5 Tips to Improve Your Comedy

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Comic performer and writer Michelle Read shares 5 tips to help improve your comedy stylings ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab (20th October – 26th November)

 

Stop Press: Actors are Funny

Comedy work is hilarious* and fun and a great way for actors to develop their performance skills. It helps to unlock or identify some of the experience actors already have, including comic characterisation, timing and ensemble playing.

(*disclaimer – may not be hilarious.)

 

Improv Funny

Comedy Improv is an exciting and dynamic performance format and centres around the idea of play. It’s a fun (and scary) way to explore comedy performance and the spontaneous creation of comic material. It also focuses on teamwork and game structure. It can sometimes feel like jumping in a volcano*.

(*In the metaphorical exciting sense, not in the literal burning to death sense.)

 

Sketch Funny

Many comedy makers then work with improv to create material for sketches. Spontaneous ideas and characters are explored on the floor and / or written down until a text exists that can be rehearsed. This is a process that may be familiar to actors from devising work and it allows a deeper exploration of the processes in performing comedy. Yes, you have become a comedy writer as well as a comedy performer.

 

Stand Up Funny

And if you’re writing comedy – what about Stand Up? Stand-Up has a daunting reputation but isn’t actually one rigid form. It can include storytelling, monologuing, chatting, slide shows, performing a version of yourself, being a character, riffing on a theme, making a point. Or all of the above. Stand up is a personally created performance piece, with the only caveat that it MUST be funny every ten to twenty seconds. The process of making a piece of stand-up is fantastically challenging and really good for stress levels (and cholesterol). It’s a great way for actors to never be scared of anything else ever again.

 

Don’t be funny, am funny.

Or something like that. It’s a Zen mantra about comedy. Yeah… Really helpful.

 

 

Michelle Read is one of the tutors on Filmbase’s Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

The Screen Studio Academy Actors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for performers. Participants will learn techniques to successfully engage with audiences as well as explore personal comic presence.

 

Intro:

Are you looking to develop your acting skills? Voice and comedy performance are vital to becoming a versatile and successful actor and knowing how to utilise performance to create dynamic characters is a staple in any actor’s toolbox.  This programme is designed to challenge students who are committed to polishing their abilities to a professional level.

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different then finding myself in there.”  – Meryl Streep

This six-week programme will focus on vocal work, sketches and dynamic exercises. Clear precise speech and articulation skills will be developed to improve material delivery.

During the course, students will be immersed in the world of professional performance. Not only does the training run for two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but actors will be expected to set aside time for assignments and developing project work. Participants will also work alongside the Screen Studio Directors and Writers Academy courses at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Performers new to acting are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and be committed throughout the duration.

“The voice is the window to the soul”   – Daniel Day-Lewis

 

Course Content:

The course will cover voice work and comedy acting for film and television.  The workshop topics include:
• Introduction and basic structure of the voice.
• A focus on defining unique speech.
• Mechanics of the voice physiology and breath (breathe in – suspension – exhalation – recovery).
• Increased awareness of the back of the body, scapula and skull base and the relevant relation to posture.
• Introduction to the practice of developing and strengthening the voice from the opening of the main resonances.
• Examining the physicality of phonation.
• An in-depth exploration of crafting jokes as the building blocks of comedy.
• Learning the elements of comedy work and applying those to the text.
• Building comedy on text.
• Dealing with nerves and utilising them during audition technique.
• Creating accents and implementing them naturally.
• Performance coaching where regarding ideas and development.

 

Tutor: Maria Tecce

Maria Tecce is an actor, singer, and voice coach from Boston now based in Dublin. Maria has 15 years experience with the media and offers a special module to executives and public personalities in media interview techniques, microphone techniques, and best practices when appearing on radio, television, and presenting on stage.

The last few years have been Maria’s busiest; she has been performing and writing with Irish music-comedy act The Nualas. She also premiered her new show Strapless at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and launched her third album Viva.

Maria recently donned the acting mantel as the saucy courtesan ‘Emelie’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in their critically acclaimed production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, played Irish singing legend Jack L.’s leading lady in the cult short film I Hate Musicals, performed as the iconic ‘Alida Slade’ in Hugh Leonard’s Roman Fever, and as murdered wife ‘Isabella’ in the BBC television series Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw. She has also worked in film and television with the likes of Jim Sheridan, Angela Landsbury, Patsy Kensit, Mia Farrow and Keith Carradine. “Singer Maria Tecce steals the show.” The Times.

www.mariatecce.com

 

Tutor Michelle Read

Michelle began her performance and writing career as a comic on the London circuit in the late eighties, performing regularly at many of the original clubs including The Comedy Store and the infamous Tunnel Club. On moving to Dublin she became a regular at the Comedy Cellar performing stand-up and sketch comedy and featuring in many Irish TV shows including Cursai Elaine, Couched, The Basement, Rant, Gerry Ryan Tonight, You Can’t Be Serious, Nighthawks and Saturday Live for UTV.

She is a founder member and regular player with the Dublin Comedy Improv since 1991 and has played with the team on two successful radio series for RTÉ, at the Edinburgh Festival, at the Catlaughs Festival, Kilkenny and all over Ireland. Michelle is also a playwright and theatre-maker and she regularly facilitates workshops in improvisation, devising and playwriting.

 

Guest Tutor: Sharon Mannion

Sharon Mannion is an Actor/Comedian and Writer based in Dublin. Her TV credits include Trojan Donkey (Channel 4), Moone Boy (Sky 1), Republic of Telly (RTÉ) and Don’t Tell the Bride – Narrator (RTÉ). She is a member of sketch group Ghost Train Willy and improv groups The Craic Pack, Dublin Comedy Improv and The Cardinals. She drinks a lot of tea and used to work in a chicken factory.

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses:

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Actors’ Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Acting, Soap and Television Acting and Acting for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

 

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Shooting a Horror – Five Fiendish Tips

Stitches

Ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab – Shoot Your Own Horror Short, writer, director and nightmare-maker Conor McMahon shares his 5 tips to scare the bejebus out of your audience.

