If you’ve been following this website (hi Mom!), you’ll know that for the past few years I’ve been writing & producing under the banner of “Awesome“, a company that started simply as the corporate vehicle for my debut novel and then pivoted into a TV production company with the backing of Kew Media Group.
But, if you’ve been following the trades this year you will have heard that Kew Media imploded rather spectacularly in February, leaving Awesome somewhat out in the cold. (If you’re interested in the details of the downfall of Kew, Deadline did a piece on it)
And I suddenly found myself without an income at the onset of a global pandemic.
That’s a scary place to be.
I think it was the great management philosopher Billy Ocean who said, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
I called a few producers and distributors that I was already working with to ask if they could option something from me or hire me to write. Anything to get some cash in the door and put food on the table. Surprisingly, a few producers who were already enjoying a kind of “free option” on my projects said, “sorry Jeff, can’t help you,” as if I were a homeless beggar they were strolling past. Whilst others said, “of course, mate; what can we do together?”
I’ll be forever loyal to those who stepped up to help.
So, I got to work. I squared up to the blank page and hit the keyboard hard. For the past six months, I’ve been busily creating and writing original drama and have folded that work under a new company umbrella called “Dominion of Drama.” (update: which now has a website: www.dominionofdrama.com)
You might be thinking, “hmmm, that’s a mouthful; and doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.” You might be right, and that’s OK. Dominion of Drama isn’t a consumer brand, but rather the vehicle for my new writing and for executive producing services.
“But where did the name come from?” you might be asking (again, hi Mom!).
Well, Dominion was the name of a grocery store we used to shop when I was a child in Oakville, and I always liked the name. For the history buff among you, it’s also part of the original name of Canada (the “Dominion of Canada” came into existence on July 1st, 1867). So, it has a link to Canada’s British roots and since I’m both a Canadian and British citizen I thought it’d be a fun inside joke. Also, now that I’m writing and developing more and more grown up stuff, that I thought it’d be useful to separate the kids stuff (which falls under Awesome) from the primetime scripts I’m writing.
Six months in and I finally got around to updating my LinkedIn profile, which prompted a few calls and phone calls, asking what I’m working on these days, hence this blog post.
I’m pleased to report that I’m working with and writing for some incredible producers, broadcasters, and distributors, including: S4C, CBC, APC Studios, EQ Media Group, Fiction Factory Films, RubyRock Pictures, Frantic Films, Blackbox Multimedia, Incendo, and MGM.
“But what are you actually doing?” my Mom is probably wondering.
Well, I’m doing three things:
- Creating and writing original television drama. I literally create shows from nothing and then I pitch to (and partner with) established producers, production companies and in some instances distributors and broadcasters directly. This year I’ve written two pilots commissioned by broadcasters and one commissioned by a leading production group out of LA and Australia.
- Adapting IP that other people own. For example, a producer might have rights in a book or an article and they hire me to turn it into a TV show (usually by writing a “bible” and pilot script). I recently created a new show based on a pitch that a production company owned but needed someone to create characters and bring it to life.
- Providing creative executive producing services to IP owners (usually production companies). This could be where they own a project but need someone to help them figure out how to unlock it, perhaps by working with an attached writer or finding a new one. For example, I’m currently helping an author adapt her own work to the screen. She’s a seasoned novelist but a first time screenwriter, so my role is to help her get the very best of herself down on the page (I’m like a coach and cheerleader all wrapped into one). I’m also packaging another book with a producer, screenwriter and eventually talent.
Oh, and I’m writing a new novel (details to come later).
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to keep in touch. I’d love to hear from you. Business and deal stuff now all go through my agent at Gersh (Roy Ashton) and business affairs via Industry Media (Huw Walters / Rosemary Klein).