Shirani Le Mercier - Production & Development Consultant

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WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO HER…? Because she worked for Sony Pictures for 9 years and is now an independent project and talent scout with her own production company.

WHO SHE'S WORKED WITH...
Sony Pictures, El Toro Pictures, Gaumont, Paramita Entertainment.





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Shirani Le Mercier started her career at Sony Pictures where she worked for 9 years. From 1997 to 2003, she worked in Sony Pictures’ French office where she launched the local co-production branch.

From 2003 to 2006, she joined in-house producer John Calley, setting up his London office and working on his slate of films which include CLOSER by Mike Nichols (in co-production with Avenue Pictures), THE DA VINCI CODE by Ron Howard (in co-production with Imagine Entertainment) and THE COMPANY, a TV mini-series on the history of the CIA (in co-production with Scott Free, for US channel TNT)

She has been working independently project and talent scouting as well as consulting in production and development since 2007. Her clients include Spanish production company El Toro Pictures (producers of LOPE by Andrea Waddington sold by Wild Bunch, and BRUC by Daniel Benmayor distributed by Optimum Releasing and sold by Studio Canal, both set to release this fall); French Studio Gaumont (TWELVE by Joel Schumacher, THE ROUND-UP by Roselyne Bosch, SPLICE by Vicenzo Natali); as well as French production company Paramita Entertainment and French TV production outfit Memo Prod.

She set up her own company Spring Time Films in 2009. Alongside her consulting work, she is currently developing a TV mini-series (thriller) as a producer as well as co-producing an animation series for children (both at development stage).


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Q: What was your favourite film as a kid?
A: All of the all American musicals. But if I had to choose it would be SINGING IN THE RAIN - it really typifies the magic of movies. There’s the singing, the dancing; there’s stuff you could not do anywhere else but in a movie.

Q: Who inspired you when you were starting out?

A: When I was living in France I worked with a French producer who was working with four up and coming directors which had a big effect on me. His films are very individual – but its the passion about everything he does that makes me still go to see his movie’s. I’m not saying I agree with everything he did but its the passion that transpires.

Q: What was your big break?

A: Getting hired by American producer John Kelly. Working in movies is an industry where you need a mentor. There’s no formula and you need someone who is older than you with the experience on hand.

Q: What was the best day in your career?

A: We were on the set of a film and had just got the bad news the next movie we were making was being pushed back by 6 months. The producer was miffed and I realized that meant we were going to shoot it in the summer - this meant that the places we were planning on shooting would be much more beautiful then, and it lent itself to the story as it was about good and bad, and morality so the contrast would come out so much better.  And he looked at me and said you’re going to be good at this. And it’s the fact that someone believed in me, and from that day on I said I’m not going to be the ginormous Hollywood producer.

Q: What has been your most important lesson?

A: Never try and second guess what the audience wants to see, make the best guess about what you want to see. If you have a movie you’re proud of but it bombs you can deal with that, but if you make something that you despise to please an audience and it still bombs, then its harder to take.

Q: If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?

A: Work work work- start anywhere work for free take any job as long as its in Film & TV- take it and work because its about people meeting people and proving yourself.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?

A: I’m not sure I do overcome it- keep on top of the trends. What’s the latest great movie who are the up and coming directors/writers/ talent. In general keep reading the books and the trades. It’s a little bit about a world without an end and I find that really hard, but I try not to beat myself up about it as I always read material to the end because you never know what you might find.

Q: What do you feel is a writers’ or filmmakers' key responsibility?

A: Integrity- be true to yourself.

Q: What mistakes do you see writers or film makers making over and over?

A: To not research the material enough - you cannot talk about something that you haven’t researched. I feel it in the reading if there’s depth to that or not, it just doesn’t ring true - it’s about integrity again.

Q: What advice would you offer a writer?

A: There’s this general kind of feeling that on the one hand there are people who are creative and they feel that the people who market and sell it are in a whole different world of suits and they have nothing to bring. Writers who have long careers in Hollywood know how to talk to the execs.

Writing on your own is hard as its really difficult to keep distance from your material, so any one involved with your work you should take it in. Don’t feel you have to do everything they say, but you should give it a chance. Most of the time you’ll see it actually makes your work richer.