movie director
teamwork

THE FIRST FEATURE FILM I PRODUCED

90  days of pre-production

15   days of filming

7,450   GBP budget

8   crew members

11  international nominations

5  wins

I FELL INTO PRODUCING...

And I’m glad I did.

I was so eager to act that I began writing my own material. And then I found I relished being able to produce it myself.

My first professionally produced play was Truly, Madly and I was privileged to have my best friend at the time at my side, writing and producing with me. We both gave 100% and that is an exceptionally rare thing. The play toured nationally and garnered fabulous reviews and a loyal following. Best of all, Pearson Television (now FREMANTLE MEDIA) offered us a contract to turn the show into a sitcom.

Sadly, due to us being in South Africa, and with the TV development stage still in its infancy back then, the only channel who could have accommodated us had just signed up to a five-year contract with Penguin Productions for five new sitcoms.

South African play

TRULY, MADLY

British sitcom

FUGGERS    

NOT HAPPY TO WAIT 5 YEARS...

I moved with my husband to the U.K. and started from scratch. Without my wonderful business partner. In a completely foreign culture (to me, anyway). What a challenge!

Soon afterwards, I wrote, produced, and got sponsorship for, a new comedy for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Actress, Bachelor, Clergyman, Cheat.

Audiences came back again and again, which was incredible — there are so many choices at the EdFringe, it’s rare for anyone to watch a play more than once. (Although it might have had something to do with the yummy Irish soap star I’d brought onboard.)

We stayed the entire month, and The Scotsman newspaper gave us a lovely write-up, which gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

 

FUGGERS.

Fuggers was a sitcom pilot I’d written. (I’d even co-written the theme song. That’s how committed I was.)

By this time my long-suffering husband was used to me spending all my — and his — hard-earned cash, what little there was, on my ventures. But he heartily supported my producing the 30-minute TV show on a low/no budget, so I could offer something more than just a script and series outline to the BBC.

The experience was a mind-blowing rollercoaster of exhaustion, fabulousness, fun and exhilaration.

Worth it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? Not on a micro budget, no.

 

 

NOT HAPPY TO WAIT 5 YEARS...

I moved with my husband to the U.K. and started from scratch. Without my wonderful business partner. In a completely foreign culture (to me, anyway). What a challenge!

Soon afterwards, I wrote, produced, and got sponsorship for, a new comedy for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Actress, Bachelor, Clergyman, Cheat.

Audiences came back again and again, which was incredible — there are so many choices at the EdFringe, it’s rare for anyone to watch a play more than once. (Although it might have had something to do with the yummy Irish soap star I’d brought onboard.)

We stayed the entire month, and The Scotsman newspaper gave us a lovely write-up, which gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

 

FUGGERS.

Fuggers was a sitcom pilot I’d written. (I’d even co-written the theme song. That’s how committed I was.)

By this time my long-suffering husband was used to me spending all my — and his — hard-earned cash, what little there was, on my ventures. But he heartily supported my producing the 30-minute TV show on a low/no budget, so I could offer something more than just a script and series outline to the BBC.

The experience was a mind-blowing rollercoaster of exhaustion, fabulousness, fun and exhilaration.

Worth it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? Not on a micro budget, no.

 

 

FUGGERS    

HORRORS!

Putting my own projects aside for a while, I gained a ton of experience helping two local filmmaker friends — one of whom is doing very well for himself — produce a bunch of short films and various other projects, including a full-length horror.

This gave me the confidence I needed to take on the role of lead producer for the next feature film.

Somehow I was persuaded to start up a production company for that movie. No idea how that happened, but I managed to successfully pitch investors, to the tune of £150,000.

I was amazed. It was hard work, but it was paying off. We were on our way.

 

GLITZ & GLAMOUR

Our feature film was accepted into international film festivals in Europe and the USA. And of course we had to attend the Red Carpet events…

5 awards and 11 nominations later, including Best Feature Film…

We were on such a high.

Our awards got us noticed enough to be offered a distribution deal with a reputable company. A Distribution Deal! We were SO excited.

 

UITHOUVERMOE

Pronounced ‘eight-hoe-fir-moo-uh’ (kind of).

Uithouvermoe is a fabulous Afrikaans word that, literally translated, means: ‘carrying tired’.

Its English couterpart is ENDURANCE.

My husband is constantly telling me I’ve got that in spades.

Having produced half a musical, a sitcom pilot, two plays and a feature film, as well as having co-produced several short films and another feature — all on a shoestring — I look forward to getting my grubby mitts on some real cash so I can bring my own screenplays to life on the silver screen.

Watch this space…

 

wet film shoot

THEN DISASTER HIT.

A number of blows came at once, and all the investors let us down. (We were asking for investment in our company rather than in just one movie. One of the challenges came about when half the investors wanted equity and the other half did not. I won’t bore you with the details.)

We went ahead and produced the full-length movie anyway, on a budget of £7,450.

By the end of the shoot, I realised: I had produced a feature film. One with excellent production values. On a micro budget.

If I could do that, imagine what I could do with a proper budget and a full-size film crew!

 

UNFORTUNATELY...

Due to one insurmountable challenge that was out of my hands, and still is…

We couldn’t go through with the deal.

That experience taught me a few valuable lessons.

Maybe I’ll share them someday.

 

But that’s not where my story ends.

 

HORRORS!

Putting my own projects aside for a while, I gained a ton of experience helping two local filmmaker friends — one of whom is doing very well for himself — produce a bunch of short films and various other projects, including a full-length horror.

This gave me the confidence I needed to take on the role of lead producer for the next feature film.

Somehow I was persuaded to start up a production company for that movie. No idea how that happened, but I managed to successfully pitch investors, to the tune of £150,000.

I was amazed. It was hard work, but it was paying off. We were on our way.

 

THEN DISASTER HIT.

A number of blows came at once, and all the investors let us down. (We were asking for investment in our company rather than in just one movie. One of the challenges came about when half the investors wanted equity and the other half did not. I won’t bore you with the details.)

We went ahead and produced the full-length movie anyway, on a budget of £7,450.

By the end of the shoot, I realised: I had produced a feature film. One with excellent production values. On a micro budget.

If I could do that, imagine what I could do with a proper budget and a full-size film crew!

 

GLITZ & GLAMOUR

Our feature film was accepted into international film festivals in Europe and the USA. And of course we had to attend the Red Carpet events…

5 awards and 11 nominations later, including Best Feature Film…

We were on such a high.

Our awards got us noticed enough to be offered a distribution deal with a reputable company. A Distribution Deal! We were SO excited.

 

UNFORTUNATELY...

Due to one insurmountable challenge that was out of my hands, and still is…

We couldn’t go through with the deal.

That experience taught me a few valuable lessons.

Maybe I’ll share them someday.

 

But that’s not where my story ends.

 

UITHOUVERMOE

Pronounced ‘eight-hoe-fir-moo-uh’ (kind of).

Uithouvermoe is a fabulous Afrikaans word that, literally translated, means: ‘carrying tired’.

Its English couterpart is ENDURANCE.

My husband is constantly telling me I’ve got that in spades.

Having produced half a musical, a sitcom pilot, two plays and a feature film, as well as having co-produced several short films and another feature — all on a shoestring — I look forward to getting my grubby mitts on some real cash so I can bring my own screenplays to life on the silver screen.

Watch this space…