Monday, 4 February 2013

From Gate Crasher to Gate Keeper?

One of the things I was alluding to in my New Year's post has now been finalised. As of now, amongst the other things I do, I will now be working as Head of Development for Viva Films.

As I mentioned at the beginning of January, it takes me in a slightly different direction, but in truth, it really continues and builds on what I've already been doing for quite a while.

Viva Films and John Goldschmidt in particular are people I've come to know very well over the last few years and my transition is really one from being a freelance help to the company - as well of course as writing for them, to taking on a more active, day to day, official position.

I believe British films should make money, because that is the only way to grow a sustainable industry. Box office returns are impossible to predict, despite what Sales Companies would have financiers believe. But at the very least, we need to try and make films that people actually want to go out and see. But I also believe films should have something to say, even if that is just in a general thematic sense, and not a didactic message.  

And I don't think those two are mutually exclusive. I think Viva Films has an incredibly exciting slate that is trying to do that and I also hope there is room to add one or two projects. But overall, it was very clear early on that theirs was a philosophy and vision that I shared, and so taking this role was the logical next step.

It's up to me now to find a balance between what I do and how I divide my time, and I will definitely continue working on my own projects because that's what I love and that's why I got into any of this in the first place.

What it might mean, as I suggested in January, was that I blog less (and to be honest it's been slowly declining for a while!) Time management is very important, especially for freelancers and in my screenwriter guise, that's what I still am. So sometimes things have to give and in truth I was running out of steam with this blog anyway.

But it did occur to me that most of the blogs I follow are by screenwriters and script readers/editors/consultants. Very few, if any, are by people on the other side of the desk. And I've learnt an incredible amount about the industry from my relationship with Viva Films, that has undoubtedly influenced and helped my writing. So, as the whole point of this blog in the first place was to filter down useful information, tips and advice, to writers coming up behind me, it seems like there is still scope to do that, but maybe from a slightly different angle.

Having said that, the film industry is a precarious business. Just when things look like they are in the bag and greenlit, multiple rugs can be pulled from under you. And I think especially because it's a creative industry, confidentiality can often be paramount. So naturally I will be extremely careful about what I say and when I say it. But hopefully some useful things will still emerge, even if it's just every now and then.

Happy writing.


Rob said...

Congrats on the new gig, Jez. That's brilliant. I hope you'll find time to continue blogging, especially now you'll have this whole other perspective to comment from.

Jez Freedman said...

cheers rob. plan to. we'll see how it goes. hope all is well with you