Members' success stories

We would like to share two most recent personal accounts of how the Producers' Forum has helped two of its members. 

How 'Meet a Member' led to members meeting... and an A-list cast!

Casting Director and Forum member, Alison Solomon has achieved something really quite special with the casting of film and TV A-listers, Alison Steadman and James Cosmo in local short film OFF GRID, which shoots in May. Here's Alison's story in her own words:

"After a Meet a Member newsletter interview about my work as a casting director appeared in the Forum's newsletter last year, I was pleased to get an email from Carl Timms about his film, OFF GRID. We decided to meet up in Digbeth so Carl could tell me more about OFF GRID and his casting requirements.  
To my surprise he said it was a horror film, which is not a genre I would normally take on. When Carl sent me the script I did a complete 180 as it was brilliantly written by Mark Brendan and, with Carl’s vision and enthusiasm, I was happy to sign my contract. The aim was high, with Carl targeting veteran movie and TV star, James Cosmo. However, there was hope as I had worked with him during my time at the Birmingham REP. 
Carl was very easy to work with because he is very organised and did his job and left me to get on with my job as Casting Director. The casting process is not always a quick process so I know Carl and Mark developed nerves of steel while waiting for casting updates. 
My success is no secret. I told Carl that I’ll be doing a lot of praying so that we get an outstanding cast and God in heaven was happy to provide the supernatural miracles. That’s the way I’ve always cast and it works for me! For an independent film to be blessed with professional actors and national treasures of the stature of Alison Steadman OBE and James Cosmo MBE, with the much sought after Marc Baylis and the dynamic Kate Davies-Speak is an absolute boon.  I am ecstatic for Carl, Mark, the OFF GRID team, The Producers’ Forum, Birmingham and the West Midlands because an outstanding cast will be linked with great independent film and also with the region."

New Producers' Forum member Abbie Allen also wanted to share some great personal news that has helped her progress in her film adventures:

Autistic State of Mind: Abbie Allen's Journey to Discovery

"I'm a recent member to Producers' Forum, which was suggested to me by Pip Piper, when I completed the Foot in The Door Film Skills course run by Producers' Forum and Creative Alliance.  The first networking event I attended was the Forum Bytes event in March, where I met some awesome people, and then came an email from Carole Manship about a quiz run by the Royal Television Society Midlands division, hosted by Noddy Holder. As a bit of a fan of TV shows, I put myself forward. It was here that I met team mates Mark Pressdee, Louis Brough and Oli Clark. After the quiz I was introduced to established scriptwriter William Gallagher, and I connected with him afterwards to give me some advice as an aspiring scriptwriter.

During the quiz, I got chatting with Louis about a challenge he was preparing for ‒ the London 48 hour Sci-Fi Short Film Challenge. The mission was to create a short film in 48 hours with a given title, an action, an object and a line we had to put into the piece. So I suggested my services as a scriptwriter, as I'd graduated from a BA Scriptwriting degree last July from University of South Wales in Cardiff. On 7th April I wrote three drafts for Louis to work from whilst he filmed and worked on the action sequence that had been choreographed. We got to see the final product and I was absolutely delighted! It looked awesome and I was buzzing from having a second script of mine made into a short film. Louis and I worked really well and we decided we were happy to swap skills again, so if I had a script Louis would help me make it and if Louis had an idea I would help him write it. It was then near the end of April I found a message that Louis had recommended me to friends of his to help format a script. I leapt at the chance and so I was able to come on board their project whilst they are on a Media Production course to format a script and write a second one from a treatment I was sent. 

It all worked out because I had been brave enough to put my name forward for the quiz. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have met Louis and got such a great opportunity to work with others in the industry. I'm now helping Producers' Forum and Creative Alliance with a six month pilot scheme to help people get paid placements in the industry and gain more skills. 

So what I'm trying to communicate, I guess, is that if you don't go for it and go and meet new people and make connections, you might just miss out on the best times of your life that help you grow and understand what your voice is in your area of expertise. Never be afraid to look like a wally, as I seem to do every day. I've achieved so much and yet here I am with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Who knew in this industry it could be a strength instead of a weakness? Hopefully I will continue to grow and show the supportive lot at Producers' Forum anything is possible if you just believe."

Find out more about Abbie

We encourage all our members to continue sending us their success stories!

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