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08 g322 section b case study - my summer of love 2013

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08 g322 section b case study - my summer of love 2013

  1. 1. AS Media Studies Study Notes Unit G322 Section B Audiences and Institutions The Film Industry Part 8From Script to Screen My Summer of Love 125
  2. 2. Pre-ProductionPawel Pawlikowskis acclaimed My Summer of Love won the Alexander Korda Award forthe outstanding British film of the year at the 2005 British Academy Film Awards.Released in October 2004 as a follow-up to Pawlikowskis previous feature, Last Resort, italso won the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the EdinburghInternational Film Festival and went on to premiere internationally at the Toronto FilmFestival where Focus Features picked it up for US distribution. Set in contemporary Yorkshire, it charts the relationship that blooms one hot summer between two very different 16-year-old girls, Mona (Natalie Press) and Tamsin (Emily Blunt). Mona is working class, rebellious, bored with life and with the newfound religious convictions of her ex-con brother Phil (Paddy Considine). Tamsin is well educated, spoiled and cynical. Each girl is wary of each others differences when they first meet, but this coolness soon melts into mutual fascination and attraction. Adding further volatility to the summer heat is Phil, who tries to impose his new found religious fervour upon his sister Mona. Film magazine Screen International called My Summer Of Love a freewheeling evocation of the emotional neediness and spiritual emptiness that briefly bind the girls to each other. In July 2002, Pawlikowski was looking tomake his next project. Hed read and been impressed by Helen Cross novel My Summer OfLove and suggested to his producing partner Tanya Seghatchian (Harry Potter) that theydevelop it as his next film.Seghatchian says: "It was clear that he wanted to make a film the following summer and thathe had a strong instinct for the sort of film that he wanted to make. The film was going to beloosely inspired by the book and would include two characters from the novel, some of theplot and a newly invented character, sourced from Pawels imagination and a documentarythat he had made ten years previously."Optioning and DevelopmentSeghatchian and Pawlikowski were keen to make the film in a way that would enable themto keep creative control. They optioned the novel from literary agent Julia Kreitman at TheAgency through their production company Apocalypso Pictures. They then set about lookingfor the cast. 126
  3. 3. "Thats a very untypical way of developing a film," points out Seghatchian. "Conventionallyyou would approach financiers to option the novel and commission the development of ascreenplay. The producer, screenwriter/director and possibly a script editor would thendevelop the screenplay from the source material. That would go through various drafts. Andthen, when the financiers and the development group decided it was ready to go into pre-production, a casting director would come on board and the film would move onto a differentlevel."From the very beginning, however, Pawlikowski and Seghatchian knew they were going todevelop the project differently. "For Pawel, making the film was contingent on his findingthe right actors to embody the central roles. He was interested in finding actors - preferablyunknowns - who he could then hang the film on. He had worked previously with PaddyConsidine, and wanted him to play the character of a newly converted born again Christianin the film, but he was also adamant that he would like to uncover two originals to play theyoung female leads," explains Seghatchian.CastingA casting director was hired and given a set of character breakdowns for the two girls. Thecasting director then approached agents and began to arrange a series of open calls aroundthe country in drama schools, youth groups and local theatres. "It was a long process and took far longer than normal," says Seghatchian. "But Pawel wanted to get it right. Finding a pair that would work well together was key." In the end, it took about eight months to cast Press and Blunt in the lead roles. The initial casting process was further staggered because limited funding was available early on. "We didnt have very much money - at that point we were paying for the development ourselves,"says Seghatchian. "We paid for the option and for the initial casting director and searchingfees. We were discussing the possibility of a development deal with the BBC, but had tokeep the momentum going if we were to shoot the following year, so we were prepared totake the risk of financing the initial development ourselves whilst still in the early stages ofnegotiation."Scripting and SchedulingWhile the casting process was taking place, Pawlikowski reduced the book to a detailedoutline of the scenes from the novel he liked and started scripting in new ideas, originalelements and other themes that he wanted to incorporate into the story. Pawlikowski andSeghatchian worked on the outlining in collaboration with playwright Michael Wynne. Theygenerated a more detailed treatment, which contained some dialogue and fully-fledgedscenes and Pawels reworking of the story, which by now also incorporated a sense of thelandscape.Once it was clear that there were enough elements in place to proceed to pre-production,producer Chris Collins, who had worked with Pawlikowski as the Associate Producer on 127
  4. 4. Last Resort, came on board and broke down the shooting document in order to budget it andoutline a potential production schedule.Again, this is a very unusual way of developing a film. Film financiers normally insist on afully developed screenplay to give them a complete understanding of the picture they areinvesting in. However, because Pawlikowski had made The Last Resort in a similar way, theBBC, who were now on board as the development financier, felt confident of movingforward with the flexible detailed outline.FinancingArmed with the two girls, Paddy Considine, a detailed shooting document, a budget and aschedule, the team went out to raise the rest of the finance.Says Seghatchian: "We went to all the usual suspects of UK financing sources and came outwith interest from the Film Consortium, which had a deal with the UK Film Council and thetax partnership Baker Street. The Film Consortium also owned the sales agent, The Works,so we were able to get them to generate the sales estimates that would dictate the overallfinancing risk for the parties involved."It