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What do you need from Creative England?

As Head of Film at Creative England, I’m looking to hear from filmmakers about the funding and support they need to progress their careers, particularly towards first feature.

We've got an annual film budget of £3.5m to distribute, much of it through the Talent Centres that have just been set up as part of the UK wide BFI NET.WORK, as well through initiatives such as iShorts and iFeatures. Feel free to ask me questions about funding, what Creative England are looking for in potential projects/talent, and what you personally think we should be doing more of.

  • One thing I've noticed is that there is a lot of emphasis on shooting, and not much on selling.

    At low budgets even if the feature producer does set aside a marketing budget, production cost overruns turn it into a contingency fund and eat it.

    I'd like to see CE offer something like an exhibitors area at AFM at which British movie makers could try and sell their films. NOT FREE, but the group presence equates to higher profile than any individual could manage, and perhaps also savings could be made re block booked hotels, flights etc.

    I haven't done the math, but if those savings amounted to 10% and a subsidy of say 30% was provided, that would still ensure that it took real belief in your product to attend, but makie it more affordable to do so.

    I chose AFM rather than Cannes because the logistics of Cannes hotels seem very horrific unless you know months in advance exactly how many rooms you need.

    As I see it, a bunch of Uk people making and selling 50-100K movies would soon be a bunch of people doing it for 400K and paying everyone properly as well, if they had the sales support.

    4 years ago
  • whats the best way to approach you with a feature proposal?

    4 years ago
  • I agree completely with the advent of VOD there is now a large need for content but what film makers, fledgling producers need is support with bringing our films to the attention of potential buyers and hopefully this will lead to budgets for smaller projects where people can paid a decent wage and so the skill base increase's across the UK. Film festivals are costing more and more each year and there are now 1000's of submissions from across the world, it is harder to get project noticed. Events organised by CE to promote projects to buyers would at least help producers make contacts and learn how the 'dark' side of the business works even if their current project is not sold. Its all about creating contacts!

    4 years ago
  • Hi Richard, it really depends upon whether you're looking for development or production support. Our film pages - www.creativeengland.co.uk/film - contains details of the funds that are currently open as well as the other support that we offer. I'd suggest that you have browse and download the various guidelines. If you think that a particular fund might be suitable for you and your project, then you'll need to complete and submit a short application online.

    As a small team, we have to prioritise formal submissions - we get a lot ! - so we're not able to read and feedback on scripts, etc that people send in on spec. The team do however continually track new and upcoming filmmaking talent via sites like Shooting People.

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris, My name is Trevor Hardy and I am a stopmotion animator. I run my own animation company here in the UK, called FoolHardy Films.

    I have noticed that the budget/funding for great British animation seems to be non exsistant? No funding anywhere? I think it is a real shame that animation cannot get funding unless it has a load of advertising and merchandise backing. This is great for the 'Wallace& Gromit productions' and I know that people are in this business to make dosh & as much of it as they can...but if the funding for projects can only ever depend on who much 'Plush' will be made on the back end of it, what chance do us (Little Fish) animators/film makers stand? We have fantastic ideas for animations, where's my Christmas day BBC 1 Animation special? I have stories, I have talent...what I don't have is a past track record of seroius merchamndise sales....this is why the same studios produce all the work year after year..is this fair?

    What do you think please Chris?

    Trev.

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris, I'm a senior producer in factual television with a couple of feature length projects in development. We are London based so we would be applying via your enterprise fund. What sort of criteria/projects are CE looking to fund at the moment?
    Thank you

    4 years ago
  • I'd like CE to consider ways of supporting minority groups who are not getting a chance to get their voices heard in the media. I'm currently writing a book about the lack of female directors - 'Celluloid Ceiling' - and there seems to be a long way to go before they'll be equality in the film industry. I'd like CE to actively support and encourage minority groups and make a commitment to change.

    4 years ago
    • Being from an ethnic minority myself, I coudn't agree more with Melody Bridges, I run a small production company called H264 Media. Last year we applied for funding from majority of the funding bodies including London Film Plus and got rejected....

