Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tim Bevan's History of Working Title

1. Tim Bevan was a production runner in New Zealand and then set up Aldabra music video production company in England in the late seventies.
Eric Fellner founded Initial Pictures with partner Scott Millaney in 1985.

2. Working Title grew out of the company Big Science Limited.

3. This is comparable to Warp X/Warp Films in the respect of one company being born of another and going on to be a similar but different type of film production company.

4. 3 Critically-acclaimed film directors that they got to work on their videos were:
Nic Roeg, Derek Jarman and Stephen Frears.

5. Stephen Frears directed My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.

6. Two big companies dominating the UK Film industry were EMI and Goldcrest, and by the end of the 1980's they had pretty much disappeared and smaller companies started to dominate the industry.

7. Hanif Kureshi recieved funding from the new Film Four arm to develop his new script.

8.Frears and Working Title were attracted to the script as it was unique and something that people hadn't seen on film before, culturally different as it was about a young gay pakistani in England.

9. Stars that have emerged from Working Title are Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Grant, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Bell.

10. My Beautiful Laundrette was originally meant to be just a television film but this changed due to it's successful reception that it recieved at the Edinburgh Film festival and so they decided to make it a cinema release.

11. Los Angeles or more so Hollywood are central to the success of films because every film business in the world seemed to revolve around Hollywood and it is the world wide capital of the movie business. Major decisions are made in Hollywood and most finance comes from it and most talent agencies are there.

12. Working Title's co-founders contrast with most British producers as they do not see American businesses as enemies but friends.

13. The "Working Title way" is to work with new directors, writers, actors, known as new talent.

14. The George Pub, Wardour Street became known as the centre of the British film industry, this perhaps shows that this industry was not particulary important in the 1980's and not a main stream industry.

15. The Tall Guy led to the international success of Four Wedding's and a Funeral as Richard Curtis recieved a Royalty cheque for the film and so sent Working Title the new script as a reward for their genorosity.

16. Richard Curtis likes to be involved in every aspect of the films from start to finish, as a writer, executive producer, director and co-writer, and he has also been involved in casting, crew, marketing and editing, so he changes his role in every film but they all these films seem to gross over a billion dollars.

17. Working Title could no longer afford to be an Indie company as it had no proper infrastructure and were not fully concentrating on the content of their films and so in 1992 PolyGram invested in it and aquired it and created a better structure of Working Title and gave them a completely different type of film company. They would no longer make the same unique films that they once did.

18. The new internal infrastructure included a development department run in Los Angelese and London, a business affairs department and a physical production department.

19. Bevan describes Working Title's relationship with the Coen Brothers as a third-party creative relationship where Working Title provides finance, production structure, marketing and distribution and also offers creative opinion, it could be said that the auteur theory applies to the Coen Brothers' movies as they are made how they want them to be regardless of the companies creative opinion.

20. Four Wedding's and a Funeral was a fortuitous as the company was ten years old and that the company had been able to stay afloat to the point of the movie. As they tend to like making films for passion rather than to be hits, however this would not seem the case today.

21. Their next release was Bean: The Movie starring Rowan Atkinson.

22. The movie looked at as a template for narrative structure was The Godfather and the director chosen to direct Elizabeth was Shekhar Kapur and she was an unusual choice as she was Indian and new nothing about English history at all. The lead actress Cate Blanchett seemed a risky choice as she was unknown and Australian not British so she may well have been expensive to get to star in it. The evidence that these unorthodox choices were successful are that it got seven Oscar nominations and won one, and many BAFTA awards.

23. Working Title ended up working with Universal because Polygram was sold to Seagrams, which is part of the Universal group, and therefore took control of assets of Working Title too.
It started well due to Notting Hill being a $350 million hit.

24. Canal Plus Group is a French film and TV studio and is wholly owned by Vivendi Universal.
It has a film library of over 5,000 films.
It's headquarters are in Paris.
It is a TV channel in Holland, Spain and France (Canal+).
It was launched 4th November 1984.


26. It typically takes a long time for Working Title to develop a project from idea to screen. In general it usually takes anywhere from two to five years.

27. Working Title's slate falls into three areas being:
Long-term creative partnerships- Richard Curtis' films
Material they buy as a book or screenplay- Bridget Jones's Diary
Original Ideas/Scripts- Elizabeth

28. Working Title generally have about 5o films in production at a time, this hints that most out fo the 50 will not make it to the big screen or do incredibly well.

29. Development hell is where a film seems to be stuck in development and takes a long time to get into production if ever.

30. Both books are satirical comedies about life inside the movie business and how hard it can sometimes be to get a film into production, "What Just Happened" was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and Sean Penn and released in 2008.

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