NZ has some good ambassadors who work in front of the camera in America, with Step Dave’s Jono Kenyon the latest name to score a high-profile role in a US TV show. For Screentime, the relationships built over the years with other producers, both in and beyond the Banijay Group, are useful sources of expertise and knowledge.
“We need to learn how to package our stories for the international market,” de Lacey says. “We’re working on domestic projects at Screentime, and hoping they’ll be attractive in the international market. But we’re also designing some shows with very specific international channels and commissioners in mind.
Screentime has shot Bombshell, about the sinking of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in Dutch, French and English. Its subject matter gives it clear international potential. It’s yet to be delivered, but de Lacey says Screentime is “really delighted with how it’s turning out”.
De Lacey does quite a bit of travelling, sometimes for specific projects which can be anywhere, but also to both MIP events during the year. Banijay is headquartered in France, so the group usually comes together for meetings timed to coincide with MipTV in April and MIPCOM in October.
Here, Screentime’s recently finished shooting its Pike River docudrama, featuring Roy Billing as Peter Whittall, and has continuing work on productions including Police Ten 7 andMarae DIY.
It has its toes in the water with digital projects, and a couple of local drama projects currently being financed. It also has You’re Back in the Room, a 3 x 90′ game show for TVNZ, from a format developed by UK production company Tuesday’s Child. For older readers, it’s like the Generation Game with a twist, and a hypnotist.
In the continuing absence of a TV awards event in New Zealand, honours like those awarded by industry guilds and organisations have become the only opportunities to celebrate the work of the local production community. Scoring twice in quick succession won’t hurt de Lacey or Screentime’s plans going forward but, as she notes, “It’s lovely for me that I’m the one who won, but we all know that making TV shows isn’t a one-person operation.”
Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.