As a first-time author with a 30-year career in the film industry, I recently commented to my new literary friends that I am very struck at how quickly everything moves in the world of publishing. The laughter which met this remark suggests you all think differently, so allow me to explain:
In July 2013 I turned 50 years old. Three months later, after a conversation with an old friend, I decided to write a blog for my children, about the 50 things I wanted them to know; a trail of breadcrumbs to guide them when I am no longer here.
The blog was moderately successful and honestly, I didn’t hurry; it was a very organic process which took over a year to complete. Then it became apparent that it might become a book, and that process has been incredibly quick. From beginning the discussion to now is less than six months, and the street date for the book is March 2017. Flash to bang in 18 months.
In the film industry that looks like warp-speed. Again, let me explain:
I earn my living as a consultant for film producers, mostly though not exclusively in family entertainment. I worked at Dreamworks from 1998-2007. I graduated in "Shrek". Alongside consulting, I am developing several creative projects of my own, across film, TV and theatre.
Typically, when consulting on a studio film, I’m on board for two years. In part that's because of lengthy post-production times demanded by CGI technology, and partly due to securing a release date when cinemas are not packed with similarly-targetted movies and we can be confident that the global marketing budget has a chance of being recouped.
When it comes to my own projects, things really slow down: I'm developing an epic period-adventure movie, which, for the past year has been fully financed with a budget between $50-75 million. It took five years to get the financing!
I fully appreciate that I have been very fortunate. I’ve been guided into your world by Dotti Irving and Clare Conville, two of the most gifted people I’ve ever met (which, by the way, is not as important as telling you how incredibly kind they are), and they have settled me at Trapeze, in the care of Anna Valentine. I recognise that this is not the experience of all new authors. I know I am blessed.
But it’s still been remarkably fast and all you nice publishing people should raise a glass (because I’ve observed you’re not often without one at hand!) and congratulate yourselves on a good game played quick!
Peter Dunne is the author of The Fifty Things, coming in March 2017 from Trapeze.