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Film Sales Company Case Study Image

Laurie Barrett

Acquisitions and Marketing Executive | September 2016

Laurie transferred his career from advertising into a film sales company, he has been working in the film industry for three years.

What inspired you to enter the film industry?

I always wanted to combine my marketing degree/background with a creative sector such as film. From there, film distribution and sales seemed like a natural progression to do so.

Did you take on any work experience or internships, if so how do you think it benefited you when applying for paid work?

Yes. Through the MFJF website, I was fortunate enough to gain a 4 month training placement with a leading London based film sales agent.

How long did it take you to get your first permanent paying job, and what was the path you took to get you there?

2 years. However, I wouldn’t let that discourage anyone who wants to enter the film industry. 

Like anything worthwhile, getting a ‘foot in the door’ of the film industry is very hard, but if it weren’t hard, then everyone would be doing it. Once in, the rewards far out weigh the tough times you face at the beginning. I should also note; from my experience, most people, if not all, have taken the same path and started from the bottom and worked their way up. There is no other way!

Whilst working at entry level position what were your responsibilities?

The work can vary from a range of things; these include, but are not limited to the following;

  • Organising film market and festival diaries and meetings.

  • Answering the phone, photocopying, filing, updating distributor contact lists.

  • Sending out film script packages and company line-up.

  • Reviewing all marketing materials/ and distributor marketing budgets.

  • Script analysis, providing suggestions on casting.

  • Social media marketing

Can you tell us a bit about your current position and what your job entails?

My current role is dynamic, challenging and highly rewarding.

On any given day, I could be doing various different things such as:

  • Reading scripts or watching films to see if they are suitable for acquiring

  • Managing marketing campaigns for upcoming film releases

  • Negotiating with exhibitors regarding our films

  • All social media marketing

  • Organising market and festival diaries

Are there any processes or elements of the job that have come as a surprise and you would want to pass onto others?

Whilst I have always had a significant amount of respect for the craft of film-making, I now know just how much hard work and how many people are involved in the process from script development, casting and financing through to production, distribution and marketing.

The links that bring a film to global audiences really is incredible. None of it would be possible if just one of the links was missing – EVERYONE has an important role to play.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

For me the biggest highlight was actually gaining entrance into the industry. At times, from the outside the sector feels almost impossible to enter.  However, through determination, sheer grit and perseverance, I was finally able to enter the film industry and I haven’t looked back since.

Having gained experience in the film industry what advice would you give to those who are just starting out?

No matter how hard it might be at times, you have to just keep plugging away. Don’t be afraid to get out there and network, email people, always keep an eye on MFJF, read all the film trade publications and continue to grow and develop your skills.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. As mentioned earlier, everyone started somewhere!

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