      4 years ago
  • Hi Chris
    Thanks for lending your ears and eyes to the shooting people forum. As second generation ethnic minority and an independent filmmaker, I can't really see any solid funding platform to encourage and support ethnic minority filmmakers like there is in the United States.

    We have stories to tell, niche as they might be, however they are rich stories about our experiences as ethnic minorities, human stories that both the international & local community need to hear. Far too often ethnic minority filmmakers fall into (in the words of Chuka Umunna) "Lazy stereotypes"

    I know far too many filmmakers who have been trained in World class institutions across UK & Europe, who have both the technical craft and creative skills to tell these stories that have huge potentials of inspiring audiences across the globe but I'm afraid there is not enough support in the UK for people like us and I'd like to see that change in 2014...

    Thanks

    4 years ago
  • I personally would like to see more done for people starting out in their careers, especially if they don't already have connections, or if they are not based in London. I am originally from the West Midlands, where people there feel they are often ignored, hence the campaign to get more equal distributuion in TV license money. Luckily, I got onto this years Channel 4 Production trainee scheme, 6 years after graduating from University, although I am now based in London. I would like to see more opportunities for people at this end of the scale.

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,
    I'd like to see more development of talent for 'below the line' film crew, not just writers, directors and writer/directors. It would be great to have more in terms of training, mentoring and support, particularly in the regions (I live in the South West).
    Thanks,
    Chris

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris

    As someone who's directed quite a few shorts (which have done well on festival circuits), worked as an AD on features and written/developed scripts I've found that I've not really got anywhere with funding schemes (bar a council short years ago). I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong and was wandering if there's any advice you'd have for what to focus on. i.e is it the script, the script, the script, is it the team, is it the background?

    Thanks for your time

    4 years ago
    • Hi Tor,

      Is this funding schemes for more shorts or for feature film development/production ?

      C

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll

      feature development and production

      4 years ago
    • @Tor Kristoffersen Hi Tor, If you're looking for script development monies, then there are three things that we looking for 1. Quality of the Idea. What makes it distinctive, original, stand out from the crowd ? Why will it feel fresh to an audience and what elements will contribute to its creative and commercial success. 2. About You. Why do you want to write/direct this film? What qualities/abilities have you already demonstrated in your writing/work that are relevant to this project. Usually we'll ask for a writing sample and if a director a reel. We need to see that the talent has a reasonable chance of writing/executing the idea. 3. What traction/support does the project/you already have ? Do you have any key collaborators, existing industry connections ? Is there a producer already involved ?

      For production funding, we'd always want to see the script that was ready to take out for packaging, a director and producer attached. We'd also want to see a finance plan, draft budget/schedule and an outline sales/distribution strategy plan... even if its still fairly nascent.

      4 years ago
  • Hi All, sorry for the short delay in responding but I've been in transit all day.

    To take each post in turn:

    Marlom: It's a little unclear from your post whether you're thinking of selling completed product or pre-selling films that are still looking to close financing. Do you want to expand ? In my experience, buyers at the main markets prefer to deal with professional sellers - sales agents etc - rather than with individual producers - as they tend to have a catalogue of product and have the expertise/resources to close the negotiation quickly, paper the deal as well as ensure that all the necessary delivery/marketing materials are available and have been QC'd. I can think of a couple of instances where some producers who haven't been able to place their films with sales agents have clubbed together and hired a freelancer to rep their films under a collective banner. Again, this individual has tended to have good buyer relationships and give confidence that they can manage the intricacies of licencing what are even for micro budget films, quite complicated bundles of rights, If you're looking for market attendance/export support, it would be worth looking at what UK Trade and Industry might provide in terms of support.

    John Q: It's worth having a look at London UK Film Focus (LUFF) which is run by Film London and takes place in June each year. They've introduced the Breakthrough strand that showcases completed feature film projects from emerging British film-makers seeking sales representation and provides sales companies, buyers and film festival directors from across the globe the chance to monitor upcoming talent.

