What makes for a good writer/producer relationship?

Report from the Scottish Film Summit 2015

The Scottish Film Summit on 17 June 2015, leading up to the opening night of Edinburgh International Film Festival, was a busy day, with multiple panel sessions morning and afternoon. Perhaps reflecting Creative Scotland‘s creative industry remit the discussions didn’t just include film but also TV, games, new media and media education.

WGGB President Olivia Hetreed chaired a panel on writer/producer relationships and how to help them work better. Appropriately perhaps one of the panellists was her husband, producer Andy Paterson, who has a long involvement with Scottish film, from Restless Natives to The Railway Man.

The emphasis of the day was on producing practical and workable suggestions, and since Robbie Allen from Creative Scotland and Lizzie Francke from British Film Institute were both in the audience we were certainly in a direct dialogue with public funders.

After a good discussion of what makes for a good writer/producer relationship and how that can be fostered, we came up with a series of action points.

We welcomed Creative Scotland’s new direct access for writers to development funds, and want this to become a permanent feature. But it is important for public funders not to usurp the role of producers in this area.

We questioned the policy of funding a very small number of films (typically five to seven), and while we recognised that funds are small, we felt that without a larger number of films being made it is impossible for writers or producers to build a career in Scottish film.

We strongly encouraged the broadcasters to commit to support for Scottish film, from development through production, at short and feature length.

These action points were fed back to the final summit meeting and a digest of the summit’s recommendations will go back to the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, who gave the keynote address, and to all the relevant authorities.