 

1. Take your actors to one location and chop them up. Preferably a location that doesn’t mind you throwing fake blood around.

 
 
2. Make the first death the most impactful. The audience will be nervous about what’s to come.

 
 
3. If you’re making a comedy horror get funny actors. You can’t direct someone how to tell a joke.

 
 
4. Use the elements. Wind, fire, smoke and rain, will all add to the atmosphere.

 
 
5. In a scary horror less is more. In a comedy horror, more is more.

 

 

Filmbase Present

Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

SHOOT YOUR OWN HORROR SHORT! Learn the techniques needed to successfully direct a horror film with the Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive lab. Participants will focus on idea generation to intensify terror as well as creating atmospheric screen stories.

 

Intro:

The Screen Studio Academy: Directors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for filmmakers who want to take their skill to the next level. While examining different genres of horror, students will develop a group idea to shoot a short horror film.

The course runs two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and directors will also be expected to set aside time outside of class for assignments and for developing project work. As well as working on the short, participants will also work with the Screen Studio Actors and Writers Academy programmes at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Participants new to directing are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and committed throughout the duration.

Course Content:

The course will cover directing for horror film and television, specifically focusing on:

• Creating a story that speaks to an audience
• Looking at fear triggers and how it’s translated in film
• Story and script editing
• Developing a directorial voice
• Working with producers and creative departments
• Understanding cinematography and lighting techniques
• Horror genre conventions
• Planning for special effects and gore
• Working with actors
• Post production

 

Tutor: Conor McMahon

Conor studied filmmaking at the Irish National Film School in Dun Laoghaire. In 2004 he made his debut feature film Dead Meat, which was funded by the Irish Film Board. Following this, Conor went on to direct Zombie Bashers, an entry in the RTÉ’s Storyland competition. The show was voted by the public as the winner of the competition.

Short Films Conor directed have won numerous awards including: Best Short at the Sitges Film Festival (Spain), First Prize in the Kodak Commercial Awards (London) and Second prize at Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn Horror film Festival.

Conor has worked on the popular RTÉ sketch show, The Republic of Telly, writing and directing sketches with acts such as The Rubber Bandits, Damo & Ivor and Georgia Salpa. His 2012 feature film Stitches, starring British comedian Ross Noble, won best film at the Midnight Xtreme section of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival. And most recently: Conor’s latest feature, From the Dark has been described by Fangoria as ‘a taut, coiled piece of dread-infused cinema that… delivers everything one could hope for from a fresh entry in that subgenre.’

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Directors’s Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Directing, Soap and Television Directing and Directing for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

 

Visit www.creativeeuropeireland.eu

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5 Tips to Improve Your Voice Work

Maria Tecce, actress who is appearing with The Nualas. Photo: Tony Gavin 20/2/11

Photo: Tony Gavin

Ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab (20th October – 26th November), actor, singer and voice coach Maria Tecce shares 5 tips every actor should follow to improve their voice work.

 

Your whole body is your voice.

So many of us focus on the throat when we think about the voice. But your whole body is involved in producing sound and has potential for resonance and vibration. Like any athlete, the muscles we use to make sound need to be worked and strengthened. When we’re rehearsing, we’re using our voices regularly so it’s building up strength, but ideally, doing some kind of warm up before you do any kind of voice work is a good idea.

 

Never push your voice.

Not only are you likely to do damage but it’s exhausting. And it’s also exhausting for the audience to listen to. We work in many different types of spaces, some with better acoustics than others, so when you get into a new space, have a test run with some text to see how it feels and where you have to place your voice to fill the space. Instead of ‘projecting’ or pushing your voice, think of sending your thought out with more intention and clarity.  If your voice is released and in good nick and your breath is coming from a grounded, centred place, you won’t need to push.

 

Tension vs. Relaxation

The voice involves more muscles than just the vocal folds in the throat. All muscles have the potential to carry tension, especially around the throat, shoulders, and jaw areas, so be aware of where you’re carrying tension and give it some love. Tension is your voice’s worst enemy; relaxation is its best friend. When we are more relaxed, we can focus with more clarity, be more present in the moment and able to respond.

 

Breath is key.

Breath is the key for a strong, supported voice. It’s the imprint for vibration and sound. Getting that breath coming from a deep, grounded place gives you more power and choice when you’re performing. Whether you’re working on stage or in front of a camera, breathing helps centre you in body, voice, and thought.  It’s also a great tool to deal with nerves. God forbid you dry on stage or forget your lines, but if you do, breathe. Your body will remember when your mind doesn’t. Breath is the support for everything in your vocal arsenal.

 

Warm up.

Everybody has their own routine, ritual, or regime for warming up; there are as many warm ups as there are performers. Some people do very little; some people need an hour. But whatever you do, do something. Warming up isn’t just about preparing your body and voice to be ready to respond, it’s also waking up your thought. Clear thought = clear text.  The voice is one of the most flexible, powerful, elegant tools for communication we have. It can start a war. It can say ‘I love you’. It’s a powerhouse for emotion, passion, authenticity, texture, and colour.  And it’s all at your fingertips. Use it well

 

www.mariatecce.com

 

Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

The Screen Studio Academy Actors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for performers. Participants will learn techniques to successfully engage with audiences as well as explore personal comic presence.

 

Intro:

Are you looking to develop your acting skills? Voice and comedy performance are vital to becoming a versatile and successful actor and knowing how to utilise performance to create dynamic characters is a staple in any actor’s toolbox.  This programme is designed to challenge students who are committed to polishing their abilities to a professional level.

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different then finding myself in there.”  – Meryl Streep

This six-week programme will focus on vocal work, sketches and dynamic exercises. Clear precise speech and articulation skills will be developed to improve material delivery.

