On Friday, 30th November, the Irish Film School gave a one-day course on the Business of Film in Dublin at The National College of Ireland. The course was led by Kieran Corrigan with guest speakers from Great Point Media, Nada Cirjanic and Matt Stevens.
Kieran Corrigan: Kieran is director of Merlin Films, a leading independent Irish film production company. Kieran has collaborated with award-winning and world-famous film directors John Boorman and Roger Corman for over 25 years. He has produced and arranged the financing for a significant number of international motion pictures, including The General, The Tailor of Panama and Queen and Country. Most recently Kieran was Executive Producer on Supervized and We Have Always Lived in The Castle.
Nada Cirjanic: Nada is Head of Sales at Great Point Media, where she sells major territories and works with film producers to help package and finance projects for international sales. Nada previously held top sales positions at Independent Film Sales, Protagonist Pictures and Film4. Nada has worked on films including Calvary, Sightseers, Searching for Sugarman and ’71.
Matt Stevens: Matt is Commercial Director at Great Point Media, where he evaluates scripts and produces and finances television programmes and films. Matt’s credits include We Have Always Lived in The Castle, Supervized & more. Matt qualified as a chartered accountant at a Big Four accountancy firm and has spent time working in corporate finance and business valuations on a wide range of projects in M&A, financing, tax planning and litigation.
What makes an attractive project?
The day began with lawyer, chartered accountant and producer Kieran Corrigan introducing the key concepts surrounding production and the personnel involved. Kieran also provided an overview of film financing, covering topics such as sources of funding, international co-productions, tax incentives and finance plans.
Drawing on his long-term collaborations with director John Boorman and the ‘Pope of Pop Cinema’ Roger Corman, as well as his experience of working with top talent such as Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall and Pierce Brosnan, Kieran gave tips on how best to manage successful productions with complex financing structures.
When developing a project Kieran stressed the importance of focussing on two key issues:
- What is attractive commercially?
- What is attractive to national and regional funds?
Although it can be tempting to become fixated on the creative elements when developing a project, Kieran provided vital advice on ensuring that early agreements are watertight, examining intellectual ownership and that the chain of title of your project is well defined. He emphasised that this is usually the first thing that a financier will look for.
What does a sales agent do and what do they need from producers?
Later that day, Nada Cirjanic, Head of Sales at Great Point Media, explored the key issues around sales and distribution. This included breaking down sales estimates, exploring the sales agent and producer relationship and examining studios vs. indie box offices.
Of particular interest were Nada’s fascinating insights into what sells today in the indie/studio markets, how best to package your film and which festivals and markets filmmakers should be attending.
How to deliver the films you promise
Rounding up the day was Matt Steven’s session on his lessons and insights from film and television financing. Matt took the class through the finance plan process and gave advice on controlling production cash flows and stakeholder management. Practical case studies and tips for dealing with adversity helped to give the students the tools to best push their project forward.
Our student cohort mingled during the morning coffee and lunch breaks with their instructors in the on-site restaurant. Students availed of a hot meal or sandwich while chatting about their various projects and swapping information and tips.
At the end of the day a certificate was presented to each student by Kieran and they were invited to have a glass of fizz to mark the moment with their instructors and the Irish Film School team. Ideas were pitched and contact details were exchanged during our networking event.
Read our student testimonials to find out how they got on.
Upon completion of their course our students are invited to join our Alumni Association – an online forum where they can continue to share stories and exchange information. We post job opportunities and news and events here for our past students, along with exclusive discounts.
Book Now for 2019
Do you know which festivals are better for commercial product and which suit auteurs? Where should you be heading if your film deals with social issues or is set against complex political backdrops? What’s the difference between a presale and a minimum guarantee?
Book now and learn the answers to the above, hear how the film and TV production landscape is changing and much more. Enrolments are now being accepted for our courses to be held in Dublin and London in 2019. Places are limited and to reserve your space please book here.