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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:

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

Submit a short film and win £10,000

September 16th, 2010

postcard_docfest2If you are a budding Director or Script Writer Sheffield Doc/Fest are holding a competition to find the best three minute short film. There’s a professional category to help you set yourself apart from the hoi polloi and you could win £10,000. The deadline is in October but enter before Friday 17th September and you could also be the lucky winner of an Ipad.


The top ten  shortlisted entries will be shown at Sheffield Doc/fest where the winner will also be announced. Find out how to apply on the Production Wizard jobs page. Good luck!

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Posted in: UK - Film 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

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

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

Soho Runners in a Pink Fluster

July 9th, 2010

img00001-20100708-1722The Vision Charity Soho Fun Run returned this year and witnessed more teams and three-legged race runners from the TV and film industry weave their way through the streets of Soho, stopping off at points to collect their drinks and raise funds and awareness for the Vision Charity and its sterling work with blind, visually impaired and dyslexic children.

Production Wizard’s stand stood out from the crowd with its pink theme and white balloons and we handed out pink Prosecco to continue the trend and quench the thirst of the runners. It’s fair to say, that on their arrival to the Square and finishing stop, the charity runners were in high spirits from spirits.

We met with the runners and discussed how Production Wizard can help to make production bookings and job searches easier, from sourcing freelance suppliers quickly and easily to comparing the freelance rate market and saving bookers time and money when crewing up for productions.img00009-20100708-1828

The party continued well into the night in Soho Square with drinks being served and the band playing to the eager dancers. Boos rang out as the band packed away, before taking again to the stage for one more song as Love Shack had the runners, sponsors and event organisers up and grooving.

For more pictures from the event and info on Production Wizard, see our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/productionwizard and follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/productionwiz

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news

Hoffman Takes To Director’s Chair for British Comedy

May 28th, 2010
Dustin Hoffman

Hoffman on the BBC's Friday Night With Jonathan Ross

At The Cannes Film Festival the BBC announced that Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman will make his official directorial debut with a British comedy entitled Quartet. The film will star British acting legends Dame Maggie Smith and Albert Finney in a tale about ageing opera singers who are reunited, after a disagreement in their youth, in a retirement home. Written by Oscar-winner Ronald Harwood, the film will follow events that culminate in the one-off reunion concert of a once world-famous foursome of opera singers.

Although Hoffman is listed as an unaccredited director of 1978 film Straight Time, this is his first official foray into directing.

The BBC also announced plans for a film about Charles Dickens, an adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s book We Need to Talk About Kevin and a project from writer and director of In the Loop, Armando Iannucci.

Commenting on the line-up, BBC Films creative director Christine Langan said, “I’m really proud of the range, quality and diversity of our slate. These collaborations, alongside Vertigo’s Streetdance 3D represent our determination to deliver as eclectic, innovative and dynamic a mix as possible from established and brand new talent.”

Other projects include Three Sixty, from screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Deal, The Queen), which has been described as a “multi-stranded tale of love and sexual obsession”.

All thoroughly exciting and wonderful news for the BBC and British film industry.

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

He’s Shiny and Gold and 13½ Inches High!

March 5th, 2010

academy-awards2

We’re approaching that time of the year again when the industry’s attention turns to Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre and to the 82nd Academy Awards. Interest and anticipation builds as we wait to find out who will cement their place in history. And not forgetting the detail: Who’s speech will be overly long?, Who will cry? Who is wearing Armani? Gucci? Will this be the year that an Animated Feature wins Best Film? And will a Native North American Indian take to the stage as an actor’s protest?

There will be gongs for both those in front of and behind the camera; Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Screenplay Writing, are all categories listed for Oscars, making the event a true celebration for the motion picture industry and not just about actors, actresses and celebrities.

And the process is rigorous. The Academy’s roughly 6,000 members vote for the Oscars using secret ballots, which are then tabulated by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The auditors maintain absolute secrecy until the moment the show’s presenters open the envelopes and reveal the winners on live television. Dun, dun, dun….

Although it measures just 13½ inches high, the Oscar statuette stands tall as the motion picture industry’s greatest honour. Officially named the Academy Award® of Merit, the Oscar is given in recognition of the highest level of achievement in moviemaking.

And what else…The first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. 270 people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the Blossom Room; with tickets costing around $5. However, there was little suspense when the awards were presented as the recipients had already been announced three months earlier.

And the winner is? The UK’s BAFTA’s may have given an indication as to who will be walking away with what on the night, but until the envelopes are opened it is still very much in the balance. Here are our predictions for the top six nods:

Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”

Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Directing: “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow

Best Picture: “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

soho-fun-run2And finally in some interesting UK news, a battered Doctor Who Dalek – with missing parts – was sold for more than £20,000 at auction last week. It drew the highest price at the sale of 160 props from the TV show at Bonhams in London. The price tag was three times the estimated £7,000. And if you attended last year’s Soho Fun Run you will have seen the Doctor’s tardis on the Production Wizard stall. It’s the only way for a Wizard to travel!

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard, UK - Film news

The Kent Film Fund

September 10th, 2009

kent-posterThe Garden Of England, more generally known as the UK county of Kent, has just announced its own film development and production fund.

The Kent Development Fund, launched by Kent County Council, has been set up to compete on level ground with the other film funds operating throughout the country with a £200,000 a year fund which is open to applications for development and production of feature films and TV series, and to contribute towards training in the area.

The fund came about after the successful production of Brenda Blethyn starrer, The Calling, filmed in various locations in the county and partly funded by Kent County Council to the tune of £75,000.

It’s hoped the fund will attract further investment from, regional development agencies, private investors and European film funds which will go towards promoting the county as a growing, south of England location for film and TV projects.

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Posted in: UK - Film news

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