Production Residential - Lizzie Oxby (April 2015)
Over the last couple of months, it’s been stimulating to meet both Kate Leys and Andrea Cornwell, who have given me some great advice on how best to proceed with my project.
During my last meeting with script editor Kate Leys, we discussed paring down my story. At first I felt slightly daunted by the task, especially when Kate suggested to write the story with five characters, to help condense the story. This is roughly half the characters I’d initially had. But I soon realized, by combining some of the characters, I had more to play with. The characters had become richer, more rounded individuals. And now, thinking how these more complex characters will be forced to reveal their secrets, seems more exciting.
I next met up with Andrea Cornwell, who gave a producer’s eye on the project. I hadn’t met Andrea before, so it was great to meet with her to speak about my film - not only in terms of story, but also what made it distinctive to me as a filmmaker. As we began to talk about the vision and tone of the film, I showed Andrea a visual document I'd already made with images of the world and characters. I’d initially created it to help me write the story, to help navigate around the world. As Andrea responded really positively to it, she suggested how it could easily be tailored to become part of the production pack, and what type of additional information to include.
We then moved on to talk about who the audience was for the film. I’ve always thought the story, being a male led thriller, would attract a more male audience, but also hoped it would also appeal to women; and the meetings later with distribution expert, Julia Short confirmed that to be the case. I remember leaving Andrea smiling, as I went on to say how someone had once described my work as having ‘male appeal, with a touch of lady’ - and I guess my film continues in the same vein :) Armed with Andrea’s helpful tips on how best to pitch the project, I had a very clear idea on how to prep for the informal round table meetings with producers the following week – I found I was really looking forward to it.
Before the meetings, my fellow five Risers and I got on-line to rehearse our pitches. I’ve never been on a group Skype call. So seeing us on the screen in the little windows, made it look like the titles of The Brady Bunch, as we helped each other with feedback on our pitches. I’d prepared a couple of versions of my pitch, varying in length, and decided to go with most concise.
All the preparation made meeting with producers a really enjoyable experience. Many generously gave practical advice on the best way to proceed. Others suggested financial routes to consider. It proved to be a great opportunity to gauge the interest in my project. I had a lot of good feedback, and hope to follow up with some of them later in the year.