News Reel & Blog

Written by Jack Hopkins on 30th November 2017

How is it nearly December? It seems like it was yesterday when we were enjoying yet another rainy summer. Alas, it’s nearly Christmas time, (whether we like it or not) which means it’s nearly time for this year’s Women in Film and TV Awards - tomorrow to be exact.  

The WFTV was originally set up in 1989 by a small group of female creatives who wanted to level the playing field and create a platform for other female creatives to thrive from. The organisation exists as a network of members who attend and organise events to progress the status of women. The yearly awards ceremony is a celebration of the most talented women in UK film, TV and digital media. Past award winners include Dame Julie Walters, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith amongst loads more amazing female creatives.

The work that The WFTV do is as important as ever, with The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film releasing some quite damming statistics. They have discovered that ‘in the top 250 films of 2016, 92% had no women directors and 77% had no women writers.’ In contrast, they also discovered that ‘females accounted for 42% of major characters on broadcast network, cable and streaming programs, showing an increase of 4 percent since in 2015-16.’

This year’s breakthrough film, Lady Bird, goes against the above trend. It currently has a ‘100% rating with 173 reviews compared to Toy Story 2‘s previous 100% record with 163 reviews.’ This places it at the top of the pile as Rotten Tomatoes’ most critically acclaimed film. The film is so significant in 2017 because it has female director in the form of Greta Gerwig and its central character is played by Saoirse Ronan. It will almost definitely be one of the pivotal films at next year’s Sundance Film Festival, having always displayed a balanced catalogue of films directed by and starring women.

GLOW is another great example of the tide of change that is sweeping the creative industries. It's a Netflix original which follows the life of a struggling actress who tries her hand at amateur wrestling. The lead character is played by Alison Brie and it is produced by an all-female team. It’s yet another really positive case study of the equality that The WFTV continue to strive for. 

We’re really looking forward to seeing who picks up an award tomorrow evening!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 22nd November 2017

Money talks, and with today’s budget announcement, ongoing Brexit negotiations and imminent arrival of Black Friday, we’re going to focus on arts funding this week.

As we all know, London is the undisputed frontrunner for jobs in the arts sector, supplying ‘45% of arts jobs in Britain.’ Arts funding in Britain isn’t always at the top of the political agenda but there’s evidence to suggest that it should be. The diverse nature of the cultural industries conjures up a huge array of consumable content. Of course, the shear amount of cultural happenings in London does drive prices up but there’s still demand and consequent money to be made.

The importance of the arts has been recently recognised by the Theatres Trust. The organisation funds the restoration of London’s smaller theatres in an attempt to maintain and grow accessibility. Applecart Arts, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Chats Palace, and the Park Theatre each received a grant of £5,000 for structural improvements. So, there seems to be noticeable economic successes at a grass-roots level but what about on a national scale?

A large chunk of funding for the arts comes from the National Lottery. Research has shown that ‘lottery funds account for nearly 40% of income at Creative Scotland.’ Scottish Ministers have recognised the significance of dwindling National Lottery ticket sales and have threatened to call the UK Government “irresponsible” if they don’t intervene. It still remains to be seen whether Phillip Hammond has addressed it in his recent budget.

The dramatic rise to power of content services like Netflix and Amazon have undoubtedly had an effect on home-grown British talent. According to a study from the BBC there will be a funding cut of ‘£500m over the next 10 years,’ showing a potential lack on impetus from the government. The study also shockingly reveals that ‘10 years ago, 83% of independent production companies in the UK were British or European-owned but today it’s less than 40%.’

Things aren’t all doom and gloom though as the arts have survived and continue to thrive. A study last year by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that ‘every £1 spent by the Arts Council brings £5 in tax returns to the Treasury.’ Not recognising the arts as a viable sector worthy of economic input would prove to be a huge mistake, not only for the economy but for the buzzing cultural scene that makes Britain such an artistic pioneer.  

How important is arts funding to your political stance? Should it be more widely discussed?

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 16th November 2017

Music can make or break your mood, from brightening up a commute to putting a dampener on  an office party. In this blog entry we’re going to look at music across the media landscape, how it is used and the effect it has on the piece it’s accompanying.