    Trevor: I can't really speak for the broadcasters as each has it's own commissioning policy for animation series and specials. However, I do think it's fantastic that the UK Govt recently introduced a tax credit for animation as well as for high end drama and games. It was long overdue. I also know that the BFI Film Fund has recently commissioned some research into how it can best support animation and there will hopefully be some announcements soon.

    Emma: From your post, I'm not sure that our Film Enterprise fund is the one you should be looking at. I'd direct you towards the Talent Centres which can provide development support to first -time feature filmmakers or to our Lottery Production Funds if you're seeking production support. Bear in mind with the latter that we are looking for projects that can evidence significant English regional (Out Of London) elements. This is to help shift the centre of gravity a little away from London towards other parts of England. As always, the guidelines for each fund give all the necessary information about eligibility etc.

    Melody and Dayo: We recognise that we need to make much more effort to engage with and support diverse talent in terms of geography, gender, ethnicity, LGBT, disability and socio economic. We'll have completed six months of operations across our various funds in March and hope to then have a baseline that we can use to set some ambitious targets for the next three years. Ultimately we want the applications that we received (and the awards that we make) to be much more representative of the English population. Apart from anything else, having a more diverse pool of talent means that we'll see much more diversity in the stories we watch. That's got to be good thing :)

    David: We hope that the Talent Centres that we've established with the BFI as part of the new NET.WORK will create more opportunities and connections for talent that is just starting out. Our attention for the last few months has been of getting the feature film development and shorts funding strands up and running but in a month or so's time, we'll start rolling out a monthly masterclasses, workshop and networking programme in the two centres in Sheffield and Brighton. We'll then look to develop a version of this in other key cities (including Birmingham) The BFI is also working on a virtual platform for the NET.WORK which will be available to all and should compliment what we and other partners in Scotland, Wales and Ireland can offer on the ground. I really hope that this much more joined upend coherent approach will make it easier for talent, particularly from outside London to connect with peers, with support organisations and with industry.

    Chris: You're right that my team is primarily focussed on supporting writers, directors and producers but the Creative England Production and Locations team does provide a range of services to crew based Outside of London ranging from the crew database to their highly successful Crew Nights. I think they're also looking to expand the regionally based Crew Masterclasses that they piloted with BAFTA last year. There's an item about these on our website www.creativeengland.co.uk/index.php/2012... and its worth following their twitter feed @cenglandprodn. We're also in the process of linking production/craft trainees schemes directly to our production funding awards. Creative Skillset remains the place to go if you're looking for training support.

    4 years ago
  • I was thinking of completed movies. Though no doubt the attendees would be telling a great story about the small amount of funding needed for their next project, and networking like hell :-)

    DTI - sounds sensible, but I think it would still be best if umbrella'd under CE. An "en mass" presence simply has more impact.

    The paperwork side is a point well made, and perhaps as part of qualifying for the CE Group a producer would have to have all these ducks in order. Perhaps CE would provide a vetting service as part of the package.

    cheers

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,


    Thanks for the reply, Yeah the tax break is good, and I'm very pleased that it wqill hopfully mean most UK talent stays here.

    The BFI thing sounds very promising, I will keep an eye out for that. Thanks again Chris and all the best for 2014.

    4 years ago
  • Hello Chris
    I have two finished features, Archie and No Smoke.My production company is Catch Me Films Ltd. We are based in Herts.We need help to move forward.I think we match your criteria, so I will be making an application. Thank you for bringing your enterprise fund to our attention.Happy New Year!

    4 years ago
  • Ideally I'd like to see more transparency in the application process. I appreciate you guys have a very broad remit and many submissions to read but it often feels like a bit of a hit and hope exercise. I also fully appreciate you can only judge what's put in front of you but I often find myself pretty frustrated that ten years of production experience with awards won in lots of different types of production seem to count for nothing. With no feedback on submissions and no opportunity to pitch face to face I've become completely disillusioned with the whole process and just went off and did it on my own as I was bored of writing application after application in vain. I guess I'm hoping that the new systems you're putting in place might address this but I suspect probably not, there are just too many mouths to feed.

