A Chinese famous amateur film maker Wang Xiaofeng

Wang Xiaofeng’s occupation is Journalist. He writes report for Life Weekly, a famous magazine in China. He also has many different identities, such as fictionist, music critic, blog writer, net shop owner and from 2006, he has had a new ID: filmmaker.

His first film is Adventures of Xiao Qiang (2006). Wang wrote the screenplay, recruit cast, raised funds and directed. This film was made by digital video camera and all the roles were acted by his friends in Chinese blogosphere. This film was firstly released on their blogs so it was publicize as a first Chinese Blog Film.

In 2007, Wang started his second film called House of Flying Women. The name of the film comes from the film House of Flying Daggers (2004). House of Flying Women is a film regards to Extramarital affairs. Just like the first one, Wang act as a scenarist director and producer.

Wang’s third film is You’re So Mean (2008). This time, he employed not only his friends but also professional actors to perform so that this film looks better than first two films. As his first three films, this film will release on the Internet first.

Wang’s last film was made in 2012 which is not released yet. The name of the film is Bird Heart. The name is from a Japanese movie Chicken Heart (2002). He decided to make this film in a high standard and employed professional staffs.

In the process of making these films, Wang feel the most difficult part is looking for investors. He has met 15 investors for You’re So Mean but none of them have the intention to invest such a 90 minutes film. They don’t think Chinese audience will have the patient to watch through a long film on the Internet. Chinese investors prefer 10-minutes short films or so called micro movie. They believe this kind of short film makes more benefits for them. Fortunately, he found a big website to cooperate. He also found it is difficult to write a right screenplay even though he is a fictionist. He modified his original screenplay ten times before he asked advice from his professional screenplay writer friend. His friend said it was terrible after reading it. Then he continued to modify. Up to now, he has more than fifty version of the screenplay of Bird Heart. There is one more thing troubled him is money. Even though there are some investors, the fund is still cannot satisfy the film Bird heart. Wang plan to make a 3-D animation at the end of the film which costs lots of money. The way he decided to resolve this problem is calling on his fans donating. As a repay, fans who donated will be asked for attending premiere of the film.

In terms of successes, Wang doesn’t think there are many successes in his first three films. He admits they are pretty amateur and unprofessional. If he must say a success, then that’s he finally finished them. However, he said Bird Heart will be a totally different one because he was assisted by a professional team and many professional people. He have got  help a lot from his friends, especially a producer who gave him many advices so he can conduct the whole team.

Nevertheless, he feels lost sometimes when producing Bird Heart. After correct mistakes of the script, the screenplay is totally different from what he originally wanted. It’s good for the film but he feels there is too much limited and not like the first three films that he can do it following his inclinations. However, it’s the first time he aware how difficult is a good film made.

When it comes to marketing, he said he have never done this because he do not want to be restricted by money and marketing. As I see, it’s unnecessary because he has a lot of fans in China and they will watch the films no matter how good or bad it is.

Wang believe the area of Chinese movie is too impetuous. Everyone just wants money but ignore the film’s content. Audiences also take a part of responsibility of the problem. They would rather watch a shot Inferior loving film brimming with embed advertisement than have the patient to watch through a long but much meaningful film. He value the content more than the technique in the films. I think that’s why people like his film despite how rough it was.

Maryanne Cartwright – Producer Brian Cobb



Brian began his career as a performer and actor and graduated from the Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2002. Over the years Brian realized that he had lost the desire to perform and that he now wanted to utilise his skills in other ways. This lead to his interest in Producing.


In 2010 Brian was accepted into the Producers / Business course at the Australian Film Television and Radio School – graduating in 2011.


During his studies there Brian had completed two student productions. One being “A girl and a Unicorn” and the other being “The last Match”. The Last Match was selected at Cannes 2012 “Cinema Des Antipodes”


Since leaving AFTRS Brian has focused on securing funding a second season web series – Australia’s 1st GAY drama. Fortunately he has been able to source funds from the AIDS council. In addition to this he used the Pozible fund raising site to secure more funds. Currently “the Horizon” is now going into production.


Making a living out of producing can be very difficult and it is not uncommon that people have other means of making a living. In Brian’s case he hosts Trivia nights.

In fact this coming Saturday night – 15th Sept, at Paddington RSL Brian will be hosting a Trivia night to raise more funds for his project.


His other achievements include opening his own Production Company called Cobbstar Productions. As with most producers he is also working on other projects – that being a theatre project.


The following challengers that Brian explained to me are relevant for all producers


1. Finding the right people that you can trust

2. Funding your project

3. Getting the right mix of people to work together

4. Being able to be tolerant and being able to get work with a variety of   personalities.

5. You also need a lot of energy, as you are there from the very beginning till the very end of the production process.

6. Being a good communicator and able to troubleshoot problems quickly.

7. Being able to Budget and use the available funds wisely

8. As a Producer you are always juggling priorities and therefore you need to be flexible and open minded to new possibilities and opportunities.


The role of the producer is to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Often Producers are dealing with a variety of situations.

They need to be good at mediating and counselling, and are often the peacemakers on the production. Every day new problems can present themselves and you need to be able to deal with those problems in a quick and effective manner.

The producer’s first function is sourcing funding. This can involve approaching government agencies such as Screen Australia. It may be through getting the funding from fundings sites such as Kick starter, Pozible.com or etc. In a small production they may take on other roles such as being the Production Manager and managing the budgets, securing location permits, sourcing talent and hiring crew.


As a producer you are the one that has to have the full picture in your mind all the time. It is the producer’s responsibility to keep the vision of the film alive and in the right direction. Therefore producers will work with the writers and the director to ensure that the vision remains in tact. I know that on “A girl and a Unicorn” a number of rewrites had been made to the script in order to ensure that it could be produced in the three shoot days allocated. In addition to this Brian ensured that the script mirrored closely the short story, presenting the same characters and situations.


Sourcing material can come in a number of ways from reading stories and scripts to watching theatre productions that may be translated into a film medium.


Because producing is so labour intensive requiring a huge commitment it is advisable that a producer work on projects that they are passion about. Some may work on projects that have a huge marketability but at the end of the day it is the public who will be the one to judge your success or failure.


As a producer it is best to work out what genre you are comfortable with. Some like to specialize in horror films whereas others like comedy and or romance etc.


Producers will often like being on set, as this gives them the opportunity to trouble shoot any problems. It also gives them an overview of what is happening on the set, time taken for shoots, controlling costs etc.


With Brian the short film he produced “A girl and a Unicorn” was first developed from a theatre play, which had performed at various pubs and that successfully played to a live audience. Brian always had in the back of his mind that he wanted to make this short story into a film. At AFTRS this desire become a reality and he was able to finally bring the story he had performed onto the screen.


A producer has to be a good collaborator, as he is working with the full team from the director to the crew. The producer will often be there at castings and will hold regular production meetings to discuss the budget, hiring of staff, locations, will do recees to check suitability. I know that in “A girl and a Unicorn” he was also the unit manager on site, setting up the tea and coffee for crew and making sure that everyone was feed each day, with plenty of water and lollies on hand to keep the crew working effectively.