During the course, students will be immersed in the world of professional performance. Not only does the training run for two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but actors will be expected to set aside time for assignments and developing project work. Participants will also work alongside the Screen Studio Directors and Writers Academy courses at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Performers new to acting are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and be committed throughout the duration.

“The voice is the window to the soul”   – Daniel Day-Lewis

 

Course Content:

The course will cover voice work and comedy acting for film and television.  The workshop topics include:
• Introduction and basic structure of the voice.
• A focus on defining unique speech.
• Mechanics of the voice physiology and breath (breathe in – suspension – exhalation – recovery).
• Increased awareness of the back of the body, scapula and skull base and the relevant relation to posture.
• Introduction to the practice of developing and strengthening the voice from the opening of the main resonances.
• Examining the physicality of phonation.
• An in-depth exploration of crafting jokes as the building blocks of comedy.
• Learning the elements of comedy work and applying those to the text.
• Building comedy on text.
• Dealing with nerves and utilising them during audition technique.
• Creating accents and implementing them naturally.
• Performance coaching where regarding ideas and development.

 

Tutor: Maria Tecce

Maria Tecce is an actor, singer, and voice coach from Boston now based in Dublin. Maria has 15 years experience with the media and offers a special module to executives and public personalities in media interview techniques, microphone techniques, and best practices when appearing on radio, television, and presenting on stage.

The last few years have been Maria’s busiest; she has been performing and writing with Irish music-comedy act The Nualas. She also premiered her new show Strapless at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and launched her third album Viva.

Maria recently donned the acting mantel as the saucy courtesan ‘Emelie’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in their critically acclaimed production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, played Irish singing legend Jack L.’s leading lady in the cult short film I Hate Musicals, performed as the iconic ‘Alida Slade’ in Hugh Leonard’s Roman Fever, and as murdered wife ‘Isabella’ in the BBC television series Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw. She has also worked in film and television with the likes of Jim Sheridan, Angela Landsbury, Patsy Kensit, Mia Farrow and Keith Carradine. “Singer Maria Tecce steals the show.” The Times.

www.mariatecce.com

 

Tutor Michelle Read

Michelle began her performance and writing career as a comic on the London circuit in the late eighties, performing regularly at many of the original clubs including The Comedy Store and the infamous Tunnel Club. On moving to Dublin she became a regular at the Comedy Cellar performing stand-up and sketch comedy and featuring in many Irish TV shows including Cursai Elaine, Couched, The Basement, Rant, Gerry Ryan Tonight, You Can’t Be Serious, Nighthawks and Saturday Live for UTV.

She is a founder member and regular player with the Dublin Comedy Improv since 1991 and has played with the team on two successful radio series for RTÉ, at the Edinburgh Festival, at the Catlaughs Festival, Kilkenny and all over Ireland. Michelle is also a playwright and theatre-maker and she regularly facilitates workshops in improvisation, devising and playwriting.

 

Guest Tutor: Sharon Mannion

Sharon Mannion is an Actor/Comedian and Writer based in Dublin. Her TV credits include Trojan Donkey (Channel 4), Moone Boy (Sky 1), Republic of Telly (RTÉ) and Don’t Tell the Bride – Narrator (RTÉ). She is a member of sketch group Ghost Train Willy and improv groups The Craic Pack, Dublin Comedy Improv and The Cardinals. She drinks a lot of tea and used to work in a chicken factory.

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses:

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Actors’ Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Acting, Soap and Television Acting and Acting for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

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Full Costs and Income of a £1m Independent Feature Film

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Stephen Follows is bringing his sell-out Producer’s Masterclass to Filmbase, Dublin on the 7th and 8th November 2015. It’s the ultimate two-day crash course in how to make and sell your low-budget feature film.

In advance of the masterclass, Stephen takes us through the full costs and income of a £1m independent feature film.

 

Grab a cup of tea – this is a long one. It’s rare for filmmakers to get a candid look at the books of someone else’s film but, thanks to the generosity of Marcus Markou, that’s exactly what you’ll get to read below.

Papadopoulos & Sons is an independent feature film that tells the tale of an Anglo-Greek self-made millionaire who loses everything in the banking crisis and is forced to turn to his estranged brother to re-open the fish and chip shop they shared in their youth. It’s a fun family film starring Stephen Dillane, George Corraface and Georgia Groome.

papadopoulos-and-sons-movie-poster

The film was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Marcus Markou and was released in UK cinemas in April 2013.

Before we delve into the journey of the film, we need to take a moment to learn more about Marcus and his motives. Marcus is a successful entrepreneur, so much so that he was able to pay for the film’s £825,000 budget from his own bank account.

He wanted to learn how films are made, make something for his kids to see and have a fun time in the process. He’d taken a short course at the Met Film School but other than that, this was his first foray into the commercial film world.

The Budget

The independent feature film took 24 days to shoot in and around London.  The largest costs were art department (they had to build a chip shop in an empty shop!), cast and production staff.  The Above The Line costs came to £91,821 (11% of the budget), production was £584,800 (71%), post-production £109,436 (13%) with other costs coming to £39,165 (5%).

  • Production budget of Papadopoulos & Sons£775  Story, Rights & Continuity
  • £91,046 Cast
  • £19,014 Supporting Artists
  • £90,332 Production Staff
  • £93,245 Art Department
  • £32,070 Wardrobe
  • £16,782 Make-up / Hair
  • £53,371 Electrical
  • £58,580 Camera
  • £16,882 Sound
  • £77,918 Travel / Transportation
  • £28,670 Hotel / Living
  • £70,111 Location
  • £27,343 Overtime / 2nd Camera
  • £     482 Digital Stock & Transfers
  • £25,507 Music
  • £83,929 Post-Production
  • £  9,307 Insurance
  • £  2,556 Legal & Clearances
  • £  7,705 General Expenses
  • £  2,900 Publicity
  • £      750 PACT & Training Levy
  • £ 15,947 Fringes
  • £825,222 Total

I’m focusing mainly on the numbers today but if you want to know more about the story of the shoot then here are a few entertaining links…

Getting an Independent Feature Film Distributed

Marcus made the film without any industry support and without any distribution deals in place.  This meant that once it was complete he had to figure out how he was going to get it to the public and recoup his investment.