    4 years ago
    • Hi Robin, I'm sorry to hear that your past experiences have not been positive though i'm not sure if those were with Creative England or other funding agencies. We do try to give constructive feedback on submissions that we decline but it's not always possible due to time constraints and in certain circumstances not always appropriate. All submissions are reviewed and discussed collectively by the team and there are a very wide range of backgrounds, tastes and experiences round the table. Sometimes we also use external readers if we feel that another viewpoint is needed. However assessment, particularly around matters of creative merit, remains largely subjective and it wouldn't necessarily be fair for us to feedback that, in our view, a project needs this or that work when another funder/company might love it just as it is !

      A significant change that we are bringing is for both of our Senior Talent Execs - Celine Haddad and Paul Ashton - to issue regular overviews on the kinds of submissions we're receiving and to give some pointers as to common mistakes/oversights, things that we're seeing to much/too little of, etc. For example, we've just reviewed 376 applications to iShorts and that gives us a very valuable (and privileged) insight into various talent demographics and storytelling trends. We definitely want to share some observations on these in the next month.


      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll
      Hi Chris. It would be great to have more support and guidance on distribution. I've got a feature project that I'm trying to get up and running but it seems very difficult to get distribution support in the initial stages when the film hasn't actually been made. It seems - by conversations that I've had with a very helpful member of you team, that to get production funding from Creative England, you have to show that you have commercial support and interest from distributors at the early stages to be considered seriously for funding. But if you have no feature track record (this is my first feature) or reputation in this field, or an agent (many distributors say no unsolicited scripts) then you fall at the first hurdle and can't get funding to make your film. Your team member suggested that I go for development funding and I understand that if you get this then you are helped to put a package together that will encourage distributors etc. Can Creative England give us you give us more pointers/advice on distribution when your film has no finance and is still at script/rehearsal stage?

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll hi Chris, that sounds like a great idea. On the flip side it's probably right that I wasn't successful as I'm only just beginning to feel like I know what a 'Robin Schmidt' film actually is but I just feel happiest pitching in person, paper applications always feel like an essay competition.

      4 years ago
    • Hi Katherine, just to clarify. We operate two production funds - Lottery and West Midlands Production Fund (WMPF) - and our take on sales/distribution is different for each. As the Lottery Fund is targeted at 1st/2nd time feature film directors and more established directors looking to experiment with new approaches, we recognise that it may be hard to formally attach a sales agent or distributor up front rather than once a film has been delivered. Even harder (some would say well nigh impossible !) to get any money upfront by way of a pre-sale or minimum guarantee unless you have an exceptional cast or other market hook in place. However, we do ask, as part of our submission, that you provide an outline audience/distribution/sales plan in show that you and your creative team have some sense how the film will find its audience and get distributed. For example, is it a film that will appeal to a particular demographic ? Is it festival driven ? Does it have any cross-platform/media potential etc ? Which distributors do you think might be particularly interested/suitable of the film ? Effective packaging and positioning of a film are critical part of the producers role and my advice would always be to find a producing partner who has this expertise/knowledge or to equip yourself through some of the training courses out there such a Audience On Demand.

      CE is also looking to do some sales/distributor focussed workshops as part of the Talent Centres activity that we'll be launching in a couple of months.

      Typically, I've found that the indie distributors are usually pretty generous to newer talent in terms of giving feedback on scripts and packaging (particularly casting) but it's very important that you only send your script and materials out to them when they're ready to share and you've got something tangible to sell.

      Unlike Lottery, the WMPF is a commercially focussed fund which means that it is more driven by recoupment/commercial return. Having a clear route to market/return through the formal attachment of a sales agent and ideally UK distributor is therefore more important for projects looking for support from this Fund.

