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Production Wizard re-launch at The Production Show

February 21st, 2011

Last week was a successful one for Production Wizard as we met with the industry in Earls Court, London for Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) and The Production Show.

The show offers everyone involved in the creation of film, commercials, music videos and television the chance to take a fresh look at this exciting world. With our branding and marketing around the re-launch (click here to read about us in Broadcast magazine, 11.02.2011), it was a perfect time for us to meet users and media professionals to discuss the website and answer any questions.

Apart from having the snazziest stand in the entire hall, we also debuted our new video that explains exactly how Production Wizard can help both bookers and suppliers to manage their contacts and create new networks within the television and film industry.


Posted in: The Weekly Wizard

Who will take the weight of the Film Council?

October 22nd, 2010

With the news that the UK Film Council would be abolished, there were immediate campaigns against the dissolve. Beginning with grass-roots online campaigns, a Facebook page ‘Save the UK Film Council’ is now at 56,268 followers, Twitter feeds and reactions followed, before Dirty Harry himself stepped forward (who had recently shot Hereafter in London) to write a protest letter and in doing so joined other actors including James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Pete Postlethwaite, Damian Lewis, Timothy Spall, Daniel Barber and Ian Holm in campaigning against the Council’s abolition

Last week at the Screen Film Summit, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey spoke on the importance of the British film industry and what he expected to happen post Film Council dissolve. UK Film Council chief executive, John Woodward made remarks about the prospect that Lottery money might be channelled through a UK broadcaster such as the BBC or Channel 4 and questions were asked by industry workers and attendees as to whether money would be thrown into another “government quango” or fairly distributed across the industry?uk-film-council-logo-01a

John McVay, Chief Executive Officer of producers’ organisation PACT, said that PACT “wanted three legs to the funding stool” and that plurality and diversity would necessarily be reduced if Lottery money was disbursed via the BBC or Channel 4 rather than through a separate public funder.

So will Film London be called to take responsibility for the work left over from the Film Council? Will work, effort and responsibility (as well as money) be handed to local screen agencies? As Woodward suggests, “Others will need to adopt the apparatus of what comes with the Film Council’s democratic feeling, from empathy and understanding to their consideration of producers and film makers.” They’ll most certainly have to be a new system to overhaul the current one, afterall, top-slicing the paramount council means redistribution and judicious thought.

What does this mean for production companies and the suppliers who work for these companies? The dancing and turmoil needs to stop, but who is going to profit from waving goodbye to the Film Council. Will anyone?

Watch Ed Vaizey’s address here:


Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news, UK - TV news

UK film industry nearing capacity?

October 14th, 2010

equipmentThere’s something of a movie buzz happening in the UK right now. Our world renowned studios are busy with their television commitments and a sudden influx of preparation and filming for the big screen is happening up-and-down the country. The new Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Captain America and Steven Spielberg’s production of War Horse, are all currently being filmed in the UK.

London and the UK boast some of the best filming locations and facilities in the world. Technicians are reasonably priced compared with the United States and such is the bustling atmosphere, there have been reports of a lack of filming equipment for workers. We have spoken with several cameramen and gaffers who have commented on the lack of available equipment.

On one side, there is a serious issue with the lack of filming equipment available – surely the rental industry must be booming – while another arguement lends itself to the UK filming industry standing in a very healthy position. If more and more productions continue to arrive on these shores then that’s wonderful news for recruitment and industry income. Whether it’s due to tax reasons or simply that the American film industry can atadpt to and adopt our diverse range of locations, it puts our studios and industry in a comfortable environment.

on-location-for-the-filmi-006The service and support offered is also an incentive, with the likes of the UK Film Council, The Office of the British Film Commissioner, The network of UK Screen Agencies and the UK Film Council – US, all lending their support to the creation of films produced and shot in the UK. However, with the government’s recent decision to axe the Film Council, what exactly does this mean for the industry and those professionals who make it all happen?

The news yesterday that Channel 4 has given an extra £5 million to Film Four is fantastic news for not only Film Four and the British movie-making industry, but it’s money that can be invested into producting and nurturing new talent. The investment increases Film Four’s budget by 50 percent, and is enough to produce at least another three or four films a year.

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - TV news

Europe’s first 3D TV channel

October 1st, 2010

Sky 3DEurope’s first dedicated 3D television channel has launched in the UK.

Sky 3D will broadcast for 14 hours every day from around 9am and will show a selection of programmes including premier league football, and films.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas all the big names unveiled new 3D products and was billed by some as a saviour for TV firms.

A monthly subscription fee will be £61 with the cost of an average 3D television around £2,000. Subscribers who pay for the top Sky World HD package will be able to get the service free.

Since the launch of James Cameron’s 3D movie film Avatar late last year, 3D has been in the news like never before.

