Masterclass: Horrid Henry: Confessions of a first timer

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2011 2:19pm

Christina Boonstra gets a masterclass in being horrid…..
Introduced By:
Anna Home, Chair, The Children’s Media Conference
Lucinda Whiteley, Producer / Writer, Novel Entertainment
Produced by:
Bryony Darboe, Online Producer, Novel Entertainment

Lucinda Whitely has been instrumental in creating the success of the Horrid Henry brand, from the first pitch to Orion books in 2001, to the premier of the live action 3D film, opening this summer. In this session she discussed the benefits of live action 3D filming, as well as sharing some of the things she learnt along the way. She credits the success of the Horrid Henry brand to the way in which it’s been possible to create a whole world in which Henry exists, and children can connect to it on a number of different platforms. The decision behind a 3D, live action film, was partially budgetary, 3D animation feature films usually operate on a much bigger budget. But also, the unique opportunity to present children with a British 3D film was an opportunity that could not be missed. And then she began to get really honest.  Sharing the things she’s learnt along the way to a feature length film, here are the confessions of a first timer:

  1. Know what you want to achieve, but also but you might want to achieve, be open to new ideas.
  2. Film people are very different to TV people. Get to know your partners from production, distribution and finance. Also, your bond company, they’re the ones insuring you, and making sure the project gets finished.
  3. Know your materiel and your brand inside out. But, don’t sweat the small stuff.
  4. Know your creative team, in film the director is god, but other people have an influence too.
  5. We were working on a tight schedule , with child actors, as well as in 3d, all on a budget. Getting the right director was key!
  6. Know your lawyer. In total there were 90 contracts which needed to be signed, and it took about 12 hours to sign them all.
  7. Know your strengths and your weaknesses.
  8. When someone says they can sort it all out in post production, don’t necessarily believe them.
  9. Know what you want, and what to fight for when it matters.
  10. And lastly, quoting William Goldman in Adventures from the Screen Trade: “When it comes to film no one knows anything.”