      Richard Holmes who runs both funds was a well-established indie producer (with credits including Waking Ned, Eden Lake and Jadoo) so he really does understand the problems faced by producers and will aim where possible to give good advice even to films that for whatever reason we feel that we can't directly invest in.

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll Thanks Chris, that's really useful.

      4 years ago
  • It is good to hear that you will be offering some sort of feedback from submissions, as I agree with Robin that the process involves a lot of work on our behalf and to get a simple formatted response is not good enough. As CE is supposed to support the film industry rather than being a out and out film production business I feel feedback and more information from CE is crucial in helping film makers move forward in with their careers.

    4 years ago
    • Hi John, we recognise that any submission requires work even though we hope that we made the forms pretty streamlined and easy to understand. I'd hope that people feel that the act of communicating their ideas and approach in 1000 to 1500 words does, in itself, help to refine and hone their vision and thinking around a project.

      4 years ago
  • Hi Robin, I absolutely understand that some people feel more comfortable communicating face-to-face and the team will always schedule a meeting asap with a director/team whose submission has sparked their interest.

    4 years ago
  • A fund to help get short with submission fee's to get them into festivals both national and international. I've done quite a bit of research and there seems to be no such fund or scheme.

    The fund could assess applicants films on their festival distribution strategy and required budget for those festivals against the film itself.

    4 years ago
    • Hi Ollie, The British Council's Film Dept provide a lot of support to short filmmakers around getting their work into international filmmakers. The key contact is Will Massa.Might be worth SP getting him to do a similar Q&A as this to explain how they work.

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll Thanks for your response Chris, but from what I have researched, the only support is the Shot Support scheme by which you have to enter the recognised festivals. ALl of which, are incredibly competitive international festivals that charge large fee's in the first place.

      There seems to be a gap to fill for films that aren't in the highest echelons of the film circuit. Just a small £500-£1k fund would really help films enter tens of festivals.

      4 years ago
  • Hi Chris (and Trevor)

    I think a good scheme for supporting strong narrative animated shorts would be a huge help to animation in the UK. For a long time we have had support aimed at developing the weird and wonderful art based experimental work, but it doesn't help in developing the talent in storytelling that is desperately needed to create high quality work that the majority of people want to watch. Self funded shorts are great, but lead to a fairly solitary production model, rather than the collaborative approach required to produce the highest quality results that can compete on the world stage. Outside of universities and a very small number of bigger studios, funding for narrative shorts is non existent, yet working on them seems to be a fairly vital career step. I look forward to hearing the results of the BFI Film Fund research and would be more than happy to talk to them if they are looking for further input. Creating a dialogue in this way is a wonderful thing, thank you.

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris
    I just wanted to add my voice in calling for more support with distribution and marketing.
    Our current production - 5 Greedy Bankers, has felt relatively straight forward to put together whereas the sales and distribution world seems to be constantly shifting. LUFF and the Breakthrough strand is only one event. Maybe there should be more. Support for regular events where independent film makers meet film sellers would be really useful.
    Thanks for coming on to Shooters.
    Simon

    4 years ago
    • Hi Simon. Point noted. It would be good to canvas the opinions of sales agents/distributors as to whether they would favour more such events.

      4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,

    As a filmmaker, a writer director, I need feedback from Creative England.

    I was fortunate to have my project FINDING CLIVE shortlisted/ longlisted by Creative England.

    At the same time I put the script of FINDING CLIVE in to the Nicholl screenwriting comp and Austin FF screenwriting comp in the USA, where it was selected for the quarterfinals and for the second round. With both these American comps I was asked to take my name off the script on submission.

    Because FINDING CLIVE was shortlisted, Austin FF sent me two helpful script reports and at Nicholl one incredibly helpful script report - that actually made me cry it was so supportive.

    However with Creative England, after a few months wait, I was just sent a rejection email.

    As filmmaker I found both the American competitions more supportive. Also in asking us all to submit anonymously, it feels that they take the gender bias in our industry more seriously.

