Should You Produce?
Why spend years working on a screenplay only to have other people either mess it up or sit on an option you gave away for a song? More and more, writers are becoming producers or co-producers, taking active roles in both the business and creative aspects of a production. A decade ago, the idea of self producing may have seemed crazy, but in 2010, it’s even crazier to ignore this viable option for your project. New technology, new distribution channels and a saturated market have created a perfect storm of both extraordinary possibilities and stark realities for writers.
Simon Passmore - Writer / Producer
After reading English at Cambridge University, Simon Passmore studied in the US on a graduate fellowship and worked part-time as a copy-editor at Little, Brown. He returned to England with an MA and freelanced as a journalist, copywriter and researcher before joining the BBC as a script editor.
Promoted to producer in the BBC’s drama department Simon developed, script edited and produced A SENSE OF GUILT, written by Andrea Newman; Jimmy McGovern’s first authored piece, TRAITORS; DO NOT DISTURB, THE LAW LORD, and Lynda La Plante’s SECONDS OUT, shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival.
Leaving the BBC to set up his own production company, Tyro Films, Simon produced short feature SEVENTEEN, starring Rachel Weisz, for British Screen and C4; medical series OUT OF HOURS for the BBC; IMOGEN’S FACE, another Andrea Newman serial which again topped the drama charts; AN EVIL STREAK (ITV); FORGIVE AND FORGET (ITV), which starred John Simm and was also screened at the London and San Francisco film festivals; and PRETENDING TO BE JUDITH (ITV). He went on to produce the first two series of commercial and critical hit FOYLE’S WAR (ITV), and WHOSE BABY? (ITV) with Sophie Okonedo and Andrew Lincoln. Most recently Simon has written four plays for BBC Radio: OFFSHORE (2008), ACCOMPLICES (2009), GOING TO GROUND (2010) and THE PATIENT (2010).
Currently he is working on a fifth radio commission, LEVERAGE. Projects in development include feature screenplay CRUMPLE ZONE, theatre play WALK AWAY and a new TV series.
He is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches production and screenwriting.
Helen Blizard - Actress / Screenwriter
Helen trained as an actress and singer at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Alongside her writing career, Helen continues to work as an actress, having made many TV/Stage appearances over the years.
Helen started off her professional career singing with the doo-wop band 'Rocky Sharpe and the Replays'. She co-wrote songs for the five albums and many singles the band produced.
FLY AWAY, her most recent stage play about bullying in schools is now being made into a feature film.
Shelley - Producer
As producer Philip has worked on a 2 hour comedy film also for Carlton/ITV, MARGERY & GLADYS starring Penelope Keith and June Brown, broadcast to an audience of 7.4m.in September 2003; MAKING WAVES a 6 x 1 hour series for Carlton/ITV; and he produced FIRST SIGN OF MADNESS a series of four monologues for Carlton, which starred Pam Ferris, James Bolam, Emma Chambers and Martin Hancock, and won awards at the New York TV Festival, Worldfest Houston, and the Columbus Ohio TV festival in 2001.
Philip was Head of Development for Drama at Carlton TV for 5 Years. As well as initiating and script editing ANYBODY’S NIGHTMARE, a 2 hour film for ITV starring Patricia Routledge, he worked as a script editor on numerous shows including the last two INSPECTOR MORSE films, THE WENCH IS DEAD and THE REMORSEFUL DAY; KAVANAGH QC, PLAIN JANE (written by Lucy Gannon), CIDER WITH ROSIE, NOAH’S ARK and THE WAITING TIME.
He has also worked as a script editor on two series of WAKING THE DEAD for the BBC and A GOOD MURDER for Sally Head Productions / ITV and as script editor and development executive for Granada and LWT Drama, working on MEDICS, STAYING ALIVE and THE KNOCK Before working as a script editor and producer, he was an actor for 12 years.
As an independent producer, he has projects in development with BBC Comedy, the UK Film Council and various independents.
He runs the website www.script-consultant.co.uk set up to offer advice and guidance to screenwriters, through which he is currently involved in writing and consulting on BLOODTIES, a 26 x 1 hour drama series for Nigerian TV.
Pugh - Producer
Ben began work in the film industry working across, production, locations, and assistant directing departments on movies such as TOMB RAIDER 2, WIMBLEDON, BATMAN RETURNS and HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
In 2005, with producing partner Rory Aitken he set up Between The Eyes, to make feature films as well as commercials and music videos. The company’s first production, short film GOODBYE MR SNUGGLES, won the Rushes and Raindance short film festivals in London and was selected for the Sundance Film Festival. BTE has since produced commercials for clients such as Nike, Coca Cola, Cadbury's, and Sony, and music videos for artists such as Coldplay, Jay-Z, Take That, Cheryl Cole and Dido, and have shot in over 15 countries, including USA, Japan, Antarctica, Tahiti, Greenland, India, and all over Europe.
In 2007, Ben and Rory executive produced the feature film EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, starring Andy Serkis (LORD OF THE RINGS, KING KONG), and sold it to BBC1. And having won Film London’s Microwave scheme, they produced SHIFTY in 2008, which was released nationwide in the UK by Metrodome in April 2009. SHIFTY was nominated for a BAFTA and 5 British Independent Film Awards, and was named by Empire magazine as one of the best British films of 2009. They have produced several documentaries, including high-end action sports documentaries POWERS OF THREE and LIVES OF THE ARTISTS, which were both broadcast on Channel 4 in Dec 09. And they recently produced the first short film of renowned fashion photographer Tim Walker, THE LOST EXPLORER.
Between the Eyes is now in partnership with Pulse films in terms of it's directing roster for music videos and commercials allowing Ben and Rory more time to focus on growing their feature film slate.
WELCOME TO THE PUNCH is the next movie for Between the Eyes, it is an action crime thriller written and directed by Eran Creevy and due to go into production in 2011.