video projects to practice on with my (then new) video camera and my video editing computer and software in order to familiarise myself with the powerful automatic
features they now had as part of starting up my CIC company “Elephant in Scarlet.” So I filmed Elaine as a standard interview with cutaways and it all went very well. Elaine then explained that she was also hoping to create a book trailer using
a mix of images and live actors for ‘The Methuselah Paradox’. As I had done some drama videos as part of my first degree course at Bournemouth University in the 90’s I dusted off my production skills for shooting actors and off we went.
on set for 'The Methuselah Paradox' trailer, image by Sue Thomason
Once the trailer for ‘The Methuselah Paradox’ was complete, Elaine mentioned that she had another
project in the early stages of development and that she wanted to shoot a scene from what was going to be an illustrated novel, “Minding Mama”, using actors and props. Right from the initial planning stages I was keen to be actively involved in
“Minding Mama” as it dealt with a lot of common sci-fi themes, in particular global warming and the breakdown of civilisation into isolated agrarian communities; and it also had elements of many classic science fiction dramas, such as “Silent
Running”, “Threads” and “Survivors”.
As the project developed I was introduced to both Dan and Amanda and I was blown away by their beautiful illustrations. “Minding Mama” has provided me with a reminder
of how much fun it can be to watch a comic book gradually gain life and come into its own.
image by Stephen R Cox
The work you’re doing with Neon Sky Books seems quite different to the community-based historical/memorial work you normally undertake. Is the process for each genre very different?
The Neon Sky work is actually fun and working with such a great group of people adds to the enjoyment. My community-based work is the serious side and requires a lot of craft skills which can only be honed with practice and so I can use the fun stuff with
Neon Sky to improve my skills and also do things that I don’t have to do for history work, such as paint the sky pink with a special effect.
a still from the trailer - under a pink sky!
Although I would probably never use that particular effect in an interview with a memorial subject, it does remind me that I have a lot of filters and
other devices in the edit suite that I can use in interview situations to make the interview as good as it can possibly be. The more I practice with different aspects of the equipment that I have across different genres of work, the better I get as a videographer.
What else are you working on that you can tell us about?
Sue Turner - image by Island City Stories
I have just been employed by the University of Portsmouth for a one-year project to help collect the personal stories of women in the local area who have been
involved in all aspects of political and social activism. This project is Lottery funded and will preserve the stories of many women whose achievements would otherwise go unrecognised. This work is exactly what Elephant in Scarlet CIC was founded to do and
I am delighted to be working in a professional capacity with the university from whom I received my Masters degree. Looking forward a couple of years – I have a hankering for the floppy hat with a tassel that they give to academic doctors – so
watch this space!
Elephant in Scarlet ™ www.elephantinscarlet.co.uk