    With the American competitions I learnt a great deal about my script and I was able to plough this helpful feedback into the next draft.

    Whereas, unfortunately, with the silence that Creative England offered me I was not able to glean anything.

    Is there any way that Creative England could look to being more supportive towards filmmakers that they shortlist, but don’t finally select?

    In the last eleven years of submitting my work to public funders, I have learnt that my projects don’t tend to be selected by panels.

    However, fortunately, my films do tend to be selected and supported by strong individuals within the British film industry. With this in mind, I am thrilled to be able to say that I will be shooting BABY, my first feature film in June 2014, supported by a team of strong producers and starring Sophie Okonedo.

    I believe that if Screen England could be more supportive towards the filmmakers that they shortlist, but don’t finally select, this would help make a stronger British film industry.

    We would feel less in the dark, more positive about our projects and more likely to power ahead and make them.

    Best wishes

    Deva Palmier

    4 years ago
    • Hi Deva, firstly congratulations on getting BABY up and running. As I mentioned in a previous response, the team does endeavour to give constructive feedback on submissions that are taken to Stage 2 (where we ask for more information and usually schedule a mtg) or to those who we interview as part of an iFeatures or iShorts scheme. I'd love for us to give out more but with over 350 submissions received for iFeatures2 and 360+ for iShorts recently, we have to focus our limited time and resources on the projects/talent that we've decided to support.

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your response.

      350 submissions to ifeatures2 seems such a small number compared to the thousands of submissions to Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship and to Austin FF.

      In 2013 Nicholl received 7,251 submissions and sent script feedback to 372 quarterfinalist screenwriters.

      These script reports were written by the readers assessing our scripts. The reports existed anyway, they were part of the assessment process. The extra work required was in the administration of this, in sending the feedback to the writers.

      2013 is the first year that Nicholl has done this, to an overwhelmingly positive response. It seems as though they are trying to be more transparent as an organisation, as well as being supportive towards the quarterfinalists.

      With ifeatures, when our projects are assessed, do the people assessing them write out their feedback in reports?

      Maybe Creative England could consider distributing these reports to filmmakers that have their projects through to the first round, as in the Nicholl screenwriting comp?

      If you do decide to share this feedback, you would be helping so many more filmmakers and utilising our public funding in a broader and more beneficial way.

      A more transparent industry, is a healthier industry and I think that we would all benefit.

      Best wishes

      Deva Palmier

      www.devafilms.com/

      4 years ago
  • I am responding to the main question at the top of the page rather than any of the comments above. I live in Glasgow so I trust you will have no issue about my citing Creative Scotland, since I would assume the same guiding principles apply to Creative England.

    I have been trying to secure support for a wide number of projects from as far back as Creative Scotland's genesis as the Glasgow Film Production Fund. Only after pestering people to the point of ill will have they ever had the faintest interest in even speaking to me, and only ever to bat me off to another organisation where my applications are invariably ignored.

    I followed up the BFI NET.WORK initiative you mentioned - sounds good (they all sound good) - but lo and behold when I clicked on my location (Scotland), I was led to apply instead for the BFI Film Fund which specifically states that they do not cater to filmmakers who have not made a feature and to apply instead for the BFI NET.WORK initiative. Back to an endless loop 100% indicative of all my experiences with Creative X in all its forms.

    Despite my misgivings, I am quite unable to shelf my ambitions and have a very wide range of projects I would like to pursue - shorts, features, documentaries, video art etc - but without support of any kind, I am now slowly dying, penniless and rotting away in a widely avoided area of Glasgow (but with enough equipment and ideas to fuel several lifetimes of work).

    Could you please advise me how I might best approach Creative Scotland as regards how to progress from here? And if Creative Scotland is unable to help might I approach Creative England?

    I sincerely do not envy your position, but would be most grateful if you might offer me some concrete advice.