As a producer your role includes marketing your film, so it will involve going to festival to secure a sale. In the case of “The Last Match” Brian was in Cannes networking and meeting possible future collaborates and selling his services.

Due to the nature of producing and meeting various timedriven deadlines the job is highly stressful so you need to be able to remain calm and have the energy and drive to meet all the challenges that filmmaker will offer.


Another element of the job is not only monitoring people performance but also having to terminate those who are not able to perform their duties as required. As time on a production is very precious, those that are unskilled or difficult will often be faced with the real possible of being replaced and their employment terminated.


Consequently getting work in the industry can be difficult when you first begin as those that are highly skilled will always be the ones securing the work. There is no room for learning on the job. Fortunately student productions offer the opportunity of learning as you go, and help build your networking opportunities. It is often from these opportunities that future collaborations are made, where you are able to connect with like minded individuals to work towards a shared vision.


At UTS the opportunity of working with students is offered as a means of furthering your skills and developing possible future opportunities.


AFTRS also offers a volunteer program which is an excellent way of getting the opportunity of working with future directors, producers etc. It also gives you the opportunity of working on set and helps you understand the production progress.


METRO television is another option that offers a site where volunteer opportunities and internship are advertised.


Of course generating your own projects and advertising for volunteers can be another means of developing your production skills.


As a producer you also need to constantly keep abreast of what is currently being viewed by the public and what is proving to be successful. In this way you can avoid perhaps developing a project that may have already been screened recently. Producers are always looking for fresh ideas, new angles, interesting stories and characters.


Included in producing is also securing the rights to the story. So being able to negotiate with the relevant parties is important, understanding media law would also be a bonus.

When securing rights producers will often try to secure “exclusive world wide rights covering as many media mediums as possible for the longest period possible”. 

They do this to increase their profit margin.


So the producer will be across the contracts that are being produced for the production, the costs being paid to talent and crew, length of employment and who will be hired.




In smaller projects the producer may also be the writer and the director. Often this is seen in short films and student productions. From my own personal experience I have produced, written and directed my own short films. This can certainly be advantageous in that you have far more control over what is being made. It also is cost effective in that it one less person you have to hire.


So the life of a producer is certainly interesting and challenging and it is very evident from this blogg that being a producer you need to have certain personality traits in order to succeed. Perseverance, belief in your project, troubleshooter and peacemaker only just begins to describe the role of a producer….

Bill Leimbach by Carlo Ponferrada, Sarah Hayter, Desmond Hoo


Bill Leimbach, founder of Lucky Country Productions is a former photographer, cinematographer, director, and current producer with over 25 years of experience in the industry, both in nationally and internationally.

Born and raised in the United States, his interests in the visual medium of film and television started with photography, which led him to study cinematography in London, England.  Upon completing film school, he took on multiple jobs, one of which saw him develop his first documentary, taking on the roles of cinematographer and director.

His love for the art of creating documentaries saw him work with the BBC, shooting anthropological films, or “tribal films”, in such places as the Amazon, Borneo and New Guinea.  His fascination with tribal people led him to further travel and his willingness to travel to “remote places where people wouldn’t go” saw him gain reputation with his documentaries, which soon found him selling documentary ideas to the BBC.

This period of creating documentaries in the late 70’s and early 80’s are what he calls the “glory years” of documentary filmmaking when documentaries were allocated “20% to 25% of programming on ABC and BBC” with no reality TV to compete with.  It was a period, he claims, where documentaries were respected and given reasonably sized budgets.

During his time in London, where he lived for 10 years, one of the jobs he took out of film school was a part-time position with the British Film Institute, where he ushered films and acted as a gopher.  At some point during his employment there, the British Film Institute held an ‘Australia Week’, dedicated to showcasing rising, Australian talent, and their new wave of films.  It was during this week where Bill found himself showing Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Phillip Noyce, and Fred Schepisi around London.  It was this week that was the catalyst of what would make Bill Leimbach take a keen interest in Australia, “I liked their attitude and their future… At that time in London, it was whingey, Margaret Thatcher times… There wasn’t a lot of good positivity, and being from California especially, I needed the sun”.

Bill’s motivation with regards to Australia, and its stories stems from his prior experience with tribal documentaries.  “I was always interested in first contact – first contact in the Amazon, first contact in Borneo, first contact in New Guinea, and when I wanted to make my first feature film, I wanted to make my first contact story here (Australia)”.  The result of this saw him write, while in London, Phillip & Bennelong, the story about the first governor, and the first aborigine captured, bought and living with him.  Since then, he has lived in Australia for 30 years, and still doing historical films – “My heritage is heritage films”.

When asked about the leap taken from documentary film making to feature films (with his first feature film being 2010’s Beneath Hill 60), he alluded to wanting a change “I wouldn’t say bored… I just got more excited by the story, and the script, and working in a team like that”.  He claimed that after a while, he found documentaries to be limiting as a producer, “you get the subject matter, you have to chase the subject matter and make the work in the editing room” as opposed to “making the work in the script”.  He found working with actors, scriptwriters and directors to be a very fascinating process.  This move away from documentary filmmaking he feels is a permanent move, “I’m not gonna go back… Documentaries are pretty dead. Everything is reality now”.  He goes on to say that he finds the work more challenging and more rewarding with regards to film and television.


In the early 1970s Bill made such films such as ‘Balinese Surfer’, about the beginnings of surfing in Bali, and co-directed and shot ‘WOW’, a documentary about the Asmat tribe of West Papua. He would often shoot, direct and produce his own documentaries and sell these to the BBC.

In the 1980s he moved to Australia and formed Lucky Country Productions- which has made over 25 films for National Geographic, The History Channel, BBC, ABC, SBS, and other commercial networks. One of his first Australian documentaries, ‘Philip and Bennelong’ was about the first contact between Governor Philip and Australian Aboriginal Woollarawarre Bennelong. Most of Bill’s films have been based on history, particularly Australian history.

In 2010 Bill made his first feature film, ‘Beneath Hill 60’, a first world war film based on a true story. Bill was approached with the idea by mining engineer and WW1 history enthusiast, Ross Thomas, and soon realised that the story lent itself better to feature film than to documentary. Bill explains that now he has started on features, he is not going back- “documentaries are fairly limiting as a producer…you have to chase up the subject matter and make it work in the editing room…whereas in features it is more exciting working with the story, the script and with a team”

Beneath Hill 60 has been one of Bill’s biggest successes so far. It has played on 172 screens, was sold to 16 countries, had 12 nominations at the Australian film awards, as well as winning awards at the Savannah Film Festival in the USA. It has also sold ¼ million DVDS worldwide. Bill describes the making Beneath Hill 60 as the best year of his life.