took three months to sort out the legal documents to allow the financing to fall into place."Deals take that long," points out Seghatchian. "Because so many parties were involved itrequired everyone to sign off on everything and to work out what their investment andrecoupment schedules were. The legal documentation for these three party deals can becomplicated and we enlisted the support of our solicitor Jeremy Gawade at legal firm Lee &Thompson to help us put the financing together."ProductionWhilst the financing was being sorted out, a crew was also being assembled. Pawlikowskiwas keen to crew up with people he had worked with before and so they brought on many ofhis previous collaborators Ryszard Lenczewski (director of photography), David Charap(editor) and Julian Day (Costume Designer). The production designer who Pawel hadworked with previously wasnt available so John Stevenson - whod worked with Collins onTomorrow La Scala - was hired. Hair and make up artist, Tara McDonald, completed theindividual departments. 128
  5. 5. A first assistant director was also brought on board. Pawlikowski hadnt used one on LastResort and Chris Collins had doubled as a first, but "we decided we did need a first assistantdirector on this film as it was a more complicated shoot," says Seghatchian. "But we kept toa relatively small crew for as long possible and brought people on a daily basis when weneeded more manpower."Location Scouting and Production DesignPawlikowski also did much of the location scouting himself. "His films are informed by avery strong sense of landscape. He didnt have a location manager scouting for locations forhim - he found them himself, early on in the development process, as they were to inform thenature of the film as much as the cast or script," explains Seghatchian. However, a locationmanger was employed once the film was in production to manage the locations, set them upand tidy them up. Pawlikowski and his Art Department then worked on the look of the keylocations. For example, the big country house that Tamsins family lives in was completelyoverhauled: floors were sanded, wallpaper put up and furniture hired in.The Shoot And then production began. Originally the plan was to shoot the film chronologically. But as the film started shooting, Britain was gripped by a mini-heatwave. Wanting to take advantage of the wonderful weather and fearful that it might not hold, a decision was taken to move all the exterior shoots to the first week. Unconventionally, the Producers had also built into the production plans at the outset the opportunity for a split shoot - which would givePawlikowski more freedom to experiment and reflected the looseness of his desireddevelopment and filming processes. Two thirds of the film was shot, then edited together,before the final third was filmed.PR firm McDonald & Rutter were hired to take care of production publicity during the shootand a unit photographer, Suzy Allnut, was brought on board to take Unit stills. "Weddecided we didnt want much production publicity, so we agreed to limit location reports toone feature. Andrew Pulver of The Guardian wrote a piece which came out whilst we werefilming in August 2003," says Seghatchian.During editing, attention turned towards music for the film. An Edith Piaf track La Foulewas already scripted in, but the idea of using Goldfrapp emerged during the editing processwhen Pawel decided to use their track Lovely Head. Whilst clearing that track for usage, theteam approached the band about writing some original music for the film as well.Post-ProductionAs soon as My Summer Of Love was completed, the search began for a UK distributor. TheBBC, which had UK rights to the film, held a special screening and invited UK distributorsto come along. ContentFilm soon acquired the rights. "They wanted to release the film thisyear which was something we wanted to do to," says Seghatchian. "We didnt want it to wait 129
  6. 6. on the shelf for a long time. We felt it was a summer film and that it would be good torelease the film while summer was in still in peoples memory.""We knew we wanted the UK Premiere of thefilm to be at Edinburgh and the EdinburghInternational Film Festival had invited MySummer Of Love to world premiere in itscompetition section." Edinburgh, saysSeghatchian, "was hugely significant for the fateof the film". It won the festivals top prize and,more importantly, garnered a string of very goodreviews. "The film came out at Edinburgh whenthere was a genuine sense that there was somegood British films out there. It meant that therewas a real goodwill feeling amongst the presswho wanted to help to support films they liked."Keen to build on the momentum of the Edinburgh screening, ContentFilm hired McDonald& Rutter to handle press and publicity for the UK release. The financiers, distributors andproducers agreed to try and position the film to appeal to both the traditional art housemarket and more regular, mainstream moviegoers."Even though we werent star-driven, we thought we might be able to sell the film on the twonew discoveries, introducing home grown stars of the future. The press did pick up on that.And found the girls very easy to photograph and place." says Seghatchian. After Edinburgh, the films international sales agent The Works took the film to the Toronto International Film Festival, an annual autumn meeting point for buyers and sellers of films. "A lot of US buyers saw it and loved it and there was a bidding war for it," says Seghatchian. "And we managed to sell it to the company we wanted to sell it to for a good price, Focus Features." US distributor Focus have worked on a string of high profile films - including Lost In Translationand The Motorcycle Diaries. Their acquisition of My Summer Of Love only served to boostthe profile and the positive press surrounding the film post-Edinburgh. Back in the UK, therelease date was drawing near. Posters were designed and a poster and print campaignlaunched for the film. Eventually the film was launched on October 22 on 25 sites, taking avery impressive £80,000 in its first three days. It played particularly strongly in the art-housefriendly West End of London where it grossed £56,408 from 15 locations.Q1. What was the final box office gross for My Summer of Love? Considering itssuccess with critics and at award ceremonies, do you consider it to be a successful film?How does the story of its development illustrate what you’ve learnt about the process offilm making in previous sections of this booklet? 130

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