Film Matters lectures

These lectures are designed for anyone looking to develop their film making skills and keen to learn directly from experienced professionals in the film industry.

They are ideal for anyone looking to pitch an idea for funding to a film body, and anyone working on a concept for The Pitch.

Upcoming lectures

  • 29 August 2017 - Writing Comedy: Sitcoms & Other Nonsense
  • 26 September 2017 - Film Matters & Sustainability (FREE EVENT)
  • 31 October 2017 - The Primary Colours of Story: how to understand and harness the power in a story
  • 14 November 2017 - The fun history of IMDb
  • 15 November 2017 - Directing for Short Film
  • 28 November 2017 - Make Some Noise
  • 5 December 2017 - Finishing Well
  • 23 January 2018 - Signs of Faith in Contemporary Art
  • 6 February 2018 - The Primary Colours of Story: how to understand and harness the power in a story

Writing Comedy: Sitcoms & Other Nonsense

Tuesday 29 August 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Set-ups, punchlines, tricks & tips from sitcom writer and comedian Paul Kerensa. Paul will lift the lid on the comedymobile, tinker around and see if any sparks fly while stepping well back. Come and hear about making the most of opportunities, how to give yourself the leg-up needed in the world of professional comedy writing, and some elementary joke-writing tuition. We’ll look at bits and pieces ranging from the building blocks of narrative comedy, to how/should you get God into your comedy vehicle (or if he’s there already).

Paul Kerensa
Exiled Cornishman Paul Kerensa has established himself as one of British comedy’s leading talents, both as a writer and a comedian. As a stand-up, he’s known as a likeable, intelligent and creative comic, ever since winning ITV’s Take The Mike Award in 2002, and becoming a finalist in the BBC New Comedy Awards & The Daily Telegraph Open Mic Awards the same year. Since then he has gone on to work regularly all over the UK and Europe, including The Comedy Store, Jongleurs, the Montreal Comedy Festival, and five solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, ranging from spoofs of Back To The Future to journeys through the Bible and around the world in his most recent show, ‘Borderline Racist’. Previous shows caused Chortle.co.uk to say: “Very funny, very clever, an excellent Edinburgh show” and call him a “wildly talented comic”.

He was nominated for a British Comedy Award as part of the writing team for Miranda, which he continues to work on. He has written on each series of Lee Mack’s sitcom Not Going Out among other shows, and is a published author with his book So a Comedian Walks Into a Church, available from DLT Books since March 2013. His writing helped win hit sitcom Not Going Out a Rose d’Or Award in 2008, as well as a nomination for the British Comedy Award for Best New Sitcom. Miranda has recently been nominated for three Royal Television Society Awards, including for best writing and best sitcom.

Film Matters & Sustainability (FREE EVENT)

Tuesday 26 September 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

This Film Matters lecture will be led by a speaker from Albert. It will be a practical lecture, helping film makers reduce their impact on the environment and embed sustainable production values in their film shoots.

Starting at the pre-production stage, the lecture will work through a range of ideas and suggestions.

The lecture will focus on the following areas of the production process:
• Preparation
• Production Office
• Studios & Stages
• Travel
• On Location
• Post-Production

Albert covers these core principles:
• To seek to reduce the negative environmental impact of programme production wherever possible
• To share and embed sustainable values and behaviour with cast, crew and their supply chain
• To promote sustainable production to colleagues within the production or company, across the wider industry, and where appropriate, the audience

The speaker from Albert will work with participants to help them understand and complete as many sustainable actions as possible.

For more information Albert visit: http://wearealbert.org/about

The Primary Colours of Story: how to understand and harness the power in a story

Tuesday 31 October 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Using clips and examples from classics such as Back to the Future, David Baboulene explains the key elements that give stories their power and which give you a toolkit for managing that power. Character growth, moral argument, knowledge gaps and subtext, the story world, conflict and key questions are all made plain, followed by an opportunity for Q&A with the story consultant who literally wrote the book.

David Baboulene
David Baboulene is a published author of six books (including The Story Book, 2010), scriptwriter, professional story consultant and a Ph.D. scholar of story theory whose research is changing the way contemporary media industries create and evaluate stories.

Delegate comments on David's previous story seminars
Every session provided a ‘eureka moment’ for me; another sudden insight into ways to improve my stories and find direction for me as a writer.”
“A wonderful combination of technical knowledge balanced with the recognition that story must come from the heart of the individual. Your seminars have helped me enormously.”
“Made something very complex beautifully clear.”
“Hugely entertaining and motivating.”
“It would be hard to improve these seminars. I would recommend them to everyone.”

The fun history of IMDb

Tuesday 14 November 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Join Col Needham: IMDb Founder and CEO, for this Film Matters lecture.