At one point, he was close to signing a deal with YouTube to premiere the film online via a ‘pay what you want’ recoupment model.  The idea seemed to be well-received at google but in the end the deal stalled when YouTube insisted that Google Wallet was used to collect the donations, despite the fact it was only active in 8 countries at the time.

Marcus turned to self-distribution in the UK and collaborating with a producer’s rep for the international rights. He signed up with producer reps 7&7 who would take 20% of any deal they negotiated but they wouldn’t ever control the distribution of the film, as a traditional sales agent would. Marcus was on the hook for the sales costs (such as attending Cannes and other film markets) but this would be recouped first from income.

Soon after taking the film to the Cannes Marche du Film (the film market where the rights to films are bought and sold), 7&7 secured distribution deals for Greece, Germany and an airline distribution deal.

 

The Film Festival Circuit

Many independent feature films rely on the festival circuit to get noticed, however Papadopoulos & Sons wasn’t shortlisted at a major film festival. Marcus puts this down to the film not being “an edgy, film festival kind of film”.

However, some festivals did take it, including…

Reflecting on his festival experience Marcus said “The film isn’t arthouse; it is too commercial. But it isn’t a big studio film with celebrities in it, so it is arthouse. It is stuck between those worlds, commercial arthouse. In the UK, those worlds don’t really mix.”.

One of the more surreal screenings was in the European Parliament. A member of the film’s cast knew the programmer of cultural events and told him it was a film about the Greek banking crisis (it’s not). The resulting screening took place at the same moment that the Greek Prime Minister was on the floor negotiating Greece’s bailout deal.

 

Securing a UK Cinema Release

Cineworld cinemasBy this point, the film had a German, Greek and airline deal but was still lacking a UK distributor. Marcus is not someone who gives up easily, and so he turned to self-distribution. Via Miracle Communications, Marcus struck a deal with Cineworld cinemas which placed the film in 13 screens for a week.

Marcus identified Greek communities throughout the UK by looking for Greek Orthodox churches. If there was a church, he’d target the local community, using a variety of off- and on-line media.

 

The Costs of the UK Theatrical Release

Marcus secured a small release in 13 Cineworld cinemas, opening on 5th April 2013.  By contrast, the biggest film of that week, The Croods, was playing on 553 screens across the UK.  It is fairly common for large studio-backed films to get a much larger release than smaller, independent feature films, in part because the UK is one of the most costly regions in the world to release a film theatrically.

As Marcus was acting as his own distributor he had to pay up front for a number of costs (known as P&A, after Prints and Advertising).  These included…

  • £ 5,200 Tenancy fees
  • £    325 Virtual Print Fees
  • £ 1,000 BBFC certificate
  • £ 2,000 Renting DCP drives
  • £ 2,000 Publicist
  • £ 4,000 Miracle Entertainment (who coordinated the deal)
  • £ 3,000 Radio ads on London Greek Radio, and print ads in Greek newspapers in London
  • £ 8,000 Facebook ads, to those with “Greek interests” living in areas close to Greek churches
  • £10,000 Posters, flyers and pre-release screenings of the ‘Making of’ documentary
  • £35,525 Total

Note: These figures are approximations from Marcus, whereas most of the other numbers in the article are correct to the pound as they come directly from his accounts.

 

How the Film Performed in UK Cinemas

Papadopoulos & SonsEarly on in the three month campaign for the UK release, Marcus had been told that he should aim to achieve “500 per cinema” in the opening weekend. He took this to mean 500 admissions per cinema and set his sights on reaching this goal. He later learned that in fact the target was just £500 per cinema, which is under a sixth of what he was working towards.

In the opening week, across the 13 sites, the film sold 8,000 tickets and grossed £60,659. This means the site average was £2,870, the second highest of the week, beating fellow opening film Dark Skies (site average: £2,680) and GI Joe: Retaliation (site avenge: £2,421) which was on its second week of release.

The high per screen average spurred Cineworld to widen the release meaning that in the second week the film was screening on 16 screens. The vast majority of Marcus’ marketing efforts had been focused on driving people to see it during the all-important opening weekend. This can be seen in the box office figures, where, despite being available on 23% more screens, the film grossed just 31% of its opening weekend (£18,504).

UK cinema gross of Papadopoulos & Sons

After seven weeks on general release, the film finished its official UK theatrical run. It had grossed £95,509, according to Rentrak, although Marcus points out “I don’t think this includes indie screenings I’ve done because a lot of them come direct to me”. The overall per screen average of its seven weeks was a very respectable £2,274.

 

Dividing up the UK Theatrical Box Office Income

So, what happens to the money gathered by UK cinemas; i.e. the UK box office gross? Using Rentrak’s figures…

  • £96,000 gross
  • Minus tax (VAT at 20%) leaves £76,800
  • Minus Cineworld’s cut (at 65%) leaves £26,880

According to Marcus’ accounts, he received a total of £45,601 from the UK release, which suggests that he was right to point out that the true box office figure was higher (£162,850 by my calculations).

Normally at this point a distributor and sales agent would take a fee and also take back their marketing costs (see here and here for more details) but as Marcus was self-distributing, he saved himself these costs. It’s reasonable to assume that had he taken the traditional releasing model then he would be left with far less, if anything. (Although it’s technically possible that a large distributor would have been able to secure more screens and therefore a higher box office gross).

After we remove the approximately £35,000 he spent on the digital prints and advertising (known as P&A) he is left with £10,600 profit for his six month’s work.

 

UK TV Deal

For the last few years, television has been the largest driver of income for British films and that’s certainly the case for Papadopoulos & Sons. The UK cinema release netted Marcus a profit of £10,000 for half a year’s work whereas by contrast his deal with the BBC netted him £50,000.