Throughout his career Bill has adapted to the changing industry. He believes there is very little room for documentary on television anymore, and as a result, he has made a permanent move to feature films and drama on tv. The challenges of selling to commercial networks is high, he says “if you can’t tell a story in a 7 min commercial break then you just don’t find a place for it”.

Bill has also been compelled to focus more on television drama, as he believes film in the cinema is dying, that “people aren’t going to the cinemas” and there is simply not enough revenue unless it’s a hollywood blockbuster. He claims “if you don’t have a star, you don’t have a chance”, and that television drama is more appealing because it is not so dependent on bagging a big name.

This issue of piracy has also been one of Bill’s biggest challenges, with Beneath Hill 60 being one of the 88th most popular films on Pirate Bay. He says “my view on piracy is that it stinks, there has to be some way to evade it but you can’t stop it”.

At the moment Bill is working on 2 feature films. ‘Singapore Sunset’ is another war film. This time a drama about the fall of Singapore in WW2. ‘Banjo and Matilda’ delves into Australia’s heritage, a drama based on Banjo Patterson and the story behind the iconic song ‘Waltzing Matilda’.


In terms of the process of projects, both creative and business, Bill emphasised the fact that its very much an organic process once the everything starts to fall into place. The key relationships like in any medium or industry are paid the most attention (he chased the director for Singapore Sunset for over a year); however, once they are settled the rest of the crew and, to a certain extent, the cast  starts to be built up from these core key relationships. It must be emphasised however, that while the key positions are paid the most attention, they rely just as much on the rest of the crew in order to function and fulfill their job.

Leimbach rarely directs anymore and focuses purely on producing. For him, his mantra within producing is to always support the director. This is particularly emphasised in the medium of feature films where the director is God, and it is the producer’s job to make their lives as comfortable as possible; in other words “paving the way for them.” This may or may not be agreed upon by all producers. it is fair to say that each producers has their own way of working; and in this instance it seems as if Leimbach would like to stay out of the creative collaboration and follow the director unless asked upon to collaborate.

This is in stark contrast to documentaries; something with which Bill has had extensive experience in. For him, God is the director in documentaries as the story and, to a certain extent, what you can film is dictated by what is available as “truth.” As a consequence, the process of creating a feature is a much more rewarding one than in documentaries. His only feature film to date, Beneath Hill 60, might manage to break even for many of its major investors, however, Bill describes the year of making that film the “best of his life.” The many benefits that can be procured from film are more often than not, intangible and nothing to do with money.

However, to fund Beneath Hill 60, money still needed to be raised. In this instance, the support from the local mining community in Townsville proved critical. Their passion for the story and for its own heritage had drove them help see out the making of the film. In his own words, “Townsville pitched the film to me.” This brings us to an important factor within the process, raising money from investors. Whilst Screen Australia and Screen NSW were certainly viable options, Bill has stated they gave “chicken feed” compared to private investors. Budding producers needed to think outside of the square and outside of only government sponsors, especially for bigger budgets. In order to attract private investors, Leimbach was adamant in saying he had to be strategic in who you go to. Someone who is emotionally invested in the story (and not just for money purposes) will prove a more viable investor. This can also be seen with his next slate of projects, where ‘Banjo and Matilda’ was pitched to the shearing industry (where they are passionate about this part of folklore). Its a delicate process, and one in which, when your investors become emotionally invested in the story, you must nurture just like you would with your director. However, all this can certainly be overwhelming for all parties; in a word of warning, Leimbach strongly suggests to work on 2 or 3 projects at the same time, and to never put all of your eggs into one project as many fall through.

Producing is undoubtedly a tough job, one that can encompass all aspects of the filmmaking process. Ultimately, however, it can be one of the most rewarding roles within the industry, especially knowing the amount of work you have put in to achieve your success. After a slight pause, the final question was answered with the same eloquence he approaches his producing work. Why this industry? “It’s a great industry to be in because it’s a full spectrum of people from the gaffers to the actors, to finance…it’s always changing…the number of countries I’ve filmed in, the number of people I’ve met along the way. It’s just one of the best jobs in the whole wide world”


Lucky Country Productions: http://luckycountryproductions.com

Beneath Hill 60 Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYOpCJCl5L4

Creative Team: Wes Anderson

Producer: Wes Anderson (Born 1 may 1969)


Career to Date:


Bottle Rocket (1996) – Directorial debut for Wes Anderson and the acting debuts of Owen and Luke Wilson. The film focuses on a trio of friends and their elaborate plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run. The film grossed over a million dollars at the box office, but gathered mixed critical reception.  

 Rushmore (1998) – About an eccentric teenager named Max Fisher (played by Jason Schwartzman) his friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume and their love for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross.  The cast includes Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, and Luke Wilson. For Anderson, Rushmore announced his arrival on the international film circuit.  The film grossed 17 million dollars at the box office, just below its 20 million dollar budget. The film was well received by critics getting an 87 % fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) About a family of estranged child prodigies who reunite when the Father announces that he has a terminal illness. With a hefty 20 million dollar budget Anderson developed an ensemble cast comprised of Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Gene Hackman and Angelica Houston. It is predominately an absurdest text with touches of irony. Hugely successful and gained an academy award for its screenplay. Empire magazine ranked it as the 159th greatest film of all time.

The Royal Tenebnaums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pyBB7y8fDU

 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Anderson s fourth feature length film comprises an ensemble cast of Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, and Willem Defoe. Its about an eccentric oceanographer who sets out to exact revenge on the “jaguar shark” The film had a budget of 50 million dollars and despite being recognised at many festivals the film failed to win over critics.

 The Darjeeling Limited (2007) –  A comedy-drama starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman about a group of Brothers who travel across India by train in an attempt to bond one another. The film had a budget of 17 million and grossed 35 million at the box office. The film received mainly positive reviews with 67 % of critics on Rotten Tomatoes giving it favorable reviews.

 Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – A stop motion film based on Roald Dahl’s childrens novel of the same name. The film had a budget of 40 million and grossed 46 million at the box office. The film was a critical success with positive reviews from a vast majority of critics. The film currently has a 93 % fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – A romantic comedy drama starring an ensemble cast comprised of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Moonrise Kingdom received vastly positive reviews and mostly favorable reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The film had a budget of $16 million and grossed $59 million at the box office.


Successes, Challenges, and Key Relationships:

Wes Anderson has seen many highs and lows in a career that has spanned a decade and nine feature films. His quirky style has become a directorial signature and he has made combined the genres of comedy, romance, and drama to make his style unique in recent times. From relatively poor showings at the box office with films such as Bottle Rocket, Anderson has recently created cult hits with films such as Moonrise Kingdom. The challenge for Anderson has been to convince a mainstream audience to accept his quirky take on the world and his past few films cut out of this mould have proved successful at the box office. Wes Anderson continually produces, writes, and directs his own films in regular collaboration with his creative compatriots Owen and Luke Wilson, Brother Eric Anderson, Roman Copolla, and Composer Mark Mothersbaugh. Anderson rarely strays from these cast members and every actor for each new film he does has been in at least one other previously. The combination of these key collaborators has been a key cog in the Andersen machine.