    4 years ago
    • Hi Peter. The NET.WORK was set up on the principal that support for new/emerging talent is best delivered locally so Welsh based writers, producers, directors etc should contact/apply to Film Agency Wales, NI based talent to NI Screen, Scottish based to Creative Scotland and England based to Creative England. I can't comment on the offers available through Creative Scotland and the other national agencies but I do know that CS and the BFI (who set up and are funding the NETWORK) are looking to get a Scottish Talent Centre up and running in the next couple of months. I'd suggest contacting both CS and BFI Film Fund for clarification on the timescales for this. Also, if I hear of anything concrete, i'll pass the information on

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll Thanks for getting in touch, Chris (and for overlooking my misery). I shall certainly pursue the matter with CS and keep an eye on the BFI website, as always. In better news, I found out that one of my otherwise invisible films is to be shown at the Glasgow Film Festival videoteque in February, which I trust bodes well for a better year to come. Thanks again. Peter

      4 years ago
  • Before I assume anything I thought I should ask whether creative England (or Creative Scotland, for that matter) is strictly limited to those bodies? I'm in the U.S.

    4 years ago
    • I'm afraid so Bill. Our focus tends to be on UK based talent though in certain circumstances we can support co-productions.

      4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,

    Another question on development, which (aside from distribution/finding a market) feels like the biggest missing rung when it comes to Govt film support in the UK. I would second what Deva says above about lack of feedback, while recognising that limited resources don't allow etc. etc.

    But... isn't it that gap between writing/producing something and having someone with more experience/weight/impartiality than your mum giving their verdict on it that's the real stumbling block to most people? Whether it's CE, the BBC writersroom, BFI, UKFC (RIP) or any number of festivals, there is a sense that the 99.9% of losing sperm will never know how close they were (or weren't) to the prize.

    Maybe this is as it should be, and I know we all need to find our own way, but I can say from experience that it makes it harder to know whether, in a business fortified with gatekeepers and pursestrings, you're swimming towards the money.

    My question I suppose is whether an (even slightly) more developed system of feedback and quality assessment, of development-as-training if you will, might be a more democratic and (long-term) valuable use of funds than producing a few more nanobudget microfeatures? Not only to industry as a quality filter/badge of honour in the manner of the (actual) Blacklist, Nicholls Fellows etc., but to creatives who can feel they're operating in a vacuum.

    Cheers!

    Simon

    p.s. selfishly - microbudget UK road comedy, developed script, multi-awarded director from the regions, US interest, BUT no UK producer... Which CE (or non-CE) scheme is our natural home? Thanks again ;)

    4 years ago
  • I agree with Simon. The majority of applicants will have been in the Industry for many years making shorts, with strong track records, good scripts, an experienced team, and feel that their feature film or short is worthy of funding. So, if it’s rejected, to gain the most from this initiative it’s crucial for the further development of the team to understand the reason behind the decision.

    Nevertheless, I can appreciate the hundreds of submissions you get. So, would it be an idea to
    publish a list of all the projects that have been accepted? Include the logline, the treatment, the first ten pages of the script, the dynamics of the team, and a para or two explaining why this particular project was chosen.

    It would enable everyone to further understand and appreciate the mission of Creative England, and to see what films are chosen and why.

    By recognising the standards that Creative England applies, we would then at least have a 'benchmark' in which to gauge our own submissions, and be able to make a more informed decision before submitting.

    4 years ago
    • Hi Carol, Simon and Deva, Obviously feedback is emerging as a key issue in this forum so I will take your comments and suggestions back to the team and have a discussion.

      Incidentally, we do publish a list of awards on our website and over the past year have published a bi annual Talent/Development Brochure that gives a flavour of some of the talent and project we're working with.

      Best

      Chris

      4 years ago
    • @Chris Moll

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks so much.

      I look forward to hearing what comes out of your discussion.