Ordinarily, the sales agent (7&7) would have taken a 20% cut but it had been agreed that Marcus would keep the full figure to recoup money he’d spent promoting the film in Cannes.

The BBC deal is for five screenings over the next five years, starting in autumn of this year. The deal stipulates that during the first two years, the BBC have the exclusive “UK Free TV’ rights, meaning that the film will be removed from the UK edition of Netflix until autumn 2017. Clauses such as this are fairly standard and explains why Netflix has different inventories between territories.

 

UK Film Tax Credit

HMRCThe biggest cheque Marcus received was from the UK taxman, in the form of his rebate for the UK film tax credit. If your film is certified as officially British then the tax credit will give you 20% cash back on the money you spent in the UK on certain costs. The eligible costs are confined to activities within pre-production, production and post-production; meaning that all the money Marcus spent on distribution, exhibition and marketing are not included in the calculation.

In the case of Papadopoulos & Sons, the UK film tax credit came to £156,000, or 19.1% of their overall production budget.

 

German Income

German Papadopoulos & SonsIn Germany the film opened on 70 screens, showing to 23,850 people and grossing €141,000 (£120,000) in its first week alone. After a month, the film had grossed €223,240 (£159,770) according to InterPlan, and Box Office Mojo has the final German box office gross at $289,670 (£197,000). The company with the German rights also released the film in Austria and so all told the gross was £215,929.

In return for the German and Austrian rights, Marcus had agreed an advance payment of €20,000 known as a Minimum Guarantee (an “MG”), which translated into a payment of £15,594. From the £216,000 box office gross, the distributor was permitted to recoup their costs, the money they spent on advertising and this MG. This meant that Marcus received no further payments for the theatrical or DVD releases in Germany and Austria.

However, the German distributor did negotiate a TV deal in France and Germany, which netted Marcus an additional £36,072.

Due to the lucrative TV deal, the MG has been repaid meaning that Marcus will receive 50% of the net income of DVD sales in Germany and Austria.

 

Greek Income

Papadopoulos & SonsConsidering the film’s plot, Marcus’ background and the press surrounding the EU screening, the territory of Greece was always going to be a big one for Papadopoulos & Sons. As with Germany, Marcus agreed an MG, in this case of €15,000. This translated to a net income of £12,753.

And there the Greek information trail stops. Neither Marcus nor I can find any Greek box office figures, DVD sales or how it performed in TV. It is fairly common in the film industry for distributors not to provide additional information and filmmakers are pretty much powerless in preventing it. The MG is often regarded as the only money the filmmakers will see from the deal and so distributors don’t see the need to provide them with updates on the film’s progress. When I asked Marcus what he felt the gross Greek figures were he said “Who knows… I am going to say £50k because I know its been on Greek TV and DVDs have been sold, etc”.

Update: I been tipped off that there are admission figures on Lumiere, although not financial figures.   Apparently the film was seen by 2,676 people in Greece in 2012 and a further 2,906 in 2013.

 

Video on Demand Income

Most filmmakers are hoping that Video on Demand (VOD) income will grow to replace the lost income from falling DVD sales. Papadopoulos and Sons is available on a number of VOD platforms including…

  • £19,602 Netflix (UK and USA)
  • £  2,902 FilmFlex (UK)
  • £  2,889 iTunes (multiple countries in Europe, UK, Africa and middle East)
  • £        26 Blinkbox (Europe)
  • £        95 Google (UK)
  • £   9,428 Misc VOD*
  • £34,942 Total

*These misc payments come via the same aggregator as most of the other payments (The Movie Partnership) but the bank statements don’t reveal which VOD platforms the amounts belong to.  Marcus believes that iTunes sales account for around 80% of the ‘transactional VOD’ revenue (i.e. not including Netflix, which offers ‘subscription VOD’).

The Netflix deal is for the UK and America and the gross is around £15,000 per year for a two year deal. The sales agent takes 15% and the aggregator takes a further 15%, leaving Marcus with 70% of the gross.

The film has performed well on the platform, with an average rating of 3.6 stars from nearly 120,000 ratings. Marcus says that Netflix have indicated they want the film when they roll out to new territories across the world.  This is pretty impressive for an independent feature film.

 

Other Income

The film picked up other money from a few places…

  • £9,374 DVD sales in the UK, Australia and New Zealand plus an Amazon-only deal in America. The Australian deal was for two years and they paid a £1,000 MG upfront.
  • £7,457 Spiritual Cinema DVD club
  • £2,187 TV deal across the Middle East
  • £1,131 American theatrical screening via ’theatrical on demand’ company Gathr
  • £   275 Speaking fees related to UK film industry events

Totalling the Income

It’s certainly possible that the film will recoup more money in the coming years so these figures are true up to 15th April 2015.

  • £158,000 UK tax credit
  • £  88,259 TV
  • £   45,601 UK theatrical
  • £   34,942 VOD
  • £   32,667 Airline
  • £   15,594 Germany theatrical
  • £   12,753 Greece
  • £     9,374 DVD
  • £     1,131 US screening
  • £        459 UK screening
  • £        275 Speaking fees
  • £399,055 Total

Income received from the independent feature film Papadopoulos & Sons

Totalling the Costs

Papadopoulos & SonsIf we add up all of the costs of making the film (£825,222) with the rough costs of the UK release (£35,000) then we can see that the film cost Marcus approximately £860,000.

With income to date of £399,055, this means that the film is currently at a loss of around £460,000.

Note: You can see the full budget and costs at the bottom of this article.

I know this loss sounds like a lot but consider Marcus’ reasons for making the film. He wanted to learn how independent feature films are made, make something for his kids to see and have a fun time in the process. Marcus spent his own hard-earned money and was well aware of the risks.