Col Needham is the founder and CEO of IMDb, the #1 movie website in the world. Born and living in the UK, Col has had a lifelong interest in both technology and movies. After starting a computer games software business at the age of 14, he went on to complete a computer science degree at Leeds University before commencing a career in technology research in Bristol, England. IMDb grew out of a personal database of movie information which Col created as a teenager, combined with similar data collected on the Internet in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Col published the first version of IMDb online in October 1990 and co-ordinated IMDb as a worldwide volunteer effort from 1990-1996. IMDb incorporated in January 1996 with the volunteers as shareholders and IMDb became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com in April 1998. Col continues in his original role to this day, working from an office in Bristol with IMDb staff members in countries around the world. Col is a board member of Into Film. He received a 2014 Creative Coalition Independent Spotlight award for his work to support independent filmmaking. Col was a jury member at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. IMDb is the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. To learn more about IMDb or Col Needham, go to: www.imdb.com/press

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

Directing for Short Film

Wednesday 15 November 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

If you can create a ‘look’ for your film, your career will rocket. But why do so many British feature films, especially those by first-time directors, fail to achieve this important artistic success? When the technique needed for visually pleasing single-camera direction is so basic, why do so many directors fail to make the right choices? And when actors can add so much to a production, why don’t directors take the time to ensure that their actors perform to the best of their abilities?

This lecture teaches you the secrets of maximising performances from the cast while realising the importance of the ultimate audience – the camera. Learn how to direct on-time and on-budget.

Patrick Tucker
Patrick Tucker started directing for the stage in 1968 and for the screen in 1976, and has directed over 250 productions for the stage and over 200 dramas for the screen (including one feature) all over the world. His last stage work was Measure, For Measure for the Blackfriars Theatre in Virginia, and on screen a Russian sit-com Olympiada 80 filmed in Latvia (in Russian). He has lectured and run workshops on the various aspects of it all since the mid-1970s, and his books Secrets of Acting Shakespeare (Routledge 2nd Ed. 2017) and Secrets of Screen Acting (3rd Ed. Routledge 2014) contain many original insights – as do his workshops.

Make Some Noise

Tuesday 28 November 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

Halo Post, 25 Noel Street, London W1F 8GX

Join Jay Price from Halo Post on thinking through sound design in the development phase of your short film. Learn how this can create opportunities, and save on not only making mistakes but enhance your finished film!

Halo Post
Halo offer end to end post production, under one roof. Their services include Grade, TV Sound, Film Sound, Online Editing, Offline Editing, Sound Editorial, Foley, ADR and Voice Recording, Remote Editing, Workflow and Technical Services.

Finishing Well

Tuesday 5 December 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

Halo Post, 25 Noel Street, London W1F 8GX

Too often short films are short on proper planning for post. This talk will give you tips on preparing for colouring and grading your film and some of the pitfalls that can arise through the kit choices you make as well as the shot choices you want.

Halo Post
Halo offer end to end post production, under one roof. Their services include Grade, TV Sound, Film Sound, Online Editing, Offline Editing, Sound Editorial, Foley, ADR and Voice Recording, Remote Editing, Workflow and Technical Services.

Signs of Faith in Contemporary Art

Tuesday 23 January 2018 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

At this lecture you will hear Alastair Gordon talk about his book God Art, which is an accumulation of research from the last five years towards the place of belief in contemporary art. He will make reference to a few fine art films during the lecture.

Alastair Gordon
Alastair Gordon is a London based artist and lecturer. His paintings feature in various international collections and art fairs. Recent solo exhibitions at Ahmanson Gallery (Los Angeles), Nunnery Gallery (London), Bearspace Gallery (London) and Nomas Projects* (Dundee).

Gordon received his BA Hons at Glasgow School of Art (2002) and MA from Wimbledon School of Art, London (2012). After graduating he was awarded the Departure Arts residency in east London where he went on to establish Husk Gallery. He has received several awards for his painting including the Shoosmiths Prize in 2014 and shortlisted for various national and international prizes including Griffin Art Prize, Threadneedle Painting Prize and The Open West.

Gordon lectures at universities and art schools across the UK and is course leader for the professional practice graduate programme at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. He is co-founder of the Morphē Arts Trust and writes for various publications on contemporary painting and the place of faith in art. His second book, God Art, was published in the UK earlier this year.

The Primary Colours of Story: how to understand and harness the power in a story

Tuesday 6 February 2018 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Using clips and examples from classics such as Back to the Future, David Baboulene explains the key elements that give stories their power and which give you a toolkit for managing that power. Character growth, moral argument, knowledge gaps and subtext, the story world, conflict and key questions are all made plain, followed by an opportunity for Q&A with the story consultant who literally wrote the book.

