50 ways into the business (bios below)
Want to know how to give yourself the best chance of gaining a meeting with some of the most powerful people in the business, with the goal of moving your project onto the next level?
In this session, seasoned professional writers share some of the most practical tried and tested tips and tricks (some less orthodox than others!) to get your foot in the door and, more importantly, how to keep it there once it’s in.
NOTE - We continued this session on our TV show, The Production Office LIVE - watch here
SHIRANI LE MERCIER - Production & Development Consultant
Shirani Le Mercier started her career at Sony Pictures where she worked for 9 years. From 1997 to 2003, she worked in Sony Pictures’ French office where she launched the local co-production branch.
From 2003 to 2006, she joined in-house producer John Calley, setting up his London office and working on his slate of films which include CLOSER by Mike Nichols (in co-production with Avenue Pictures), THE DA VINCI CODE by Ron Howard (in co-production with Imagine Entertainment) and THE COMPANY, a TV mini-series on the history of the CIA (in co-production with Scott Free, for US channel TNT)
She has been working independently project and talent scouting as well as consulting in production and development since 2007. Her clients include Spanish production company El Toro Pictures (producers of LOPE by Andrea Waddington sold by Wild Bunch, and BRUC by Daniel Benmayor distributed by Optimum Releasing and sold by Studio Canal, both set to release this fall); French Studio Gaumont (TWELVE by Joel Schumacher, THE ROUND-UP by Roselyne Bosch, SPLICE by Vicenzo Natali); as well as French production company Paramita Entertainment and French TV production outfit Memo Prod.
She set up her own company Spring Time Films in 2009. Alongside her consulting work, she is currently developing a TV mini-series (thriller) as a producer as well as co-producing an animation series for children (both at development stage).
MARC PYE - Screenwriter
Marc Pye has been writing for film and television for the past ten years. Amongst his television credits are EASTENDERS, HIGH ROAD, THE BILL, WATERLOO ROAD, THE ROYAL, HOLBY BLUE, ECHO BEACH, RIVER CITY, THE STREET and MOVING ON.
He is the author of two novels, LOLLIPOP and REWIRE (Sceptre) and his three short films – BALDY MCBAIN, LAST LEGS and INSTANT CREDIT all premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. INSTANT CREDIT was also selected for the Newport Beach Film Festival, LA in 2004.
His first feature, ACT OF GRACE, starring Leo Gregory, David Yip and Jennifer Lim is due to be released this year and he is currently writing BETWEEN WEATHERS a feature comedy due to shoot in The Shetlands in September 2010.
PAUL TRIJBITS - Executive Producer | Ruby Films
After a six year tenure as Head of the New Cinema Fund at the UK Film Council and having previously established a close working relationship with Alison Owen on ROSEANNA'S GRAVE and THE YOUNG AMERICANS, Paul Trijbits joined Ruby Films in 2007 as partner and executive producer managing Ruby's extensive slate of film and television projects.
Paul has executive produced a number of critically and financially successful British feature films, such as Paul Greengrass’ BLOODY SUNDAY, Peter Mullan’s THE MAGDALENE SISTERS, Ken Loach’s THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, Kevin Macdonald’s TOUCHING THE VOID and Andrea Arnold’s RED ROAD.
Previous producer credits include: Richard Stanley‘s HARDWARE and Danny Cannon’s THE YOUNG AMERICANS. The films have won major awards at leading festivals in the last five years, including the Golden Palm at Cannes, the Golden Bear at Berlin, the Golden Lion at Venice, BAFTA Best British Film, Toronto Discovery and the Sundance Audience Award.
Paul executive produced Andrea Arnold’s FISHTANK, which competed in official Competition in Cannes last year, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN, winner Best Director and Best Screenplay Sundance ‘09, and Andrea Levy’s SMALL ISLAND.
Recently completed at Ruby are TAMARA DREWE,(Official Selection Cannes 2010, Out of Competition) directed by Stephen Frears, CHATROOM (Official Selection Cannes 2010, Un Certain Regard) directed by Hideo Nakata (RINGU). Currently in post-production are JANE EYRE, directed by Cary Fukunaga (SIN NOMBRE) and TOAST, written by Lee Hall (BILLY ELLIOT), and starring Helena Bonham-Carter and Freddie Highmore.
STUART HAZELDINE - Screenwriter
Stuart Hazeldine is one of a select number of UK-based screenwriters who write exclusively for the major Hollywood studios. After selling his first screenplay at the age of 24, his first credit was the sci-fi TV movie RIVERWORLD for the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003.
2007 saw him hit the industry stratosphere with a rewrite of the blockbuster sci-fi remake THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL for Twentieth Century Fox, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly, followed by a rewrite of the supernatural thriller KNOWING for Summit Entertainment, directed by Alex Proyas and starring Nicolas Cage. He has just adapted John Milton’s epic religious fantasy poem PARADISE LOST for Legendary Pictures (300, 'THE DARK KNIGHT), to be directed by Scott Derrickson in 2010, and he is currently adapting the sci-fi adventure novel THE TRIPODS with Alex Proyas for producer Don Murphy’s Angry Pictures ('Transformers').
2010's EXAM marked Stuart's feature directing debut, following the twenty-minute short film CHRISTIAN, which he wrote and directed in 2005.
JONATHAN NEWMAN - Screenwriter / Director
Writer/Director Jonathan Newman has been described as one of the UK's 'most exciting filmmakers' to emerge in recent years, and was recently longlisted for the Hospital Club's top 100 media hotlist, chosen by industry peers around the country.
2010 sees the release of two feature films shot back to back, both written and directed by Newman and produced by partner Deepak Nayar (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB).
SWINGING WITH THE FINKELS shot in 2009, tells the story of a bored couple who decide to spice up their marriage by swinging. It stars Martin Freeman (LOVE ACTUALLY), singer/actress Mandy Moore (CHASING LIBERTY) comedy legend and father of 'Ben', Jerry Stiller... Jonathan (WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S) Silverman and Angus Deayton. The film was based on Newman's award winning short film of the same name.
Almost immediately after, Jonathan shot the feature film FOSTER, a magical and heartwarming family film starring Emmy Award winning actress Toni Collette (THE 6th SENSE) , Ioan Gruffudd (FANTASTIC FOUR), Richard E Grant (WITHNAIL & I) and Oscar winner Hayley Mills (POLLYANNA, THE PARENT TRAP). The film was also based on his award winning short film which screened on both HBO and BBC and earned Newman a BBC new filmmaker nomination.
Jonathan's short film FATHER’S DAY, made for the 2010 Ford Mustang, won grand prize in a worldwide competition held by ad agency JWT and Filmaka. JWT subsequently hired Jonathan to shoot a 6 part documentary series in Japan on the art of drifting for the reveal of the new Ford Mustang.
British born, Newman spent his formative years in LA before returning to the UK. He earned his MA in Film Production from the Northern Film School and currently resides in London.