I asked Marcus how he feels about the current recoupment status.  He said…

Think of this as a long-term investment. The capital is sunk up front. After a couple of years I am 40% recouped. The hope is that after 10 years I will be fully recouped. But because of the strength of Netflix and BBC it’s clear this film will have a long shelf life. In year 11, that means every penny that comes in will be PROFIT! Think about it. If in year 11, I am making £25k per year that is £25k per annum with NO COST. This is why catalogues of old films are so valuable. Because if you have 20 films like this, making £25k per annum with no costs… well, you can do the Maths.

You must not underestimate the long-term value of a movie once its sunk capital has been recouped. In the West End a musical will have to run for two years before it’s profitable. Most never get to the two year mark. With a movie, if you have a universal story that has a long shelf life, you can be collecting payments for 20 or 30 years.

So I would always argue that this is a long haul investment. If I took the same £1m and put it in a bank, you may find that after 20 years Papadopoulos has out performed on a return many times over.

This is the recoupment stage but it is also still selling – e.g the US DVD and possible impact of Netflix rolling out across multiple territories. You say, existing deals MAY continue to pay out. They WILL continue to pay out because I get paid quarterly and for DVD, VOD, Netflix etc. Not in advance. So many deals are not completed yet (e.g Netflix) so it’s not a MAY it is a WILL.

Future Income

It’s likely that the film will recoup more money. There is a full American DVD release due in October (the previous US DVD deal was exclusively with amazon) and 7&7 are actively pursuing deals in new territories.

In addition, the existing deals may continue to pay out, certainly the Netflix deal seems to be going well and the film continues to sell via iTunes et al. The UK Netflix deal will be on a two year hiatus but if it continues to prove popular then it’s reasonable to assume that they will extend and widen the existing deal.

When the film begins its five year screening period with the BBC this autumn it could lead to TV deals in other territories. TV remains the most lucrative media format for the film and so a few more TV deals could produce £10,000’s more.

Lessons for Independent Feature Filmmakers

Whilst this may not look like a sustainable model for filmmakers to follow there are a number of valuable lessons we can learn from these numbers…

  1. Self distribution is not easy. Marcus spent a huge amount of time and effort to secure the UK release, and then again to get the film in front of his target audience. There’s no doubt that a large amount of the success the film had in UK cinemas was down to his dedication, hard work and unwillingness to give up.
  2. Who you know, helps. At a few different points along Marcus’ journey it proved vital for him to trade on relationships with the right people. Cineworld only agreed to having the film screened in their flagship Shaftesbury Avenue site because one of Marcus’ employee’s flatmates was the manager. That said, Marcus isn’t the son of a famous filmmaker and so all his connections had to be earned. Anyone who’s met him will attest to the fact that it doesn’t take long after first meeting Marcus to want to do him a favour.
  3. The cost of deliverables adds up. Deliverables are the assets you pass over to a distributor after you sign a deal. These will include a copy of the film but also audio and image elements. For Marcus’ deals in Germany, Greece and on airlines the distributors agreed to reimburse him for the costs of creating these items. However, Marcus still had to pay up front and the total for just those three deals came to £10,558. Filmmakers should remember than they may need to cashflow costs like these after they have signed deals. Here are a few of the deliverable costs…
    • £5,200 Full Feature 35mm Theatrical Prints
    • £1,000 35mm Feature Trailer Prints
    • £  675 HD Cam SR Clone: Main film
    • £  450 HD Cam SR Clone: The Making of ….
  4. Soft money is vital for survival. Marcus took advantage of the UK film tax credit and it became his single largest income cheque at £158,000. However, as he paid for the film from his own funds he was not able to use any of the more tax efficient structures such as SEIS and EIS schemes. The SEIS scheme is for films of up to £150,000 (or the first £150k of a larger film) and it gives investors 50% of their investment back almost straight away. Then, if they fail to see any profits after three years they can claim a further 28% of their loss back from the taxman. The EIS scheme can support projects up £15 million and give investors slightly less back. If Papadopoulos & Sons had been funded by external private investors then they would have lost far less money than Marcus has to date.
  5. The publicly available data can be wrong or incomplete. At the time of writing, the Box Office Mojo figure for the UK box office is $124,794 (£84,870 in 2013 pounds). Rentrak’s official figures suggest it was nearer £96,000 and yet using Marcus’ own bank accounts we can deduce that it was closer to £165,000. This is a common complaint I’ve heard from indie filmmakers as big commercial box office trackers are not designed to catch every penny given to every small film. They don’t cover all cinemas and it can be easy to miss the odd screening for non-studio films.
  6. Research your marketplace. Data this candid is very hard to find but that’s not to say you can’t find some things out before you embark on the epic journey of making a feature film.  Talk to other filmmakers (who over a few drink might be this candid!), attend film markets, look at what data is available online and approach sales professionals.  Success if the film industry is not straightforward but neither is it random.  And it only becomes clearer via experience and by accessing the experiences of others.  (This point was a suggestion from Reddit).

Notes

The vast majority of data came directly from Marcus. I have cross-referenced as much as I can and it all seems to check out. In addition, Marcus didn’t just chat to me – he got his accountant to export all the transactions in the film bank account from the moment it was opened to date.

Other data came from Rentrak, the BFI, Box Office Mojo and interviews with Marcus (completed by myself and others printed online already).

Epilogue

I considered cutting this article into multiple parts but I think it serves its function best as one enormously long article.

I’ve known Marcus for a few years now and he has always been candid with this experiences and keen to speak to students of mine. I’m grateful that he was receptive to my idea of publishing the full data, warts and all. Few other filmmakers would be so open and so brave. Thank you, Marcus.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and/or feel you have learned from Marcus’ experiences then for God’s sake buy a copy of the film. As you can see above, he would welcome the sales (plus it’s a fun film from a lovely chap).

Appendix

For those wanting more information about the film, here are a few useful data points…

The Script

Click here to download the script in PDF format

Rating

BBFC details of its 15 certificate.

Full Production Budget

See below for the full budget of the independent feature film ‘Papadopoulos & Sons’.  The only things which have been altered is removing names and combining the cast into one line item, due to requirements from agents.

Click here to download the budget in CSV format.

