25 January, 2011

A Week with Film Agency for Wales

So I'm in Cardiff this week, where I haven't been for about nine years, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! The Film Agency for Wales was kind enough to have me 'round for a week of script development experience. Thus far it's been bloody brilliant! I can't talk about specific scripts, but it's been rockin' to see how things come together, how stories get funded, and how many people are involved in the daily process and creation of a film.

Yesterday I met Tracy Spottiswoode and Adam Partridge, and they investigated my purpose for the week, and what I hoped to get out of it. Honestly, I was just looking for some experience and exposure.  Whilst doing a PhD involving film practice, it's hard sometimes to put what you're doing into context. It's very easy to get stuck in the theory and discussion, and forget how it actually happens, so I was super grateful just to sit quietly at a desk and see how the office functions. 

But I'm getting a heck of a lot more than that.

On just the first day I went along with Tracy and Adam to meet with a writer that they are interested in supporting. The agency supports Welsh talent or projects, basically, but it is quite competitive and thus far I've been most impressed that what they focus on is the STORY. Not the product tie-ins, not the marketing,  not the money-making pitch, it's about the story; the characters, the voice... it's refreshing to hear so much care and interest about the projects! The writer just spoke for about 30 or 40 minutes about three ideas she had mulling around in her head, and after each one, we would list pros and cons, references to things that might help her develop the ideas into a tight, cohesive script. The whole meeting was just a focused, organized brainstorming session about how to make neat ideas better. Fab.

Today was all in the office, more 'mundane' work but I still found it infinitely interesting as I could see what projects are on their slate, what the range of topics they focus on (everything from comedy to musicals, documentaries and fiction), and the range of funds required for involvement as well as full, detailed budgets and how funds are dispersed once a film starts making money (assuming it makes money!). 

So I've read six scripts thus far, I've three more to read tonight, and the next three days are filled with development meetings. I'm wicked grateful for the opportunity, and I hope they don't mind me being around! Plus they're so stinkin' nice! Yay UK Film culture. They're wicked supportive and friendly thus far... I'm gonna stick with the conviction that they're all nice and supportive.  I'm loving sitting in on these meetings and being encouraged to share my thoughts as well, thus making me contemplate some more work in script development after the PhD is done. We shall see...

Added bonus? It's like two blocks from Torchwood's base :)

More at the end of week, most likely!

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