David Baboulene
David Baboulene is a published author of six books (including The Story Book, 2010), scriptwriter, professional story consultant and a Ph.D. scholar of story theory whose research is changing the way contemporary media industries create and evaluate stories.

Delegate comments on David's previous story seminars
“Every session provided a ‘eureka moment’ for me; another sudden insight into ways to improve my stories and find direction for me as a writer.”
“A wonderful combination of technical knowledge balanced with the recognition that story must come from the heart of the individual. Your seminars have helped me enormously.”
“Made something very complex beautifully clear.”
“Hugely entertaining and motivating.”
“It would be hard to improve these seminars. I would recommend them to everyone.”

Please note that Film Matters lectures are subject to change. If you have any questions, please contact us

Previous Film Matters lectures

Pitching a producible film

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Need to sell your film project? Want to learn how to make 10 minutes count? This is a great opportunity to learn from Producer Jackie Sheppard on the best steps to prepare for Pitching to executives. An experienced producer, Jackie will talk through preparation and delivery skills that can make your idea shine. Jackie will also present a "fly on the wall" view of the Pinewood experience of pitchers over the past few years, the highs, the lows, the challenges and the triumphs for those seeking the £25,000 prize. Don't miss this chance to hone your skills.

Jackie Sheppard

Following collaboration with Mark Blaney and Footprint Films on projects in development over several years Jackie joined Footprint Films as Joint Managing Director of the company in June 2004.

At Footprint, Jackie has produced the feature film Africa United, with producing partner Mark Blaney, and Rwandan producer Eric Kabera. She has also produced the funded shorts, Home (Reel Issues Films), Curfew (Screen South/UKFC), I am Sami and Supraman and the School of Necessity (The Doorpost) with Mark Blaney. Together they Exec Produced four short films for the UKFC/Screen South’s Digital Shorts programme (Hammer and Flame, Out of Water, Plenty of Spoons, The Karmic Wheel of Doo Doo).

Away from Footprint Jackie produced the short films Unscripted, Derelict and Rahab (all for Reel Issues Films), the latter as part of Footprint’s work on The Pitch film competition.

Story Power: How to understand and harness the power in your story ideas

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (GMT)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Using clips and examples from classics such as Back to the Future, David Baboulene explains the key elements that give stories their power and which give you a toolkit for managing that power. Character growth, moral argument, knowledge gaps and subtext, the story world, conflict and key questions are all made plain, followed by an opportunity for Q&A with the story consultant who literally wrote the book.

David Baboulene

David Baboulene is a published author of six books (including The Story Book, 2010), scriptwriter, professional story consultant and a Ph.D. scholar of story theory whose research is changing the way contemporary media industries create and evaluate stories.

Delegate comments on David's previous story seminars
“Every session provided a ‘eureka moment’ for me; another sudden insight into ways to improve my stories and find direction for me as a writer.”
“A wonderful combination of technical knowledge balanced with the recognition that story must come from the heart of the individual. Your seminars have helped me enormously.”
“Made something very complex beautifully clear.”
“Hugely entertaining and motivating.”
“It would be hard to improve these seminars. I would recommend them to everyone.”

Film, Distribution & Marketing

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Learn more about how to develop your feature film whether fictional or documentary, then market and distribute it. Pip will share his experience based on producing feature projects for the cinema. He will talk about the whole film production process, from development through to financing and on into production and distribution. Discover some of the possibilities and issues around crowd funding and independent hybrid distribution, as well as new emerging digital models.

Pip Piper

In 2006 Blue Hippo Media ltd (BHM) emerged as the new business platform for Pip after several years running a media charity working with young people. BHM has developed an excellent reputation both nationally and internationally for its diverse media work. Filming work has taken the company to Europe, the Middle East, USA, New Zealand and South Korea.

In 2008 BHM won its first major film award for its international documentary Andy Parkin : A life in Adaptation about world-class alpinist and artist Andy Parkin. The film was shot over two years in France, Switzerland and the UK. The film won the special jury prize at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, one of the world's foremost festivals for this genre. It also went on to win best film at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and has travelled the world as part of the prestigious touring BANFF Mountain Film Festival.

In late 2009 BHM made their first feature film, a UK/NZ co production with Lord of the Rings producer Tim Sanders. The Insatiable Moon was released theatrically in NZ and the UK and has gone onto win Best Film at the Moondance Festival USA and Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the NZ film and TV Awards.

Last Shop Standing, a feature documentary about UK indie record shops shot in 2011/12, was screened in over 100 cinemas in the UK and internationally and won critical acclaim and was Record Store Day film of 2013 globally. It is regularly aired on Sky Arts.

Pip’s film Bicycle is a feature documentary about the history and impact of the bicycle in Britain. The film received its World Premiere at the 2014 Tour de France and has screened across the UK often to sell out screenings in over 100 cinemas. It is being sold globally by its European and USA sales agents. Pip produced the film and it was directed by double BAFTA winning director Michael B Clifford. More info here: www.bicyclethefilm.com

Watch Pip's most recent film, Mountain Biking:The untold British story here.

