Fiona Gilroy, Content Sales and Acquisitions Director for Flame Media will visit Perth on 14 April, 2021 and will be hosting one-on-one meetings with emerging and mid-career WA Factual Screen Producers.
Fiona is interested in connecting with WA practitioners who have factual projects in development.
Date: 14 April 2021
Where: Screenwest, Level 2, 30 Fielder Street, East Perth WA 6004
Expression of Interest
Places are strictly limited and meetings are not guaranteed.
Please email Stephanie Cole Development and Production Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org by 8 April 2021 to register your interest.
In your email please ensure you include:
- Your full name and contact details
- A copy of your most recent CV
Please note: meeting times are strictly limited and one-on-one meetings are not guaranteed. Preference will be given to practitioners with documentary and factual credits.
Screenwest, Interim Talent Development Manager
Ph: (08) 6169 210
Screenwest Development and Production Assistant
Ph: (08) 6169 2114
Q&A with Fiona Gilroy
Talent Development Manager Chantal Chateauneuf sat down with Fiona Gilroy of Flame Distribution to ask some questions about this seemingly mysterious side of the industry. Fiona gave her insights regarding market trends and her experience and pathway to working at one of Australia’s eminent distributors of factual screen content.
If you’re an emerging practitioner in the factual space, read on!
Can you tell us a bit about Flame, and your role within the company?
Flame is a specialist distributor of factual and unscripted content. We began in Sydney in 2011 and now have offices around the world selling content to all the VOD platforms, TV and inflight buyers around the world. We work with content created by about 180 independent producers with roughly 50% of them based in Australia and New Zealand and the other 50% from the UK, US and Canada. I head up the global sales and acquisitions teams for Flame and have been with the company from its inception.
Where do distributors fit into the overall life cycle of a factual film or TV series?
Flame is able to work with producers on projects at funding stages to help put finance together by finding commissions and presales or coproduction partners. We also come in when content is funded or completed to generate back end returns for it. So, with the right project we can come in at the very early stages of the production or when the project is funded and you’re just looking to get additional audiences for it. I think the earlier a producer at least considers the distribution life of their content outside of the deals that need to be done to get into production the better off their chances of backend returns.
Can you tell us about market trends you’re seeing in the factual space?
Factual content is as popular as it’s ever been right now, and COVID has seen people spending a lot of time in front of screens. I think very broadly there is an increased interest in aspirational and uplifting content. People don’t want to be reminded of global doom and gloom with so many around the world living the day-to-day experience and having some degree of lockdown. Our core genre of science, natural history, travel, adventure, history, technology, reality, crime and medical related content are still performing well for us.
What advice would you give to a factual producer seeking to engage with a distributor? What’s the best stage to reach out at, and how?
I think most distributors are happy to hear from producers when they have a well thought through and researched 1- or 2 page treatment to share and most would like to see a sizzle that gives an indication of the intended style and tone of the project. I’m happy to receive an email with a treatment and sizzle at any time and can give some thoughts on how we might be able to help.
In your opinion, what makes a screen project an ‘easy sell’?
Unique access to a story with a global resonance really helps, but “easy sells” are really few and far between!
What makes a project appealing for a distributor? Are there key elements emerging practitioners could start to think about during the development of a project, to be attractive to a distributor?
Projects that demonstrated to be well thought through in terms of both the subject and the funding strategy are what we’re most impressed by. Also being clear about who are you making this content for – who is the audience, and what makes it relevant to them now? This all helps get to the commercial crux of a project quickly and identify how the distributor might be able to contribute to getting it to the market.
For those who might want to become a distributor in the future, what are your top three pieces of advice?
- Read all the trade press you can so you can develop a sense of which markets are buying what content and how content is being commercialised, new channels and platforms that are popping up to provide more opportunities and other trends.
- Training in negotiation and sales is always helpful, even though it’s a very niche market.
- Watch lots of content on all the screens you have access to and get to know the business as best you can.
For more information about Flame Distribution visit their website.
About Fiona Gilroy
Fiona has built and managed international content sales businesses for Film Australia and SBS and has worked as a consultant in the industry for over 25 years. Fiona was a board member of the AIDC from 2014 to 2020, serving as Co-Chair for 5 years, and was a member of the AIDC Advisory Committee for the 2021 conference.