Wes Anderson Amex commercial – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmXk4M-7tzs – Encapsulates a lot of who and what he makes films for.

The production teams of Andersen’s films remain tight-nit and have rarely alternated from the combination of American Empirical Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, and Indian paintbrush. This has allowed for Andersen to continue his projects with those who keep a similar mindset to himself. This production team distribute via independent film festivals to gather popular appeal and then sell their films to an international distributor. Touchstone pictures and Fox Searchlight have been regular distributors of Andersen’s films and recently Focus Films bought the rights to Andersen’s most recent film “Moonrise Kingdom”. Andersen’s films are appealing to the audiences because of their distinct style. There are strong central brand ideas and a consistently reappearing cast who each have their own distinctive reputations in the industry. What an Andersen film offers to its audience is an escape from the constrictions of modern society. In recent years Andersen’s films generate their own P.R through social media sites and spread through word of mouth. This means that there is not as much direct brand marketing that needs to be done. Andersen also creates fan bases for each film and offers artifacts from the set to be purchased. This is a way of generating hype for the films.

Wes Andersen receives worldwide praise and recognition for his films. He keeps them specific to a certain target market and rarely aims to surpass the 20 million dollars he makes at the box office. What the Anderson team gets back in their work that isn’t money is a cult following who remain loyal Anderson lovers.

Andersons Creative Process:

Wes Anderson goes through a number of processes in order to achieve his vision. His films are wildly imaginative worlds and they are created from a range of emotions. His latest film Moonrise Kingdom is based around a childhood romance. He states; “this is the only time I’ve been consciously trying to capture a sensation, which is that emotion of when you’re a 12-year-old and you fall in love….I remember that being such a powerful feeling, it was almost like going into a fantasy world. It’s stuck with me enough that I think about it still”. Many of Anderson’s films couple his fantastical imagination with emotions of childhood. The Royal Tenenbaums is also centered on grown adults who have left their prodigious childhood qualities behind them. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is another example of this duality Anderson infuses in his films of Childhood imaginations and Adult realities. He depicts the ‘adult’ world as one that is to be feared. In the Adult world failure will meet us all at one point of our lives, and the childhood world as one that is to be nurtured and valued, where the imagination is able to run freely without the fear of being caught. In Andersons films despair and desperation come through as well as a sense of dehumanisation. Anderson touches on suicide and mental illness and how those two are linked in every action the characters undertake. There is never any date or time mentioned and there is certain timeliness to the scenarios. In this way, post modernism plays a part in Anderson’s films. Anderson’s films also explore the parallel between the classes of the rich and the poor, and those who never work, but are rich through inheritance. His films showcase the relationships between those two classes and highlight the social problems inherent within the class without a class. His films also explore the artifice and materialism with a moody tempo that ranges from the humorous to the depressed to the dramatic and vice versa.

Anderson has extensive experience in advertising and this comes through in his films by having the character remain the same and the letting the world around them change.

Film Sequences:

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pyBB7y8fDU
  2. Wes Anderson Amex commercial – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmXk4M-7tzs – Encapsulates a lot of who and what he makes films for.




@Radical Media & Helen Morahan

By Laura Maddox & Liz Lacerda


Founded in 1993, by Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma

Originally renowned for commercial & advertising successes

Today – development, production and distribution:

  • television content
  • feature films
  • music videos
  • live events
  • digital content
  • design

All platforms of media

 Offices: New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Shanghai and Sydney

– Global studio – navigate the challenges of a constantly changing media landscape

Awards: Academy Award, Emmys, Golden Globe, Grammys, Webbys, (two) Palme d’Ors at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design


–          produce hundreds of award-winning commercials all over the globe each year

–          apply the highest level of creativity to the most exacting level of production

–          future without walls or creative boundaries

–          varied visual styles and approaches to storytelling

–          training ground for the next generation of auteurs, storytellers and entertainment innovators






–          entertainment/advertisement

–          work with Design & Digital Group + Marketing team

–          integrate visions – agency, network, and brand partners

–          development, production, and distribution of programming

–          television, film, digital, and on-site platforms






Design + Digital:

–          team of very creative individuals

–          experience in strategy, marketing, design and technology

–          create multimedia stories to influence the way people think/behave

–          tell stories in every possible medium, from digital initiatives to traditional and new media

–          conceive it, make it and distribute it with partners






Music Videos

–          great freedom of creative expression

–          develop, direct and produce video-clips

–          working with talented and demanding clients

–          more expansive opportunities, including documentaries, concert films and actual concerts

–          vision and commitment to innovation

–          repeatedly rewarded with a list of Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards






29 years old


Honors in Theatre/Film, University of New South Wales, 2001 – 2004


Plump Films – Aug./2007 – Nov./2008 – Facilities Manager

@Radical Media – Dec./2008 – present – Producer

 Currently working on a documentary project for Medecins Sans Frontieres

 “I had always been involved in theatrical performances through school and University; so, I always thought that was where I would end up. But during my studies, my interest in what happened behind the camera grew.”



2012 – Producer for OFFICIAL VIDEO for ‘Schoolyard Bullies’ by Daily Meds (Radical Media)


 2012 – Producer for MLC Commercial (Radical Media)

2012 – Producer for Jay Jays commercial, Los Angeles/USA

 2012 – Producer for General Electric, Internet Campaign @Radical Media

2012 – Project for Vans

2012 – Producer for Adidas commercial

2011 – Producer for Telstra, Inhouse Brand Film @Radical Media

2011 – Production for Australian Air Force Campaign, Rockhampton

2011 – Producer for Def Wish Music Video @Radical Media


 2011 – Producer for TV commercial Earth Hour (Radical Media)


 2011 – Producer for ‘Jogja Hip Hop Foundation’, on TV in Indonesia for The Visibly Smart Films campaign


 2011 – Producer for commercial “Visibly Smart” TV Commercial for Intel (Radical Media)

 2010 – Production Manager for commercial shoot AAMI “What About Me” (sequel) – Safe Driver Rewards 


 2009 – Producer for commercial New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation: The Blob


 2009 – Aussie film Red Hill

2009 – The Poker Star, show on Foxtel, Crown Casino, Melbourne



–          Summarize your career to date.

On completing Honors in Theatre/Film at UNSW I was unsure as to whether I wanted to go down the theatre or film path. I had always been involved in theatrical performances through school and University so I always thought that was where I would end up. But during my studies, my interest in what happened behind the camera grew. On returning from 3 years of travel and living in London, I started working for a smaller boutique production company in Sydney where I managed a post-production team and assisted the Producers and directors in preparing for shoots. I then moved to @radical.media nearly 4 years ago where I have moved my way up the production ladder where I am now producing.

 –          What are your successes, challenges, key relationships?