Pip teaches very part time on an MA in film distribution and marketing which he helped set up and is the CEO of the Producers Forum.

Once upon a Time in a Screenplay: Narrative Structure (with ‘Live Pitching’)

Tuesday 18 April 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

For the very first time, fledgling scene scrawlers and accomplished act scribblers get the screenwriting talk they always wanted: From Syd Field to Blake Snyder, Vogler to Mc Kee, Seger to Huage and Parker to Aristotle – here’s a two hour master class from screenwriter and poet and composer, Martin Kiszko, that will navigate you through the landscape of screenwriting structure. Stopping off at eleven of the world’s greatest screenwriting gurus, the talk will examine their models for and approach to what makes the perfect movie narrative. This is a golden opportunity to understand the work of some of the world’s greatest story consultants and transplant their techniques to your fingertips. Whether you want to base your work on the template of one, some or all of these screenwriting wizards, this talk will also unpick key screenplay narrative elements in the context of a popular movie and demonstrate how the very best narrative decisions are made.

Who is this for?
Anyone looking to write their first screenplay, improve a draft, polish a completed script. Martin has had screenplays optioned and his screenplay The Bell was nominated as Best Brit Screenplay by the UK Film Council in 2005. He wrote and directed the short ITV drama Steps starring Oscar nominee Ron Moody. Apart from his extensive industry experience, Martin has also been a judge for The Pitch short film competition.

Martin Kiszko
Martin has composed and orchestrated over 200 scores for film and TV. Amongst these were the landmark natural history series Land of the Eagle and Realms of the Russian Bear, in which he pioneered the recording of music samples on film locations. The diversity of Martin’s material also embraces BBC, ITV and C4 dramas including: Black Hearts in Battersea, The Levels, and The Uninvited. His TV signature tunes include: BBC’s Newsround, Food and Drink, Omnibus, Wildlife on Two and The Natural World.

The Transition from Short Films to First Time Features: An Introduction to Development, Production and Financing for UK Independent Films

Tuesday 30 May 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

This lecture will be given by Lee & Thompson. Lee & Thompson are creative lawyers for creative people. For over thirty years, Lee & Thompson have represented the interests of talented individuals and innovative businesses. They are inventive, connected, great to work with and you can be assured that they know the industry.

Harnessing The Screen Idea

Tuesday 27 June 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

So what makes a good screen idea? The answer will vary from a full-length feature film, a short film, to a “B” story on a television series. Many problems faced by most of us as screenwriters in developing and pitching ideas is that we struggle to clarify what a screen idea actually is. In desperation, we try to force an idea into the wrong length or genre. Funke Oyebanjo explains how these pitfalls can be anticipated and worked out by giving you a framework to harness and develop your screen idea by exploring the relationship between plot, theme, story, genre, form and style.

Funke Oyebanjo
Funke Oyebanjo is a script consultant, trainer and scriptwriter. After receiving her Masters in Screenwriting from the London College of printing, She became one of the Founder members of the Talawa theatre writers group and had her first play reading at Soho theatre.

Apart from having various shorts produced, her television script The Window was produced for Channel Four’s Coming up season. She also has three screen feature projects in development with a London film based company. The German based script development company, Script house for development at the Berlin film festival’s talent campus, selected one of her projects The Land.

As a lecturer and script reader she has worked extensively at the University of the Arts, London, Queen Mary University of London and Central Film school, for BBC writers room, BBC World service, The UK Film council and Creative England.

She was selected as a juror for prestigious Skillset Creative and innovative award for Women in Television and film and the I will Tell film festival. Until recently was a Development consultant with the Arena Majicka in Norway. Funke Oyebanjo is also social commentator for BBC Radio London and a PhD candidate at Middlesex University.

Excelling in Film

Tuesday 25 July 2017 from 19:00 to 22:00 (BST)

77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ London

Join award-winning radio presenter and voiceover artist Hannah Scott-Joynt, as she hosts this Film Matters lecture.

Her special guests include The Pitch 2015 Winner, Vanessa Perdriau and The Pitch 2015 Finalist Chris Stone.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

Vanessa Perdriau
Vanessa has set up her own production company and has over five years of directing experience across a variety of formats and genres, including: fiction, documentary, short films, music videos and corporate films. Also, an accomplished editor, she freelances for CNN, crafting industry leading content within the features department. Her short “The File Room” played at Oscar and BAFTA Qualifying festival and The LA Shorts Fest.

Chris Stone
Chris Stone is a senior producer/director working for the Telegraph. He's previously created documentary work for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, MTV, Sky and Al Jazeera.