Is a question I get asked a lot. So much so that I decided to write an article about it, which can be found over at BlockBuster Buzz at The Times Online. Views welcomed.
Archive for April, 2009
Mentor, friend and the most consummate of Producers; a man whose example I strive to live up to, Simon Channing Williams died Easter weekend. I’m sadder than I have any right to be, I knew him only slightly, but in many ways he has informed my career and with his death I feel a loss of something greater than I knew I had.
- We first met because of the co-incidence that we attended the same school, decades apart. I was at the start of my career, and had been offered a break, invited back to directing a play (Tom Stoppard’s ARCADIA) in commemoration of the school’s 75th anniversary, as my first professional gig. The math made clear that there was going to be a gap in the finances. I gave him the pitch, glossing over the inevitable loss and trying to get him to invest through his company. He saw at once that we were going to lose money, but he wrote us a personal cheque the same day: “I’ll do this one personally, if you lose it, then its my loss” he said. We lost about half of it, the balance we offered to return to him – he told us to give it to charity.
- A few years later, when at grad school, I asked if I could shadow him as part of an assignment on management methodology. He accepted without hesitation, and then tolerated my dogging his every step over every minute of a stressful week. At the end of the week, I submitted my report – a minutia obsessed, faux academic analysis of his personal style. I don’t think it taught him much, about himself it told me I had found my life’s work: I wanted to do what he did.
- One thing that stands out from that week: a lorry driver had run into his beloved mini, denting its rear. The driver had left a note under the wipers, apologizing, and supplying his insurance details. SCW spent the whole morning, making phone call after phone call, trying to track down the lorry driver to thank him for his consideration and honesty. I’d never seen someone go so out of their way simply to say thank you - for an accident that left him with a problem, at that.
- When I started slingshot, just over 3 years ago, I went to see him to tell him about the new company and to try and persuade him to be an adviser or board member. “That sounds like a good plan” he said, “I think you are onto something. But I don’t think you need my help anymore”. I think I probably did, but I benefited more from his telling me to go it alone. Something that I, and the many others who he mentored and built up as he did me, must all now do.
Delighted to announce that TORMENTED, our 4th and bloodiest film opens nationwide, under the joint stewardship of Pathe and Warner Brothers on 22 May 2009. More over at the film’s quite fantastic website, the heart of a properly clever digital marketing campaign of which we are very proud. Thanks to our old friends at Franki & Jonny whose creativity and digital dexterity underpin all of it, to the seven other brilliant agencies involved and to Pierre Oger who has been our digital mole at Pathe: Pierre, this could’t happen without you. Click on Alex’s finger below to be taken to tormentedthemovie.com