To start with I thought we’d look at the influence of Rap music on film and television. Rap being one of most popular contemporary genres, it has had a huge influence on TV shows and films. Netflix’s The Get Down (whose lead composer, Elliot Wheeler, just won ‘Best Music for a Television Series’ at the Screen Music Awards) and FX’s Snowfall both use music as a major narrative technique, exposing a backdrop and a connection that goes deeper than what’s visually on display.

How often do we hear someone say “this song’s off that film!”? Sometimes it’s the longest lasting memory we have, making music choice a huge factor. A hugely popular film, The Untouchables, has been heavily criticised by some for it’s outdated music which has been deemed too cheesy, even for the late 80s. But films nowadays have distinctive unique soundtracks which work collaboratively with the film, like Daft Punk’s bespoke album for Tron Legacy  which sold over 600,000 copies.    

Films based on music are nearly always a success too. Two that stick in my mind are Taylor Hackford’s Ray and  Anton Corbijn’s Control, both depicting the dramatic lives of impactful musicians. Control and its soundtrack, which is pretty much a compilation of hits from Joy Division, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground, perfectly portrays what a musical biopic should be; the musician, the music and the effect they both had on society. The majority of critics also felt the same, rewarding it with high praise across the board.

Unfortunately, there’s been a recent demise of live music shows on British television. Jools Holland is still going strong but it’s been a long time since anything like Top of The Pops graced our screens. The BBC have recently launched Sounds Like Friday Night which received 2.2 million viewers on its first episode, proving to be a fairly successful attempt at rekindling that Friday night live music slot.

The London Palladium recently hosted an unprecedented night of orchestral music from Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, all of which have annoyingly catchy theme songs. The versatility and importance of music in films and television shows how it can help promote a brand across various platforms, utilising transmedia storytelling to enhance its popularity and exposure.

What’s a song that sticks in your mind from a film/tv show? Can you imagine it without it?

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 9th November 2017

It’s been emotional leaving little old Camden. We’ve been in Pratt Mews for over a decade but we’ve now packed our bags and left for the big city.

We’ve hauled over 40 boxes of kit from North London to Central London, pushing the limit of a surprisingly spacious Mercedes Sprinter van in the process.

Our brilliant new offices offer incredible work environments, ensuring that our high levels of creativity and workmanship remain a top priority. 

The collaborative working environment at WeWork allows us to network like never before, creating and sourcing amazing opportunities for candidates and clients alike. 

We’re so excited to continue finding perfect roles for perfect candidates in the media and entertainment industries and we hope you are too!

Searchlight can now be found at WeWork Aldwych House, 71-91 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4HN.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 2nd November 2017

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Tonight’s the night you attempt to keep your pets indoors and pretend to be amazed by yet another bonfire.  In this entry we’re going to have a look at the traditions of bonfire night and how they continue to be a mainstay in the media. 

Bonfire night is more than just a time to inhale toffee apples and awkwardly wait for misfiring pyrotechnics, the tradition goes back years and is sourced from Guy Fawke’s gunpowder plot to destroy parliament. Many films have played with the idea of a rogue individual retaliating against the system. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves comes to mind with Kevin Costner portraying the rebel trying to topple the regime, the same can be said about Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

There are many films that focus on fire as a narrative piece, none more so than The Wicker Man. The film itself can’t be called a cinematic masterpiece but its cult following is remarkable. The fiery ending weirdly resembles a modern day gathering at a bonfire, just without all the singing and dancing. Although the film isn’t directly linked to the 5th of November it seems to give an alternative insight into the quirky nature of the night, and the obscure traditions that are associated with it.

One tradition in particular that stands out is fireworks. They can either be a spectacle or a hindrance but they remain to be part and parcel of the night. They can be quite frequently seen in films and television shows but two on-screen moments seem to stick in the mind. The beginning of Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring and Gandalf’s firework display in Hobbiton was a great way of kicking off the film. Equally, Eddie Murphy’s character in Mulan, shooting a firework at Shanyu in the film’s finale is just as memorable, creating a colourful pyrotechnic masterpiece in the process.

Whatever you get up to we hope you have a safe but explosive bonfire night!

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