16 March 2015

Industry top tips from Film4’s BAFTA award-winning Producer Gerardine O’Flynn

By Danny Kelly | Categorised in VIP Guest Speakers, Industry Interviews

Met Film School was pleased to welcome guest speaker Gerardine O’Flynn to talk about her career as Production Finance Manager at Film4, where her credits include recent hits Sightseers, A Field in England and ’71. Her work as an independent short film producer has also proven fruitful, seeing her collaboration with director John Maclean – the Michael Fassbender starring Pitch Black Heist – receive the Short Film BAFTA award in 2012. She has so far worked as a producer to five short films to date.

BAFTA Short Film award acceptance speech and interview.

Based on Gerardine’s experience of working in different avenues within the film industry, we thought it would be good to gather a few pearls of wisdom she thinks you bare in mind…

  1. “Always ask questions!” -When meeting with anyone, “there’s never a question you could ask that could be too stupid”, a claim she supported through highlighting times when she has questioned something, only to be faced with matching puzzlement. Ask away, guys!
  2. Don’t ask anyone to do a job that you are not willing to do yourself” – Gerardine gave this tip with particularly her experience of working on short film sets in mind, but really it’s a pretty solid piece of universal advice. Speaking in more detail she expressed the importance of striving to minimise hierarchal separation on set, and that sometimes you quite simply have to “empty the bins and clean out the toilets‘. No one said it was all going to be glamorous!
  3. “Always ask for a waver code!”– Lets face it, making short films independently can be a financial nightmare, so if there’s any obvious way to cut down on extra fees, it’s got to be worth exploiting! If you are lucky enough to have made a short film you are proud of you are probably want to submit it to as many film festivals as you can, which with all those submission fees can be expensive. For those unaware, a waiver code is essentially the golden ticket to avoiding that fee and, according to Gerardine, can often be obtained through making the right contacts, or sometimes from just sending a professional e-mail. There are a few extra tips to be found here too.
  4. “It’s good to subtlety give someone a nudge” – We all know how competitive the entertainment industry can be, and Gerardine was honest in saying that the Film4 team is quite compact. It can be an underwhelming process for students and graduate who are sending countless CVs out to only find their own inbox looking far too desolate. However, the advice provided during the masterclass was more optimistic in that it reassured students that those e-mails we send out aren’t totally ignored. Gerardine spoke of particular Assistant Director who “every six to eight months” will send her an e-mail to give update on his most recent projects. These little ‘nudges‘ find their way to a ‘Jobs & CVs’ folder that becomes a useful list of appropriate candidates for when a job comes to fruition.

Most recently Gerardine has been working on upcoming Film4 sci-fi project The Lobsterfeaturing Rachel Weisz, Lea Séydoux, Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman, as well as completing producing work on the short film Hen Pecked.

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