Full Income to 15th April 2015

See below for the income to date of the independent feature film ‘Papadopoulos & Sons’.  The UK film tax credit (£158,000) is not included as it was paid into a different account.  The items labeled “Deliverables” are repaying Marcus for money he has spent delivering the film to distributors.  They were repaid without mark-up and so therefore are not strictly revenue (I did not include them in the income calculations earlier in the article).

Click here to download the income to date in CSV format.

Feedback on the Film

Synopsis

Self-made businessman Harry Papadopoulos has got it all; a mansion house; awards and a super rich lifestyle. However, on the eve of a property deal of a lifetime, a financial crisis hits and the banks call in their huge loans. Harry and his family lose everything in an instant. Everything, except the dormant and forgotten Three Brothers Fish & Chip Shop half owned by Harry’s larger than life brother Spiros who’s been estranged from the family for years.

With no alternative, Harry and his family, plant enthusiast James; fashion victim Katie; nerdy Theo and their loyal nanny Mrs. Parrington, are forced to pack their bags, leave their millionaire lifestyle and join ‘Uncle Spiros’ to live above the neglected Three Brothers chippie. Together they set about bringing the chip shop back to life under the suspicious gaze of the their old rival, Hassan, from the neighbouring Turkish kebab shop whose son has his own eyes on Katie.

Each family member must come to terms with their new life in their own way and make the most of their reduced circumstances. Harry struggles with the banks to regain his lost business empire, but as the chip shop comes to life and old memories are stirred Harry and his family gradually discover that only when you lose everything are you free to discover it all.

 

The Film Producer’s Masterclass with Stephen Follows takes place at Filmbase 7 – 8 November 2015.

To reserve your place on this course, please contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email  training@filmbase.ie.

Visit the dedicated site online at www.filmproducersmasterclass.com

Info on the course:

In a busy two-day crash course, expert producer Stephen Follows will take you through every step of the filmmaking journey, from idea through to seeing your creation on the big screen.

The Film Producer’s Masterclass is an in-depth course which builds on the skills and knowledge of prospective producers; this weekend will provide attendees with the resources to assist them with developing any project to completion.

Content:

The weekend’s curriculum is based on up-to-date data and case studies, ensuring that you’re making your film the smart way. Topics covered will include:

  • Film Development Strategy
  • Financing and Co-Production
  • Film Budgeting
  • Pre-Production, Production and Post Production
  • Marketing, Distribution and Beyond
  • Producer Career Development

Tutor: Stephen Follows

Stephen teaches film producing at top film schools, coaches senior staff at companies like Google and is an industry leader in film data and statistics. His production work has taken him across Europe, America and even to the Arctic Circle. His most recent feature was Baseline, starring Jamie Foreman, Dexter Fletcher, Zoe Tapper & Gary Stretch. His online videos have 30+ million views and been archived by the British Film Institute. He has produced a number of live events including London Screenwriters Festival, the Super Shorts Film Festival and a Parkour Tour around through 10 countries.

Stephen teaches in the UK and around the world, including at film schools (NFTS, NYU, Met Film School), at bespoke courses (Micro-Budget Mentor, Practical Producer, Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass) and to senior staff within large organisations (Google, National Trust, BBC). Stephen is on the Board of the Central Film School.

He also writes regularly about film data and statistics, with his research being featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, Newsweek, New Statesman, AV Club and Indiewire.

Dates:

  • 7th – 8th November, 1 weekend

Class times:

  • 9:30-5:30

Pricing:

  • €180

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved Street

A big thanks to Stephen for permission to use his article

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Tips: 10 Steps to Make a Feature Film

 

Screenwriter/consultant Danny Stack lays out ten tips to help you make a feature film.

Short films are a great way to learn and have some fun, and hey, maybe kickstart your career. However, the industry is awash with short films, and there’s no real money to be made from the format so it’s probably worth considering ditching the short and start thinking feature.

Previously, I noted ‘you can make a low-budget feature with just a little bit more expense and effort than it takes to make a quality short film’. But even with the affordability of tech/kit nowadays, how do you go about making a feature, especially if it’s an indie project with no industry backing? Well, here’s how Tim and me got Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg in the can.

 

1. Pick Your Genre
Choose an idea/story you know you can do well; something that fits your profile or your previous body of work, plus how you want the industry to view you as you proceed.

2. Start Developing Your Story
With a micro-budget practicality in mind, begin brainstorming your idea from its initial concept to a rough outline, a treatment, a detailed beat sheet, or anything that fleshes out the world of the story so you have a decent grasp on the characters, plot and location(s). This is a video link on how we developed the story for Nelson Nutmeg.

3. No ‘I’ in Team
Start reaching out to local crew, and assemble a core team of people who can get stuff done. Explain to them what you want to achieve, why, and how it’s likely to pan out. Arrange bi-monthly meetings to update progress, tasks and challenges ahead. Hey, you’re in pre-production, no time to dilly daddle! Doesn’t matter that the script isn’t written yet, or that you have no money. Keep momentum going. Crucial at this point: SET A FILMING DATE (or a general target anyway). It’s happening!

4. Budget
Work out how much you can afford to spend and what you can reasonably expect to raise online (via Kickstarter, Indiegogo etc). Friends and family are a great early resource, just to get you started. You may also want to consider small-scale investment possibilities, or perhaps business funding options like Seedrs.

5. Minimal Locations
Still haven’t written that pesky script? It doesn’t matter! You’re a micro-budget filmmaker, you’ve got to do everything yourself or with your core team. But you’ve got your filming date, and you know where the story is set (see stage 2, above), so you can do a recce on where the ideal location is for the film. Note: micro-budget films will generally only have one or two main locations. It mahooisively keeps costs down.

6. Write The Script
Why haven’t you written the script yet? Are you nuts?! Hehe. Better get it done, then. Write that sucker.