My recent successes include a campaign for the Australian Air Force last year. It was recently awarded a silver pencil at the One Show Entertainment awards. Another great success was producing last year´s Earth Hour campaign, where we filmed (from a bird´s eye view) 150 volunteers moving around creating objects with their bodies (like the globe, a bike). Coordinating this was very challenging and we had more countries involved last year than in any other previous year. The commercial was translated in a number of different languages and played on air and online.

On every different job there are a new set of challenges, new problems, which require solving. Experience is everything in our ever-changing industry, so as a young producer I still have a lot to learn. The key relationships I have formed and need to maintain are varied. Being full time at @radical.media I work very closely with our Managing Director, our Executive Producer, our Directors, and all production staff. When I’m on jobs, managing and maintaining relationships with crew are essential. They are who make everything come together on the shoot day. Other key relationships are with Ad Agency staff. We work closely with them to develop and produce pieces of content for their clients.

 –          How does your business work? Creatively? Financially, in terms of marketing to their audience?

@radical.media is a trans-media company – and by “trans-media” I mean we create content not only for TV or Web, but across all platforms of media. The size and scale of budgets we work with are varied, from huge car commercials to music videos, and everything in between. With the move from film cameras to digital cameras (which I witnessed 3 years ago) there is a definite change in the way content can be created. With cameras like the Canon 5D, small film crews can move quickly between locations without the logistics of relocating large-scale crews.

When pitching on jobs we generally don’t have to source funding. If it is for a music video funding comes from the band, if it is for a commercial funding comes from the ad agency (which comes from the client). Only if we came up with an idea for a documentary that didn’t have a client or brand attached to it would we have to go through the various funding boards in Australia OR get a brand/s involved and create what is known as “branded content”.

 –          What do you get back from their work that isn’t money?

There is a lot of satisfaction in working in Production. Spending long days, nights and weekends in the office in pre-production, doing long shoot days on location, but then seeing the finished product on TV, at the cinema or online makes it all worthwhile.

 –          Summarize your creative process in general or on a particular project.

Being fulltime at a production company, I am also very involved in the pitching side of the business. So the process begins with us getting a script from an Ad Agency for one of our directors. We will then have to submit a treatment (which is a document outlining how the director is planning on approaching the script) alongside a budget as to how much we think it will cost to produce. If the Ad Agency likes our treatment and we are within the budget parameters then we will be awarded the job. This is when my role as a producer kicks in and I will have to start pre-production which will involve elements like casting, location scouting, booking crew, holding gear, building sets etc etc. Once all the elements are approved by the agency and client we are ready to shoot. Because every job is collaboration between client, Ad agency and our Director, it is important as the producer to manage everyone’s expectations so that when we are editing the content all criteria have been met.




The research and interviewing of Helen Morahan have been very insightful in revealing the role of the producer for commercial and creative projects. The producer is a crucial part of the team to completion of successful work. Helen´s comments about the importance of gaining experience to further your career provides a realization that volunteering and internships are a valuable way to network and improve skills in order to gain employment in the industry. The interview and research also highlighted the fact that advertisements and marketing are very important for the financial sustainability of a production company. There should be a balance between creative and commercial projects. The dedication required by the producer is incredible, and sacrifices are necessary in the job to get the best results.



Ted Hope (born 1962) is an American independent film producer. He spurts on the media in the early 90’s, with declaration of intention of new and fresh stories, visions and different approaches in the world of filmmaking. He is considered one of the few producers who delivering brilliant and fascinating new works with keeping in minds platforms, times, tastes changes, reaching new audience and clarify what Independent concept means exactly. His unique career and vision is the key that leads other filmmakers to work with him. At the beginning Hope has produced his first films with commendable filmmakers like Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener, Hal Hartley, Moises Kaufman and others. He has spent the last 30 years as producer of some movies as Martha Marcy May Marlene, American Splendor, The Savages, and Adventure Land.  His dream to produce a hundred films, a result of a survey of Hop’s films viewed, he is close to seventy films in his producing journey.

Ted came to business very early, in 1996 Hope co-founded Good Machine with James Schamus as a production/sales company; this has been sold to Universal in 2002. At the same year with Diana Victor and Anthony Bregman he founded This is That production company. On the same track he founded Double Hope Films Production Company with his wife Vanessa Hope in 2010. Recently, Hope embarked on a new track in his professional career path where recently has been named as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society which started Sep 1, 2012. (Ted Hope, 2008).



In Ted Hope’s sight, the dimensions of the film world, the content, creation, business and the audience have been changed and we should change with this transformation and that can be obvious in the aspiration and thinking of the filmmakers. One day he asked a filmmaker why he wants to do he said; I want to be in the film business but these days it’s like; I want to have a creative life. Hope learned the secret behind success is to take risks and not get stuck in doing things the right way. The important thing is to ask yourself, Am I doing the thing that I love? What is it you really love about movies? What are you striving to do that you haven’t done before? (Ted Hope, 2010).  Hope also mentions the idea that instead of trying to replicate your past success, we should question; how do we structure our lives so that we’re doing things we love and we’re always flexible to be able to move towards that. The key success of Hope’s business model from creative side is he tries to make sure that he loves what he does, whom he is doing it with, how he is doing it and the terms he is doing it ( Scott Macaulay_2012)



In terms of business, Ted Hope does not have a special business model. He shapes the model or the movie shapes it. That’s mean different model for every movie. Alongside of marketing, Ted deals with different approaches as each film is different and it has its own approach to marketing and distribution. Ted suggests that when a filmmaker comes to this stage should consider some tips to promote the project and he finds it a good way to promote yourself at the same time: (killing two birds with one stone). (Ted Hope, 2009)

  1. Identify, research and engage with the audience for the film.
  2. Develop a distribution and marketing strategy and plan for the film in conjunction with the key principles of the filmmaking team.
  3. Create a budget for the marketing & distribution plan.
  4. As needed and appropriate, strategize and implement fundraising from the audience of the film in conjunction with or in place of traditional financing which would include: crowd funding, organizational partnerships, sponsorships and even modified versions of traditional fundraising.
  5. Assemble and supervise the necessary team/crew elements to carry out the plan which can include social media, publicity, marketing and distribution production crew for extra diagetic material, key artists, web developers, trailer editors, bookers etc.
  6. Audience research, outreach and relationship building through organizations, blogs, social media (including email collection), influencers, online and traditional publications.
  7. Supervise the creation of promotional content and work with the development of trans media elements in either coordination with a Transmedia Producer, or in the case where the production is small. Other elements to be created: the films website and social media sites, production stills, video assets – both behind the scenes and trans media, promotional copy and art/key art.
  8. Outreach to potential distribution and marketing partners including film festivals, theatrical service companies, community theatrical bookers, DVD distributors, TV sales agents, foreign sales agents as well as sponsors and promotional partners.
  9. Coordinate, organize and supervise the creation of traditional deliverables in addition to creation of all media needed for the execution of the release as needed including:
    • Live event/theatrical: Prints either 35 or Disk or Drive.

• Merchandise: All hard good physical products including DVDs and any special packaging (authoring and replication) and all other forms of merchandise: books, apparel, toys, reproductions of props etc, and hard versions of games.
• Digital products: encoding of digital products, iPhone/Android apps etc.

