This post outlines the types of expertise that you can, and can’t, access through FOCUS in Stage 2 of the project.
As a general guide, all support that you receive in Stage 2 will be advisory or strategic, and must benefit your company. This means that it will usually be applied to your company as a whole rather than being project specific. However, support may be focused on a particular project as long as there is a clear benefit to the company as a whole to be gained from that support.
All Stage 2 support will be contracted and paid for by FOCUS, with the three funding partners (Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, and the company itself) each submitting their share of the costs up front. This means that it’s not possible to use Stage 2 to take on an employee – the individuals you will access will be consultants or freelancers.
We are recruiting consultants across 12 categories, which were identified partly in response to feedback from the screen sector itself of the areas needed.
The 12 categories of support are Business management, Development, Digital and multiplatform, Finance, HR and talent, Legal, Leadership, Literary scouts, Marketing, Production, Sales and distribution, and Script consultancy. Here we will look at each of these in turn.
A Business Management consultant might somebody who has had a business like yours, and perhaps grown or sold it, who can advise you on the running of your business.
You wouldn’t be able to use FOCUS to employ a COO or CEO to manage your company.
This could be somebody who comes in and looks at your slate of projects, and helps you identify which to take forward with which commissioner or distribution route. They might work with you to develop the chosen idea or ideas further to build a pitching package, and help to prepare you for pitching to commissioners or sales agents.
You wouldn’t be able to use FOCUS to create a permanent development role within your team.
Digital and Multiplatform
You could bring in a digital expert to help you identify suitable digital platforms for your projects, or identify how your content could be developed over different digital content types. Your consultant could help you to understand the possibilities and costs of VR, AR, CGI and other digital services. Your consultant could also create a digital strategy for your company, and contribute a digital perspective to your slate of projects in development.
However, you would not be able to use FOCUS to pay for the creation of content, or to pay for the creation of digital assets.
A finance expert could help you to get investor-ready by creating a pitch deck and accurate forecasts for your company, and could work with you to secure investment.
The expert could work across your slate of projects to identify the best sources of financing for your business. The consultant could help to draw up a financing strategy for a particular project which might act as a template for financing future projects.
A financial expert could also look at your overall company finances and cashflow to help you strategise and plan ahead.
HR and Talent
A HR or talent expert could help you to change your organisational structure or find ways to optimise the efficiency of your team. You may also want to bring in an established headhunter to help you to make the crucial right hires. Of course, you couldn’t use FOCUS to hire a permanent HR manager for your team.
You could bring in a lawyer or solicitor to represent you with an issue that is general to your business, or to advise you on an issue which may affect your overall business.
You could also use legal expertise to identify and protect the company’s IP, draft a co-production contract, or create template contracts and agreements that can be used by the company for a number of projects.
A leadership consultant could be brought in to mentor or train you or your senior staff in effective leadership and team motivation. This should focus on enhancing the skills of your existing team.
You can use FOCUS to engage a literary scout who could help identify suitable books for you to adapt for film or television, and may actively approach and negotiate on your behalf.
You can use FOCUS to bring in a marketing consultant who can draft a full marketing and communications strategy for your company or project. The consultant would be able to draft a design brief and advise on the delivery of a campaign or identity.
However, you would not be able to use FOCUS to pay for the delivery of the strategy, for example to pay for a social media manager, the design of a logo or a website build.
FOCUS can not be used to pay for production staff. However, it can be used to access the support of production experts who could advise your company on strategy and process, and ensure that you have everything in place for your production. This can be an overall executive production service within your company.
Sales and Distribution
Your FOCUS consultant could work with you to identify the most effective strategy for the sales and distribution of your slate of projects, and will be equipped to help you explore and access new digital platforms if appropriate. Consultants may also work with you to secure distribution for your titles, and help connect you with the right commissioners and distributors for your work.
This might include script consultants, script editors and story development consultants. The consultant could work with you on a particular title or across your slate of scripts to identify script and story development needs and strengths, and offer constructive notes on your scripts. You might also access a script consultant to advise on adapting a script for a different format, for example, adapting from book to film, or film to TV series.
You could not use FOCUS to contract a script writer to edit or write your script.
Once you are accepted onto FOCUS, your Business Development Manager will plot out an action plan as part of the Business Development Strategy delivered in Stage 1. This will identify which types of expertise you need. We will then work with you to agree the next steps, along with a timeframe and payment schedule.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss further the types of support that you can access through FOCUS, or have any other questions about FOCUS.