Producing a First Feature: Exploring the lived experiences of emerging UK film producers

  • Edward Casey

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis explores the lived experiences of emerging UK film producers and specifically focuses on what producing a first feature film has meant to them. The role of the producer is crucially important in the filmmaking process and requires a broad skillset. As such, it is considered vital that we seek to further understand this formative stage in their career development. There has been no empirically grounded research on emerging UK film producers or the process of producing a first feature, so this research is, in part, intended to remedy that neglect.

    The thesis takes a qualitative, inductive and micro-level approach and has adopted Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) as a methodology. A purposive, homogenous sample was employed to identify suitable participants. Seven emerging UK film producers who had recently made their first feature films were recruited and data was gathered using semi-structured interviews. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, before being individually analysed and then cross referenced to produce three superordinate themes that describe their lived experiences.

    Participants articulated a sense of ambition and struggle for status within the UK film industry. They took steps to overcome their own inexperience and were driven to succeed. They considered their hopes and fears for the futures and reflected on the issues they felt were preventing them from progress.
    Participants also focused on the creative aspects of film production and described how they used their taste when choosing material; how they have intervened and set boundaries in the creative process and the sense of validation they received from the audience response to their films. Finally, participants were focused on the value of their relationships: reflecting on networks as a source of opportunity, the need for a ‘good’ team and on exploitation of cast and crew in low budget productions.

    The study has contributed to new knowledge as it is the first empirically grounded research that focuses on emerging producers. Furthermore, it utilises a previously unused methodology within research on media production.
    Date of AwardApr 2018
    Original languageEnglish

    Cite this