  1. Modify and adjust the marketing and distribution plan as new opportunities present themselves during the film’s life span regarding information about audience, market, and partnerships arise.
  2. When appropriate, engage the distribution process, which includes the release of:
    • Live Event Theatrical – Booking, delivery, of all forms of public exhibition of the film including all elements that make the screenings special events (appearances, live performance, discussion panels etc.)
    • Merchandise – Distribution of all hard good physical products created for the film.
    • Digitally – oversee all sales of the film in the form of 0s and 1s: TV/Cable/VOD/Mobile/Broadband/Video games etc.
    • This not just in the home territory – but also internationally.
  3. Ramp up the marketing of the film to coincide with the release, which includes:
    • Content rollout
    • Additional Social Media activities such as contests, soliciting screening demands, posting press mentions .
    • Publicity including feature stories, interviews, reviews
    • Organizational Relationships
    • Sponsorship Relationships
    • Affiliate and Email Marketing
    • Promotions
    • Media Buys (as warranted)
    • Seeding trailers and other video content.
    • Any specific marketing especially tailored to the film  ( Ted Hope, 2009)



Where social media networks play a vital role these days, add to his great role and efforts in independent film production, Hope is utilizing different social media platforms to promote himself and his projects as well. He is having a great influence on social media voices, followed by more than 20,000 Twitter followers, posting usually on Facebook and on his blog Hope For Film about various topics and secrets of the independent films production, giving advices to the new filmmakers who just came to the field, consults on the future of cinema especially the future of independent film industry, and sharing people about his experience. He also co-founded HammerToNail.com site. It is a review site concentrates more on independent films. Ted Hope is about to launch an app which is designed to increase the value of film’s business and culture. “You have to be able to reach out to where everyone is, where people congregate and communicate, and you have to work to speak their language, you need to build community, and this is one of the best organizing tools we’ve found so far.” Hope said ( Pam Grady_2012)



Ted Hope says; while you are working in film business, do not think all the time about money because what you get back from work that is not money is more worthy for you. It does not mean we are not rewarded for our work but you can get various benefits like earn knowledge, get an experience, build relationships, learn new skills and sharpen or hone your talent may be by hard working or by asking questions in the field where you will find some people to answer you. And that happens if you are just starting out or you consider yourself as an expert, the more you work on movies the more you will be known, leader, respectable and will have a value in the film business. So, all these things might open new doors to new opportunities to work on the next project or film with different production company and maybe in a better position (Ted Hope, 2011).


Ted Hope has such great methods to develop the process of producing a film. He follows the method of asking questions to find out what works with the writer, director and the story itself. He thinks the whole process is all about what happens between those questions and essentially where the relationships with others are emerged. Alongside of the development process Ted says; we learned that it is not only how to make the story or the script better but it is to know what is most important to your director. It is about acquiring and securing the confidence among each other, the movie will not work unless you accomplish this, in case you cannot, so it may not the one you should stay with. Hope is emphasizing that in the development process the producer may ask a punch of ” what if…” questions to know where the story might trend where you are not really have a final choice till you know that choice exists.

The Producer is responsible to exhibit the consequence of choices in business terms and to the process of development creatively and basically, we do not want the writer and director to follow each way and see how it may play out. In sight of Ted the producer should protect the relationships between all crew and their world which automatically will protect the audience. Everything should become one of your counts for the benefit of the movie, regardless it’s the top priority of the writer and director or not. Ted found that it helps to pause before sharing a realization and ask what good comes from discussing it now, and really examining where the creative flow is headed at the time. You can always make notes to discuss later, and difficult choices have a way of addressing themselves over time. Through the development process, you learn both what you all want to happen in front of the camera, but often also what the director wants to happen behind the camera. These closed door discussions reveal a great deal what the public creative side of things will later be. The process continues until there are no more questions that can be asked that haven’t been answered and are relevant ( Ted Hope, 2010)

In terms of producing Ted suggests things we can all do on our film productions that would make life & art better, safer, & more satisfying like, provide housing when someone has worked an excessive day, print less, use less paper, email call sheets, provide production packages (shooting schedules, breakdowns, lists, etc.) online, send crew lists as address cards, so they can instantly be input in one’s phone. Hire people who are not like you, who come from different backgrounds, who have had different opportunities, who have different genders, politics, race, class, beliefs than yourself,  Give people a true day off. Restrain yourself from sending emails or making calls one day a week. Instead gather those needs, requests, ideas, and hold onto them for 24 hours before sharing them. Emergencies do happen, but a well-rested team performs better. Actively try to get jobs for your top five performers on the cast or crew, particularly if they are not yet well known. Don’t just take the talent with you. Promote them to others; maybe help them get an agent or other representation. Don’t wait for new productions to call, but call them. Write those letters of recommendations in advance and give them to the superstars to take with them (Ted Hope_ 2012)


Ted sees major shifts coming in so many different aspects of cinema: discovery, consideration, value/return, participation, collaboration, transitioning, immersion, and many others. The fact that this far downs the road of a connected culture we have not wed social and content together may speak of the resistance to change, but also of the tidal wave that will one day hit us. That all said, Ted thinks that all of us; creators, appreciators, entrepreneurs, & passive audiences members, are going to truly be best served by another aspect all together. The end of the dominance of the feature film form is coming. Ted sees many trends leading to feature-length linear-narrative passive-engagement work’s decreasing relevance, along with many indications that it won’t be a bad thing when all participants in both the film industry and culture look at a far widening realm of creation, participation, and consumption (Ted Hope, 2012)

The Following clip Ted Hope Discusses the Future of Finding Film Audiences



Ted Hope won such great prizes, awards and honors in different film festivals and events. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Vision Award from the LA Filmmakers’ Alliance, as well as the Woodstock Film Festival’s Trailblazer Award. His films have received some of the industry’s most prestigious honors  like, Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winners by” What Happened Was …” (1994), “The Brothers McMullen” (1995),  his films “American Splendor” (2003) and Happiness (1998) have won the Critics Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. And other films are quintuple Academy Award nominee “In the Bedroom” (2001), double Academy Award nominee and quintuple BAFTA nominee “21 Grams” (2003), double Academy Award nominee “The Savages” (2007), and most recently ” Martha Marcy may Marlene” (2011) and “Dark Horse” (2011).
Hope is consulting and giving lectures on independent film production and  the future of cinema around the world  for instance,  Forbes Global CEO conference and as the keynote speaker at Sundance’s Art House Convergence and the Power To The Pixel trans-media conference in London and Sundance’s Art House Convergence. Ted participated in many international film festivals juries like SXSW, Sundance and TV channels like CCTV in China, Fox News, CNN, NPR, A&E, Sundance channel and other media outlets. Ted is an academic at NYU graduate film school teaches the future of film and he opened the cinema research institute there ( Pam Grady_2012)