7. Casting/Crew
The earlier you start the casting process, the more it will solidify the fact that you’re making this film, not thinking or talking about it. It all adds to the momentum. Reach out to local acting groups or have an open call casting. There’s lots of great talent around, right on your doorstep. You’ll also need to fill all your crew positions, too, if you haven’t done so by now. Sites like Mandy, Talent Circle, Shooting People, Twitter/Facebook, and recommendations/referrals are all useful.

8. Rewrite The Script
That script needs some work, doesn’t it? Well, you’ve got a core team working on your behalf picking up some production tasks, so you can spend some time rewriting the script. Get feedback if you can, bounce it back and forth with someone you trust (this is where having a co-writer helps). You could spend forever mulling over the script but get it to a place you’re happy with, and go.

9. Do A Deal
You’ve chosen/purchased/already got your camera, and sorting/sorted out your locations. Other less exciting factors like insurance, transport and catering will come into play. You can do a deal on all of the above, you just have to ask. We were told we wouldn’t be able to afford locations, transport or catering with our budget, but we did a deal, boom, done.

10. Shoot
Script? Check. Locations? Check. Budget? Check. Cast and crew? Check. Filming date? Check. Shoot your film! We started stage 1 in January 2014, and got to stage 10 by August 2014.

Ha, that was easy! OK, it’s quite a bit of focused time and planning but nowhere near as difficult as you think it might be, especially if you have a co-writer/producer and a good team helping you. It can be done. GO. FOR. IT.

 

Danny Stack has been a screenwriter/consultant since 2001. His television writing credits include EastEnders, Doctors and high-profile children’s shows such as Octonauts, Fleabag Monkeyface, Roy, and the new Thunderbirds for CiTV. Danny also writes/directs (his supernatural thriller, Origin, won Best Horror at the London Independent Film Festival 2012), and he has co-written/directed the live-action children’s film Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? with Tim Clague.

Danny blogs at http://dannystack.com/

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Video: Getting Into Screenwriting, Part 3 – Elevating Your Profile

Danny-directs1

Screenwriter Danny Stack continues his four-part video series, Getting Into Screenwriting with a focus on getting out there, getting to know how the industry works, finding your niche and elevating your profile.

 

 

 

 

Danny Stack has been a screenwriter/consultant since 2001. His television writing credits include EastEnders, Doctors and high-profile children’s shows such as Octonauts, Fleabag Monkeyface, Roy, and the new Thunderbirds for CiTV. Danny also writes/directs (his supernatural thriller, Origin, won Best Horror at the London Independent Film Festival 2012), and he has co-written/directed the live-action children’s film Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? with Tim Clague.

Danny blogs at http://dannystack.com/

 

You can watch part 1 here

You can watch part 2 here

 

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Video: Getting Into Screenwriting, Part 2 – Promoting Yourself

Danny+writing

 

Screenwriter Danny Stack continues his four-part video series, Getting Into Screenwriting, by discussing the benefits of getting online, promoting yourself, time management, and using your hustle.

 

 

Danny Stack has been a screenwriter/consultant since 2001. His television writing credits include EastEnders, Doctors and high-profile children’s shows such as Octonauts, Fleabag Monkeyface, Roy, and the new Thunderbirds for CiTV. Danny also writes/directs (his supernatural thriller, Origin, won Best Horror at the London Independent Film Festival 2012), and he has co-written/directed the live-action children’s film Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? with Tim Clague.

Danny blogs at http://dannystack.com/

 

You can watch part 1 here

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Interview: Paul Young, Producer of ‘Song of the Sea’

paulcartoon_wall_copy

 

Paul Young is co-founder and CEO of Cartoon Saloon and Producer of the Oscar-nominated animated feature Song of the Sea.  Lynn O’Reilly, an animation student at BCFE, caught up with him at the recent Irish VFX + Animation Summit to ask for advice on breaking into the animation industry and the role of the Producer of an animated feature film.

 

Do you have any advice for any animation students who are trying to decide what they want to do when they leave college?

 

It can be hard when you’re young. I was lucky because I went to study in Belfast first and went through lots of different art and design disciplines before I settled on illustration and then on to animation. The best advice I can give is whatever part of it you enjoy most, like you if you enjoy the drawing or the writing the most, just try to draw as much as you can, or write as much as you can. Then get out and about and meet the studios. Try and call in and talk to people who work in those studios. Talk to past students. Try to get to places like Annecy [the International Animation Film Festival] and you’ll meet so many more people from other places and other colleges. And then you suss out more from them. The most important part of the college experience is the people you’re with, the people in your class. Obviously you learn from your tutors and your classes, but you learn more from each other.

 

You’re Producer on Song of the Sea, and the role of Producer is not something people get much of an insight into compared to other roles in the filmmaking process. Would you be able to shed a bit of light on this? What’s involved in being the Producer of an animated feature film?

 

It varies. For big studio films a Producer is more like what we would consider a Line Producer or a Production Manager, and that’s the only thing they do, that’s their one focus. Whereas with smaller studios, as a Producer I’m doing lots of things. I’m not really as hands-on with the day-to-day production like a Line Producer or a Production Manager. I’m trying to get money for the next film, like a Business Director or a Company Director.

Studios do need a lot more Production Managers, because there is a lot of people interested in animation. We’ve hired fantastic people from colleges like Gobelins and colleges in Denmark, who, in their final year, just focused on Production Management and learned how to be producers. Maybe after spending some time studying animation they realized it’s not for them or they’re not getting the skills, and for them there’s a great career to be had in Production Management.

The best people you can find are from colleges who have been through the production process, who know what it’s like to make something themselves, then they’ll understand what it takes. I studied animation and illustration and I never really thought I’d be a Producer. I just kind of fell into it, because we had to find money to fund our projects. I never really got any training. So what I had to do was hire a Production Manager who’d worked on a TV series or hire a Line Producer who’d done a feature film –I’d try and bring them in and at least they might know more about the pitfalls. And now I’ve learned a lot after making a number of films. So really, it’s just about doing it.

 

 

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