Most cinemas have at least one 3D film on show all the time, while the launch of this new channel will let people experience it at home for the first time. John Dollin, who’s been developing 3D TV for Sky for the last two years, is confident that it has the wow factor.

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - TV news

Kudos choose Production Wizard

September 10th, 2010

kudos-logo1Kudos Film and Television are the latest company to use Production Wizard to help their production management team save time and money crewing productions.

Suppliers wanting to work for Kudos will now find a link to join Production Wizard from the Kudos website, allowing them to store any interesting profiles in their Production Wizard network. Kudos are the latest of many companies, including RDF Television and Darlow Smithson, to have found a smarter way to manage and grow their talent networks.

More akin to LinkedIn or Facebook than a recruitment site, Production Wizard lets you build and manage your day-to-day supplier network online, sending out targeted and private job requests with a simple click and viewing supplier availability and rates in one place.

How Production Wizard can help your company


Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news, UK - TV news

John Brabourne Comedy Award Winner Announced

August 13th, 2010

comedy_award_winner Newcomer Simon Stratton has won the 2010 John Brabourne ‘Big 5’ Comedy Award with his screenplay Get Miles.

The Cardiff-based screenwriter will now have his script made into a short film, funded by the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF). He will also receive a cash prize of £1,000 from Working Title.

Stratton said he was ‘ecstatic’ to have won: “It’s very hard at the moment to be a new writer and so it’s nice to have someone take a punt on you.”

John Brabourne was one of Britain’s most prolific producers with an illustrious career spanning four decades and twenty seven films. He was the father of Production Wizard Chairman, Timothy Knatchbull, and Production Wizard are very proud to be sponsoring the Newcomer Award.

The winner of the John Brabourne Newcomer Award will receive £1,000 and free use of the Production Wizard website for a year.

Stratton’s film, which follows the life of the unlucky main character, will be made with the support of the ‘Big 5’ award sponsors: Kodak, Technicolor, Pinewood Studios, Arri Media and n2o Entertainment. CTBF and the UK Film Council will fund the production.

Norma Burke of n2o Entertainment compiled the shortlist from over 200 entries and was impressed by the quality of the writing.

One of the categories for the competition was transitional talent and Burke felt that the awards will encourage stand-up comedians, theatre and TV writers to cross over to film writing in the future.

For more information on The John Brabourne Awards:

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard

Crewing Up Time… the media recruitment landscape is shifting

August 6th, 2010

Networking WebsitesProduction Base recently unveiled a new look whilst Broadcast Freelancer earlier this year promised ‘Radical changes’. Are we about to see a major shift in the online recruitment landscape? The answer is yes, but not from either of the aforementioned websites. Both still ask for an upfront payment from ‘candidates’ to simply create their online ‘profile’, thereby missing out on the demonstrable value (witness Facebook, Linked-in) delivered by offering a level playing field to members on which to build useful business networks.

Despite their youthful, iPhone touting credentials, TV and film production professionals have been surprisingly slow to apply new technology to the day-to-day management of their talent networks – whether freelance or companies. It’s not to say that they aren’t willing. Media professionals and production management in particular, are much more likely than many other industries to mix business with pleasure, joining groups and forums on Facebook et al. And many Production Companies have invested in databases to keep track of companies and freelancers that they’ve worked with, not least to meet health & safety and employment law requirements.

So perhaps there just isn’t a product or service ‘out there’ that captures their imagination or that understands the unique anatomy of the industry: its language, its reliance on teams, short deadlines and its often erratic hours? And that the current industry networking offerings rely upon payment for inclusion sets an unnatural barrier to the growth of useful organic networks? Their ‘no entry without payment’ model (often a pretty large sum of hard earned -or not yet earned- cash) inevitably skews the market, driving the submission of hundreds of CVs for every role posted by candidates no doubt keen to get their money’s worth from their subscription.

So the spirit is willing but the services on offer are weak? We certainly think so. Here at Production Wizard we are quietly aiming to deliver a revolution. We want to offer the industry a level playing field for talented professionals. A free platform where employers can create and manage their network of trusted suppliers. And looking towards the Autumn, somewhere that they can share job requirements or supplier feedback with colleagues, and assess supplier credentials based on credits, recommendations or number of employer connections. We want to create a vibrant and accessible community in which Production companies can manage and grow the talent networks the industry depends upon. Could we have the answer? We hope so.

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news, UK - TV news

UK Government Shuts UK Film Council

July 30th, 2010

dcms-logoThe Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) plan to abolish the UK Film Council and the news has caused outrage across the UK film industry with the likes of Mike Leigh, Liam Neeson and its Chairman, Tim Bevan CBE, all speaking out regarding the decision.

Bevan called the decision, “imposed without any consultation or evaluation,” while Neeson called the government’s decision to axe the UK Film Council as “deplorable”.