      Best wishes
      Deva

      www.devafilms.com

      4 years ago
  • Thanks, Chris - As I suspected - it makes sense to keep resources at home. Maybe FIFO (Fade In/Fade Out) our filmmaking consortium can help supplement those resources. We produce a handful of "Big" little films every year using our modest but growing funds, with the eventual goal of a feature film. We are all about indies and are currently accepting short scripts for consideration. Thanks again; best of luck.
    Bill

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris, I've been working in prod/dev/distribution for a few years but do not have any credits as full producer on a feature film (only on theatre productions). I have a small slate of films in various stages of development, one of which is at a late stage, with director (upcoming, but this would not be his first feature) attached and some interest from within the industry.

    What are BFI's thoughts on upcoming producers in terms of grants, and broadly speaking, what are my chances for applying to the BFI fund? As far as I can see, while extensive support is given to up coming directors, upcoming producers (and they have to start somewhere) are rather more neglected, and must rely on private sources of finance, which are easier for some than others, to fund their early projects.

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,

    What a great bunch of questions and answers!

    I have had a look at the Statistical Yearbook and last year comedy and drama were pretty much equal in output but comedy took more money due to the success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. (which I loved)

    But still, my perception of independent UK film at the moment is that it is dark and gritty. We are a nation known for our humour but we see so little of it on our screens.

    Does Creative England take genre in to account when making decisions on who to support?

    Thanks,
    Andromeda
    makelightproductions.com

    4 years ago
  • I am a very experienced screen television drama director, with some additional Producer credits on soaps in years past. I am based on the coast in West Sussex and still have my own limited company i Shooting Match Ltd.At this stage of my life, in my 60s, most of my work now is guest lecturing, though I have also produced my own independent training workshops with my own purchased camera and sound kit. However, I am now entering new and unfamiliar territory. I have written four very different screenplays for low budget short films but I have no funds of my own to invest. What is my next step to find the funding to shoot these. Grateful for any ideas or thoughts - please.
    E-Mail Nicholas.Prosser@gmail.com

    4 years ago
    • Hi Nicholas, there are obviously a myriad of ways to get shorts funded. We support both entry, mid and higher level shorts via the Talent Centres (details at www.creativeengland.co.uk/film) though with the latter we're looking at where the short fits in with the overall direction of travel towards that first feature film. Crowdfunding for shorts is also becoming increasingly popular and there are also initiatives like Ideastap etc. From April, we're hoping that the NET.WORK website/platform will be up and running and that this will contain more information/resources for filmmakers looking to secure short film funding etc.

      4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,

    I was fortunate enough to reach the second round of the ishorts CE fund as one of the last forty applicants; so luckily the stage I reached means I DO actually get feedback. I'm grateful for that and I'm presently waiting for it to arrive.

    I'd like to second the comments that Deva, Simon and Carol have made in that the feedback is very important in order to move forward and progress.

    I've never applied for funding before, so the interview I had earlier this month with CE is my first. Without feedback I'd have absolutely no idea why I'd failed to progress further. Like Deva's, my script has also won competitions and been well received, plus my producer, Ben, is just as passionate about the project as myself. Therefore we are presuming it's not the project/script (maybe we're wrong) but that leaves us wondering what caused us not to progress further. There could be so many reasons, and as someone who is new to the film interviewing process it's quite torturous wondering what it could be. The good thing about finding out through feedback, is next time I can perhaps eliminate those problems beforehand and possibly be successful in securing funding in the future.

    Hopefully I'll know in a few weeks, but without it, I can't imagine how frustrating that must be and understand why others are asking for this.

    Thanks,
    Jane

    4 years ago
    • Hi Jane, I'll check in with the iShorts team and hurry them along on the feedback front.

      4 years ago
  • Thank you Chris, that's much appreciated.

    Jane

    4 years ago
  • Hi Chris,

    Considering the posts above, mine included, I realized it might be important to let you know that the feedback I got from Jessica was probably the most invaluable and helpful to date.

    It's given me a sense of structure in how to move forward and improve. It's also given me a massive confidence boost.

    Much appreciated.

    Jane

    4 years ago