U.K. Market: Producing Low-Budget Films Successfully

Hosted by Laurie Cook


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Laurie Cook

Webinar hosted by: Laurie Cook

Producer/Head of Development at Bigscope Films

Laurie Cook worked as an Assistant Director for the BBC and Sky for four years before moving into Development, reading for companies such as Working Title, Qwerty Films and Element Pictures. Combining an experience of on set physical production and spotting talented script writers, he began producing high concept, low-budget, commercial films. Laurie is now a Producer and Head Of Development at Bigscope Films in London. Laurie's credits include Don't Hang Up, Pressure, Alien Outpost, Hangar 10, Camera Trap, Honor and The Trade. Four of his films have sold theatrically across the world and he is always on the look out for the next talented writer or director. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Laurie Cook, Producer and Head of Development at Bigscope Films, who's produced 6 feature films that have sold theatrically worldwide!

With advances in modern technology across all facets of production, post and distribution, there is no better time to go and make a low-budget film and establish yourself in the industry. From Christopher Nolans' £4,000 Following to Eran Creevy's £100,000 Shifty to Jay Blakeson's £1 million Disappearance of Alice, there are different types of "low-budget" that have been proven successes in their own right, but more importantly a launching pad for the filmmakers.

So what kind of film should you make? And how can you, regardless of how small your budget is, get the most for your money? Most importantly, how can you make sure that the right kind of people see your film once you have made it?

In this exclusive stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Laurie Cook will guide writers, directors and producers through his experience developing and producing for the UK low-budget market. Having produced 6 low-budget feature films in the past few years within the UK, which all received worldwide theatrical distribution, Laurie will teach you his tips and tricks for producing low-budget, high production value feature films and how to best utilize UK resources. From development ideas to sources of finance, production tips to the ever-changing distribution landscape, this will be your go-to guide for navigating the low-budget UK film market, with an open question and answer throughout the webinar for maximum interaction.

What You'll Learn

  • What is “low-budget?" - Low Vs. Micro, Short Vs. Feature, Expectations.
    • Low Vs Micro – my definitions and the difference.
      • £500k - £2 million.
      • Professional Vs Guerilla.
      • When to throw out the rulebook.
    • What are your expectations as a writer/director/producer of making a low-budget film?
      • Where do you think this will take you?
      • This will not make you money!
      • Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?
    • The perils of low-budget filmmaking.
      • Same problems, no money!
      • More work, no money!
    • Shorts Vs Features.
      • What kind of story are you telling? (case study Special and The Volunteer).
      • The concept short and why it’s clever (case study: Breathe).
      • Different kinds of problems.
    • The UK Market and low-budget films.
      • A bit of a dirty word.
      • Successes and Failures – what is success to you?
      • How to be low-budget without showing it – production values, cast, script, supporters.
  • Developing a Low-Budget Film - What Kind of Stories Work Best On a Low-Budget?
    • Case study: Ben Wheatley and Down Terrace / Kill List.
    • What stories to avoid.
    • To be Contained or not to be Contained.
    • Big ideas on a low-budget.
  • How to Finance at a Low-Budget - U.K. Sources of Development Finance.
    • The British Film Institute – remit and role in the industry.
    • Film 4.
    • BFI Vs Net Work/Creative England – The Emerging Talent Fund.
    • Talent Centres – Brighton/Sheffield.
    • Film London & Microwave scheme.
    • Regional support – West Midlands, Screen Yorkshire, Creative Scotland, Film Cymru (Film Agency Wales).
    • How to develop for free.
  • Low-Budget Production Tips.
    • Pre-production.
      • Why pre-production is your friend.
      • Neg checks and clearances.
      • Insurance.
    • Health & Safety.
      • The Producer’s main responsibility.
      • Risk assessments.
      • Medic Vs First Aid.
    • How to get the best from your crew.
      • Be honest with the crew from the start.
      • Experience Vs Enthusiasm.
      • Lead by example – what to do on set.
    • Low-budget not low quality.
      • How to get the most from your location.
      • What to shoot on?
      • Talent and how to attract it (roles, scheduling).
      • How to get the most money on screen:
        • Clever scheduling.
        • When the best location is not the right one.
        • VFX and how to use them.
  • Post-Production.
    • Don’t forget about post-production.
      • Low-budget, big look.
      • Wait if you have to.
      • Free music and the importance of sound.
      • You can’t just “fix it in post”.
    • Realistic Distribution.
      • The importance of the Sales Agent (what they do, when to go to them).
      • Festivals.
      • Different forms of distribution that might suit your film.
    • How to make the most out of your low-budget.
      • Means nothing if no one sees it.
      • Using it for the next one.
      • What to do different next time.
      • It’s all an achievement.
  • Recorded Q&A with Laurie!

About Your Instructor

Laurie Cook worked as an Assistant Director for the BBC and Sky for four years before moving into Development, reading for companies such as Working Title, Qwerty Films and Element Pictures. Combining an experience of on set physical production and spotting talented script writers, he began producing high concept, low-budget, commercial films.

Laurie is now a Producer and Head Of Development at Bigscope Films in London. Laurie's credits include Don't Hang Up, Pressure, Alien Outpost, Hangar 10, Camera Trap, Honor and The Trade. Four of his films have sold theatrically across the world and he is always on the look out for the next talented writer or director.


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