TED HOPE’s Credit 

????The Side Effect (producer) (pre-production)

2012Starlet (executive producer)

2011Dark Horse (producer)

2011Collaborator (executive producer)

2011Pandemic 41.410806, -75.654259 (short) (executive producer)

2011Martha Marcy May Marlene (executive producer)

2010Super (producer)

2009Adventureland (producer)

2007Towelhead (producer)

2007The Savages (producer)

2006Fast Track (producer)

2006Fay Grim (executive producer)

2006The Hawk Is Dying (executive producer)

2006Friends with Money (executive producer)

2005Thumbsucker (executive producer)

2005The Devil and Daniel Johnston (documentary) (executive producer)

2004A Dirty Shame (producer)

2004The Door in the Floor (producer)

200321 Grams (executive producer)

2003American Splendor (producer)

2002The Laramie Project (TV movie) (executive producer)

2001Lovely & Amazing (producer)

2001Human Nature (producer)

2001Storytelling (producer)

2001In the Bedroom (executive producer)

2000The Tao of Steve (executive producer)

1999/IRide with the Devil (producer)

1999The Lifestyle (documentary) (executive producer)

1998Arresting Gena (producer)

1998Luminous Motion (producer)

1998Happiness (producer)

1998No Looking Back (producer)

1998Fuzzy Logic (short) (producer)

1997Wonderland (documentary) (executive producer)

1997Love God (executive producer)

1997The Sticky Fingers of Time (executive producer)

1997The Myth of Fingerprints (executive producer)

1997Office Killer (executive producer)

1997The Ice Storm (producer)

1997Monsters (executive producer)

1996She’s the One (producer)

1996Greetings from Africa (documentary short) (executive producer)

1996Walking and Talking (producer)

1996What About Me? (producer)

1995Flirt (producer)

1995Safe (executive producer)

1995The Brothers McMullen (executive producer)

1994Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (producer)

1994Amateur (producer)

1994Eat Drink Man Woman (associate producer)

1994Auf Wiedersehen Amerika (line producer)

1994What Happened Was… (executive producer)

1993Surviving Desire (producer)

1993The Wedding Banquet (producer)

1992Simple Men (producer)

1992Pushing Hands (executive producer)

1992Punch and Judy Get Divorced (TV movie) (producer)

1991I Was on Mars (line producer)

1991Theory of Achievement (short) (producer)

1991/IIAmbition (short) (producer)

1991Angry (short) (producer)

1991Chicken Delight (short) (producer)

1991Keep It for Yourself (short) (producer)

1990Trust (line producer)

1989An Unremarkable Life (associate producer)

1987Doom Asylum (associate producer)


Pam Grady, 2012, sfgate, viewed 6th Spt 2012,<http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Producer-Ted-Hope-to-run-SF-Film-Society-3772810.php#ixzz23FbWMN24.>

Pam Grady, 2012, sfgate, viewed 6th Sep 2012,<http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Producer-Ted-Hope-to-run-SF-Film-Society-3772810.php#ixzz23Fc381b8>

Ted Hope, 2008, ‘ About me’, Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Spt 2012, <http://hopeforfilm.com/about-ted>

Ted Hope, 2010, ‘ office houre: Hope & Vachon’s killer/ Hope Twitter Q&A, Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Spt 2012, <http://trulyfreefilm.hopeforfilm.com/tag/christine-vachon>

Ted Hope, 2008, ‘ About me’, Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Spt 2012, <http://hopeforfilm.com/about-ted>

Ted Hope, 2009, ‘ Marketing & distribution’ , Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Spt 2012, <http://hopeforfilm.com/about-ted>

Ted Hope, 2011, ‘ How Much Does An American Indie Producer Get Paid?’, indiewire blog, weblog, viewed 8th Sep 2012, <http://blogs.indiewire.com/tedhope/how_much_does_an_american_indie_producer_get_paid>

Ted Hope, 2010, ‘ Ten Rules On The Producer’s Role In Development’, Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Spt 2012, <http://trulyfreefilm.hopeforfilm.com/2012/08/ten-rules-on-the-producers-role-in-development.html>

Ted Hope, 2012, tribecafilm, viewed 5th Spt 2012, <http://www.tribecafilm.com/tribecaonline/future-of-film/Ted-Hope-15-Steps-to-The-Better-Way-Vs-The-Easy-Way-In-Film-Production.html>

Ted Hope, 2012, ‘ What Is The Great Hope For The Future Of Cinema?’ , Hope for film blog, weblog, viewed 1st Sep 2012, <http://hopeforfilm.com/about-ted>

Scott Macaulay, 2012, filmmakermagazine, viewed 3rd Spt 2012, <http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2012/08/ted-hope-hired-as-new-s-f-film-society-executive-director/>

Reel, 2009, ‘ Ted Hope Discusses the Future of Finding Film Audiences’, vimeo, viewed 12th Sep 2012,< http://vimeo.com/4981506&gt;

Ron Saunders Interview by Yuqing Li & Cindy XY Wang

Ron Saunders Interview



Ron Saunders is a very experienced producer in producing children’s and adult television drama, animation, feature films, game shows and documentaries. He works for public and private production and broadcasting companies in media career that spans over 30 years. He is very widely experienced in international children’s program market.


Ron graduated from AFTVRS/AFTRS (Australia Film Television and Radio School) in 1973. After that he was employed as a tutor for Film Studies in Sturt College of Advanced Education for one year. He started his own company in 1974 and was an independent writer, producer and director at that time. From the 1980s, he had extensive works with the South Australia Film Corporation and Film Australia as executive producer. During that time, he produced a large number of documentaries. And also working as independent, he produced some TV series and feature films. Faire Game (1986) is an action film that Ron co-produced with Harley Manners and directed by Mario Andreacchio. That was his learning position of getting into the film industry. From 1993 to 1995 and 1995 to 1998, he managed Pacific Films Pty. Ltd. and Southern Star Pacific as Director. The well-known TV series Spellbinder (1995), Spellbinder 2: Land of the Dragon Lord (1997) and other children sci-fi TV series were produced and co-written by Ron. In the next three years, Ron worked as General Manager of Network ABC and Managing Director of Yoram Gross E.M.T.V. animation house. Since 2001, Ron started a joint venture as Pacific & Beyond Pty Ltd. He was the managing director till 2008. From that time, Ron focused on more children’s TV drama and programs. In 2008, he was appointed as the General Manager of Beyond Screen Production P/I (a division of Beyond International Pty Ltd). This division produces many children shows, e.g. Toybox; documentaries and much collaboration with the local television network and the international television stations.


Ron thinks the most successful thing for him is survive (in this industry), is keeping on working. He used to be an independent filmmaker for many years. The business is very uncertain, comparing to whom, is employed by a company or television network in the media industry. For him, working is the best thing.