The government announced on Monday that it is to abolish the Council as part of a cost-cutting drive by the DCMS. The Film Council was set up by the Labour government to develop and promote the British film industry. Funded by the National Lottery, it channelled around £160m into more than 900 films over the last 10 years, including Bend It Like Beckham, The Last King of Scotland and this year’s hit, Streetdance 3D.

Online petitions have been set up to hopefully save the Council and work in the same vain as the Save 6 Music campaigns. The online petition now has nearly 10,500 members and a Facebook group called Save the UK Film Council has also been created, which currently has almost 17,000 supporters – with 10,000 supporters apparently signing up within the first 24 hours.

The page’s description reads: “Join this group and pass on the message to show Mr Hunt that stripping away potential for our future film-makers is a huge mistake for one of the world’s most creative countries.”

Without the UK Film Council the UK film industry loses a huge amount of support and funding and the cull of such an important institution throws greater strain on young talent as well as writers, directors and ‘budding filmmakers’.

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news

Tough Times for UK Indies

July 23rd, 2010

UK Film Council Statistical YearbookThis week the UK Film Council stated that the number of feature films funded in the UK fell from 77 in 2008 to 71 in 2009. The figures were released as part of the Film Council’s first fully-searchable website with comprehensive statistics.

Median budgets for UK domestic feature films also fell from £1.7 million in 2008 to £1.5 million in 2009.

“Overall it’s clear that British cinema has been weathering the global recession well,” said UK Film Council chief executive John Woodward. He added that the sectors of production, distribution and exhibition were “firing on all cylinders”.

For a small country, the UK film industry has an astonishing creative track record. Of the top 200 global box office successes of 2001-2009, 30 films are based on stories and characters created by UK writers, which together have earned more than $16 billion at the worldwide box office.

The UK Film Council report showed that independent UK films were at their most popular in 2009 – both in the UK and global markets – since records began.

As mentioned on the BBC website this week, with the success of films such as Slumdog Millionaire, indie films took 8.2% of the UK and 2.3% of the global market share. Other top performers included Nativity and The Young Victoria.UK Film Council

The Film Council report also showed that British film talent – including actors, writers, directors and crew – continued to shine on the international stage. Some 14% of all major awards won around the world between 2001-2009 were won by British films and talent.

John Woodward commented that, “Low budget independent production is a tough business – it always has been,” noting that figures for the first half of 2010 showed a continuing pressure on smaller film production. The marketplace for financing small and independent films has always been difficult and the recent economic slowdown has not helped the situation, along with world broadcasters paying less for feature films and the slow erosion of the DVD market.

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news

CNN Snap Up Piers Morgan. The PMA Network At Summer Party.

July 16th, 2010

piersmorganThe former Daily Mirror editor, Piers Morgan, is reportedly poised to replace veteran talk show host Larry King on American news channel CNN. According to The Sun newspaper, Morgan has signed a £5.5m, four-year deal with CNN to replace King. This follows reports in the US media that NBC had agreed to share Morgan with CNN, clearing the way for negotiations to begin. Morgan is contracted to NBC as a judge on America’s Got Talent. CNN has been losing a ratings war with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and it is hoped that Morgan can gain ground on the competing news channel.

King, aged 76, announced his retirement last month and a host of rivals, many of them better recognised in America, were in the running to replace him on his nightly interview slot. They included American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and CBS News presenter Katie Couric. King was even reported saying he wouldn’t recognise Piers Morgan “if he saw him walking down the street”.

larrykingMorgan, 45, who recently celebrated his marriage to Daily Telegraph journalist Celia Walden, is believed to have impressed CNN executives with his bold and direct interviewing style. Talks were complicated by Morgan’s commitments to NBC. His NBC contract prevented him from taking on extra work that clashed with the show, but this has now reportedly been resolved.

Back in the UK, the BBC announced this week that Gwyneth Williams has been appointed controller of BBC Radio 4 and Radio 7. Ms Williams was, until recently, director of the BBC World Service’s English programming. She will replace Mark Damazer, who is moving on after six years to become head of St Peter’s College Oxford. Her most pressing issue is likely to be the succession process on the station’s biggest show, Today. BBC political editor, Nick Robinson, has been tipped for a permanent presenting role on the programme.

img_4409And finally, some of the industry’s leading production managers gathered on Wednesday evening in Notting Hill for the PMA (Production Manager’s Association) summer party. Sponsored by Production Wizard, the members made the most of what seems to be left of the English summer and were able to relax and converse over champagne and canapés.

The PMA provides invaluable information and support for its Members, regular social events, workshops and training courses. “Within the Film and Television Industry the Association provides a unique network for both freelance and permanently employed Production Managers.”

For photographs from the evening visit our News section and Facebook page:

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Posted in: International - Film & TV news, The Weekly Wizard

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