| netribution > features > interview with janey de nordwall > page two |
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What were you like as a kid?
I was dyslexic at school and I was told that I was thick, lazy and stupid and that I wouldn't amount to anything.
(laughs) I never really thought that I'd really do anything.
How does dyslexia affect a producer?
It slows me down when reading contracts.
You and me both.
(laughs) I don't read a lot anyway but when I read a script and it really excites me, I know I'm going to carry on reading, if it's too slow for me then I'll put it down.
You have a natural trash screening ability then.
Yeah! I usually read to the end of the script but only out of politeness. I think very visually and I have a creative side, I can't create out of nothing but I can appreciate the good in something, I have the ability to take what's good forward. So when I read a script I have to be able to visualise everything but make sure that I'm coming from the same direction as the director - I like that triangle of creativity.
Tell me about your move back into events.
Well the thing about moving into the film industry is that you don't really earn any money.
Really? Because I've been wondering about that recently
(laughter) I realised that I needed to earn a bit of cash to keep the company going and the events side of the Silver Films of old was very successful. I don't think I want to get involved in doing commercials again but it was very lucrative and something that probably wouldn't distract me.
What's it called?
Three Angels. It's two days old and incorporated a couple of months ago. I called it that because I have three angels that are involved in Silver Films. Silver Films actually owns Three Angels but it's a separate company because I didn't want people confused as to what Silver Films does.
Who's running 3 Angels?
Roisin Saxe, she's more from a music and TV presenting background so we are going to target the music and fashion industries, youth products. We are happy to do anything really and we're not going to rule anything out but it will keep the cash flow ticking over for Silver Films. Investors love the entrepreneur and as soon as you can earn money on the side, as soon as you don't actually need them, it helps them realise that you have longevity.
Did you have to inform them on this new direction?
They didn't know about Three Angels, that was my decision but I let them know what I'm doing, I seek advice from them and they give fantastic advice because they are remarkably successful businessmen. Ultimately, they let me have a say in what goes on because they believe in me, they've bought into my vision and where I want to go. When they came on board I had a history, I'd turned over a million pounds in four years, they knew that I could do business and they didn't have to understand about the film industry or even what I'd done before. Business is business, the structure is there and it works. They believe that my decisions are good decisions so they act as Devil's advocates and as advisors, they help me on the business side by writing five-year business plans and strategies, things that I've never done before. I've always thought in one-year chunks, not five.
They are a great asset and few people really understand business angels. Nine months ago I did my first presentation to 70 business angels in the same room, last month they asked me to come back for a talk to explain what I'd achieved, what business angels meant to me and what route I'd taken. More investors came up to me at the end saying, 'it's a shame we weren't involved in your first presentation, let us know what you are doing in the future for any further investment you might need.'
Was this a First Tuesday event?
Well it was on the first Tuesday of every month but it was up in Manchester. There's a business angel network, one in the North west, LENTA in London and different ones in different regions. I was in Manchester before so I might now go to LENTA and try to get secure more investment to put into the companies. My angels help me on the financial structure side and on how to talk to investors, I can sell my passion and ideas as a producer but as time goes on I'll understand how to sell a business concept myself.
I'm more than happy to say, 'I don't understand or', 'I've never done that before.' I'm prepared to learn my way and the good thing about being dyslexic is that I'm not going to rush anything, they are happy that they've invested in the film industry and that it's a five year deal. It's all done through EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) so they got tax relief and relief on their capital gains at the end of the period so it's quite a good partnership that we've created. I made it up as I went along as well! (laughs) I didn't realise that it would actually work. Other producers had told me that it wouldn't ever work because you'll never get investment into short films but they aren't, they are investing in my company. They said that they'd be very surprised if I could sell that.
How did you sell it then?
I smiled a lot! (laughs) I believed in what I was doing and at that time I was just selling an idea. To be in a position to even present to these angels I had to have a two and a half hour interview anyway, I had to pay three or four hundred quid to stand up and present and I had to do a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation. I had to know that what I was doing would actually work but if I'd got half way down through it and realised that it wasn't working, I would have said so. Whereas every one else presented cash flows, profit and loss accounts, everything - I had nothing like that so I just sold an idea.
They stated very early on that this was a bit of a punt for them because they'd had people from the film industry wanting to present before, but who'd been refused because they hadn't had the business element to back it up. I'd run a business for four years and filmmaking is a business for me, I'm going to make commercial films and not art house, I want to make entertaining films that people choose to go and see.
Where would you like to see Silver Films in five years?
I want to create an empire! (laughs) I'd like Silver Films to be an established feature film company that was know to develop new talent and that was turning over two films a year. I want to be part of the British film industry, I've no designs on Hollywood and I want to tell good stories.
Janey de Nordwall can be contacted at her London based Silver Films office via email -
For information on events by Three Angels contact Roisin Saxe via email -
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