New Premises to Boost UK Film Production

With Brexit rightly dominating conversations between music industry colleagues, any positive announcements are increasingly welcome.

So it’s great to hear that there is a growing demand for film studio space in the UK. A case in point; one of the largest studio conglomerates, The Pinewood Group, is currently expanding, as major production companies are being forced to take their business elsewhere. The recent planning application from Shepperton Studios, has a wealth of information about the benefits of increased studio space to the UK creative industry.

Although the major West London studios remain first choice for many, productions are being forced to shoot overseas due to the lack of space. Therefore, It makes sense to expand existing studios if possible. The impact that the legacy of these studios brings can’t be underestimated; a proven track record leading to a substantial variety of employment. The major new studio complex for in East London in Dagenham, given the go-ahead earlier this year, is certain to create hundreds of new jobs. 

In light of this, those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit will identify a time of genuine opportunity. I recently went for a costume fitting at a repurposed carpet warehouse in North London. The owners have utilised the space, now named Neasden Studios, to include production offices. 

Great if you’ve got a warehouse to convert (no, me neither), but what does this expanding market mean for the rest of us? 

I was surprised to learn that the UK produced more blockbusters (defined as movies with a budget upwards of $100 m.) than anywhere else in the world, during the period 2015-2017. That’s eighteen more than the next leading studio figures, throughout Los Angeles (they have more studio space, but it’s weighted towards TV/online productions).

This, in turn, gives the UK a boost when it comes to employment opportunities for creatives, and more specifically, musicians. With West London playing catch-up in a climate where there is increasing demand for space, I can imagine more session work (we already know that London has the best session orchestras in the world), music supervision roles, and of course, background performance gigs. 

To compound this, global consumer and advertising spend on TV and cinema increased by 3.6% between 2013-2018, with further growth expected to continue at 2.5% until at least 2022. This will further expand the possibilities of employment, not to mention increased scope for brand syncing, which I feel the classical music world is yet to utilise fully (but that’s for another post!).

This could be a really beneficial revenue stream, which I’m especially keen to pursue in this precarious economic environment (and let’s face it, reduced funding has been affecting musicians substantially since 2009 due to the financial crash). Yes, film work focuses on a pretty commercial area of the industry, but realistically, these jobs open up the possibility of space and time for artists to carry out their passion projects. 

Steady expansion of these studios will certainly be a boost once we arrive at a post-Brexit era, whatever the outcome. 

Kathleen Ross