Ron also mentioned about his success for the productions that he produced or made. Most of the production that he worked in, he worked in the way he wants and sold them for reasonable pay. The productions always make enough money for every party and he worked professionally as film or TV maker. He is very happy that he is still in the industry, which is a small group.  The productions run smoothly and happily. He endeavored into every production, so he would not pick the “most successful”, because he is satisfied with his productions and the time working on them. This is his accomplishment. Sitting in front of Ron, I can really feel his pride, his honor for his productions, and his happiness and satisfaction when talking about the productions.

When we researched on Ron Saunders, his Spillbinder (1995) has a lot of compliments and positive reviews on IMDb. The reviewers express their happy childhood memories of watching this TV series. Ron came up with the original idea of Spillbinder and co-developed with two writers to write each TV episode. 


Most of his problem is self-inflected, as being too tricky. From his point of view and where he is “sitting”, he is a producer whose main job is to find projects, develop projects and pitch them to broadcast or to sales agents. His position is always at the mercy of somebody else. They need to have interests in them and then producer has to find the money. This is the condition of this job that is always uncertain. You always have times that your projects are not very much liked and that are quiet dispiriting. You may be very easy to give up for the years of rejection. Some of the shows that had been put up, they died. The challenge is always getting up after you fall.

Where does the money come from?

The TV and the film industry are very similar in the way of funding. It always involves the government funding bodies such as Screen Australia, State agencies, government rebate and some investors. For TV shows and programs, the television networks (e.g. Network Seven and Nine) are always the main investors.

In the case of Toybox TV series that Ron produces, it is fully financed by the broadcast network. There are regulations for the commercial broadcast station to produce certain amount of pre-school (and children) materials. Because this kind of stuff is difficult to sell overseas, the broadcast will pay full amount.

The film Napoleon (1995)

The film Napoleon (1995) was directed by Mario Andreacchio and produced by Michael Bourchier and Ron Saunders. Napoleon was a very special and lucky case. The writers Mario and Michael had the script well written and pitched to different people. There was a Japanese company looking for project to film and they had been listen to the pitches in Australia. Mario and Michael pitched to the Japanese and they liked the idea. Although the Japanese company wanted Mario’s script to be filmed, they want a solid party to be involved. Mario and Michael needed Ron to be their executive producer as representative from Film Australia.

Ron provided advices during the production, through the shooting, the fine cut and the selling. This film was successful for its cost about five million dollars, gross about fifty million dollars and the ROI was about ten to fifteen million dollars. It was one of the top earners from Screen Australia.

This film was a lucky case is also because it had its distribution company settle very early. The commercial distributor was a medium Hollywood company that was also looking for production to distribute. They watched the rushes and decided to distribute this film while the team was still shooting.

In terms of profit, 60% of it got back to the investors. In this case, they were the Japanese company and Australian film corporations and government. 40% of the profit went to the producers. The marketing of this film was entirely handled by the distributor and spent over million dollars approximately.

The film The Dragon Pearl (2010)

This film was a co-production between Australia and China. They went through the formal Screen Australia co-production process. Half of the money came from China. For the Australian half, the money came from Screen Australia, state government, and private investors. In addition, they had the tax rebate of 40% of the expenditures. Two sales agencies handled the marketing of this film. One of them did the Southeast Asian market and the other agency did the rest of the world.

The film was only released in Adelaide. Refering to Ron, “it was not successful”. The film has many problems in the script and story and it is neither a good kid film nor a good adult film. Marketing and distribution are expensive. Lot of expenses is in case. The releasing companies thought that this film would not make enough box office and ROI to cover the costs and the investors were not likely to risk it.  Four out of ten Australian films may not be released.

Executive producer and relationships

Ron is mostly an executive producer in both television and film industries. He usually manages a range of projects at the same time. Unlike the (creative) producer, Ron’s role is to overlook various productions and sometimes give advices. The producer works closer with the particular project.

The nature of Ron’s job is finding projects and finding funds for them. So half of his relationship network is writers, directors and producers. Within this half, most of them are producers, some are talented writers and some directors. The other half is the funding body such as broadcast stations, presale agents and private investors. He worked really hard with the TV stations that can give him presale. The last group is his close industry friends who may be working in companies or individual filmmakers. They share the industry information together.

Film and TV credits (parts)

Quest Friends (12x15mins)

Children’s’ factual program coproduced with CCTV and ABC

2012 Exec Producer

TOYBOX series three (85x30mins)

Preschool program for Channel 7

2012 Exec Producer/co-creator

Lab Rats Challenge series two (65x30mins)

Children’s science game show

2012 Exec Producer/co-creator

TOYBOX series two (85x30mins)

Preschool program for Channel 7

2011 Exec Producer/co-creator

TOYBOX series one (75x30mins)

Preschool program for Channel 7

2010 Exec Producer/co-creator

The Dragon Pearl (feature film)

Co-production with Hang Dien Studios, China

2010 Exec Producer

Milly Molly (26x30mins)

Animation series, co-production with Scrawl Studios and MDA Singapore

2007-2009 Exec Producer

Lab Rats Challenge series one (65x30mins)

Children’s science game show

2008 Exec Producer/co-creator

Emerald Falls (Telemovie)

2007 Exec Producer

Double Trouble (13x30mins)

Children’s drama

2006-2007 Exec Producer

New MacDonalds Farm Series 1-3 (135x30mins)

Pre-school program

2004-2007 Producer/Exec Producer/co-creator

Backyard Science series 1-3 (52x30mins)

Children’s science program

2003-2007 Exec Producer

Magic Mountain (53x10mins)

Co-production with ABC, CCTV, Southern Star

1997 Producer/Script Editor/co-creator

Spellbinder 2: Land of the Dragon Lord (26x30mins)

Children’s series, co-production with Polish Television, Shanghai Film Studios, Film Australia and Southern Star

1997 Exec Producer

Napoleon (Feature film)

1993 Exec Producer

Yuqing Li & Cindy XY Wang

Assessment item 2: Producer / Creative Team Case Study

  • Objective(s): a, b, d
  • Weighting: 20%
  • Due: Week 6-7
  • Task: Students identify and conduct initial research on a producer or creative team. Following from this, students arrange to interview a working creative producer or creative team. Students present the results to the class in a short verbal presentation and a longer written presentation that is uploaded to a class blog, along with relevant additional audio and video materials.

Groups of 2 (unless approved by Louise Alston)

Interview scope:

  • Summarize their career to date.
  • What are their successes, challenges, key relationships?
  • How does their business work?  Creatively? Financially? In terms of marketing to their audience?
  • What do they get back from their work that isn’t money?
  • Summarize their creative process in general or on a particular project.

Presentation: 10 – 15mins: In class, both team members to present together.

Blog post:

POST YOUR BLOG POST HERE! Go to “dashboard” and in “Posts” click on “Add New”
1500 words.

Please post blog to: http://www.creativeproducing2012.wordpress.com

Step one: Log in
Username: creativeproducing2012
Password: producing2012

Step two: post your blog

Step three: If you would like to edit your post click on “All Posts” in “Posts” and edit!

The password will change on Friday 14th Sept at 5pm – no more posts or edits will be accepted after this.