Producer's notes, a necessary evil? (bios below)
Many writers complain that the notes they are given will damage their work. While some think that they are essential. The truth is that good notes are great but really great notes are rare! How should writers deal with notes? How should producers and script editors provide notes? If writing is supposedly rewriting, this process is critical to to the success of a project, yet it is shrouded in emotion and ego. This session will attempt to make sense of the process for both sides.
KATE LEYS - Script Editor
Kate Leys is a feature film script editor who works on projects at all stages of development. At the moment she is working on projects for producers including Mia Bays at Microwave/Film London, Bob Last at Ink, Stewart le Marechal at Met Film, Peter Fudadowsoki at UKFTV, Rodar y Rodar in Spain, Mark Cooper, Karlene Page at Big Hug Productions, Neomis Films in Paris, Thomas Hoegh at Arts Alliance, North West Vision, Screen South, Screen West Midlands, Scottish Screen and the UKFC. She works with a wide range of talent, in all genres, on adaptations as well as original screenplays and on a handful of short films. She is often brought in to advise on projects in development with commercial producers (including DNA Films, Cloud 8, Slingshot and in the past Miramax); in the public sector she advises Media Plus Europe on slate finance applications, and the New Zealand Film Commission on feature finance.
She has been head of development at several companies including FilmFour, where she was based for 5 years and where she was part of the small team commissioning and developing some of the UK’s most successful feature films including FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, TRAINSPOTTING and THE FULL MONTY. She developed ORPHANS and brought in EAST IS EAST and GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, working with countless British writers and directors along the way. As head of development at Capitol Films she spotted LEAVING LAS VEGAS and THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, and worked with talent including Roman Polanski and William Boyd. She has commissioned at least one Oscar nominated film (SOLOMON AND GAENOR) and has also been involved in commissioning well over 100 short films. She was a film agent at Gillon Aitken Associates; presented & produced for BBC2's The Late Show and Moving Pictures; was director of the Edinburgh Television Festival; and was Associate Director of Cinema at the ICA. In addition she has been a location caterer, a film festival programmer, a visiting lecturer in screenwriting, a film distributor and a cinema usherette.
Kate teaches script development to post graduate students at the National Film School, screenwriting to post graduate students at the University of London, and evaluates screenwriting courses for the UK Film Council via Skillset. She has mentored formally and informally throughout her career. She ran a project for Skillset last year to produce a Shortlist of the best graduating writers from all the key film schools in the UK. This year she is running a feature development project working with experienced writers in the North West. She speaks regularly at festivals and industry events including the London Film Festival, the Cheltenham Screenwriting Festival, The Edinburgh Film Festival, BFI South Bank, the Skillset Fellowship Programme, the UKFC Breakthrough Brits, the New Producers’ Alliance, workshops for the digital shorts filmmakers for the UKFC and a series of workshops for the Script Factory. She is currently advising the Wellcome Trust. She was on the production committee at Scottish Screen for 7 years and has been a BAFTA member for 17 years.
Throughout this year Kate is running THE STORY WORKS with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, based on closed story masterclasses for screenwriters. Masterclasses to date have been run by Jane Campion, Mike Leigh, David Julyan, DV De Vincentis, Mogens Rukov, Sir Ronald Harwood, John Mathieson, Kenneth Lonergan, Pietro Scalia and John Madden. Participating screenwriters include Amanda Coe, Alicia Duffy, David Farr, Cameron Fraser, Olivia Hetreed, Neil Jack, Mike Lesslie, Nathan Parker, Jon Ronson and Jack Thorne.
STEVE HAWES - Screenwriter / Producer
Steve Hawes joined Granada's sports team in the 70s, produced drama for them in the 80s, moved to Paris to make MAIGRET for French television in the 90's, became lead writer on the series in the 00s. His play ORIGINAL SIN ran at the Haymarket, Basingstoke in 2009.
He has just completed an adaptation of Dumas' THE BLACK TULIP for 3-D cinema (Diamond Productions, director Harry Kümel) and is writing an original screenplay based on the story of Gandhi and his ex-Chindit bodyguard, BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, for Hart Films.
BARBARA JAGO - Screenwriter
Barbara is an award-winning film and TV Scriptwriter with more than 25 produced film credits, working mainly in Germany.
Film: FOUR FOR VENICE, FLAME and THE POET
TV: KOMISSARIN LUKAS, BUSEN FREUNDE1-2 and BABY YOU'RE MINE
GUB NEAL - former Head of Drama at Ch4
Gub is an award-winning producer, formerly Head of Drama at Channel 4 and before that Controller of Drama at Granada. There he co-created CRACKER and won an Emmy for PRIME SUSPECT.
Highlights at Channel 4 include YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO BECOMING A ROCKSTAR, QUEER AS FOLK and the prestigious millennium show LONGITUDE.
Prior to co-founding Artists Studio in 2009, he founded and ran Box TV where his productions included; TRUST, GUNPOWDER TREASON AND PLOT, NO DIRECTION HOME, THE LAST ENEMY, WIND IN THE WILLOWS (both BBC/WGBH) and the Prix Italia winning SUNDAY.