Safkhet Publishing ~ Summer Reads

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Taking the Plunge ~ Owen Carey Jones!

Today I have with me multi-talened Film Director and Author of Rough Cut, Owen Carey Jones!  All I have to say by way of introduction is, WOW! Take it away, Owen!

One of my external tutors at film school was David Nobbs of The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin fame. Remember him? In 2000, at the ripe old age of 50 and after two years of having my screenplays generally rubbished by the staff (OK, I admit they weren’t perfect! The screenplays, that is, not the staff!), I was coming to the end of my course and as my last piece, I had decided to write the first episode of a three part TV drama.
At outline stage, I had a meeting with David and he told me that he thought it was good (what! You cannot be serious, I thought!). Not only that, he went on to say that he thought it had the potential to be made into a powerful and moving drama! Wowee!!
A few months later, the screenplay was finished and I sent it to my other external tutor, a chap called Rod Graham who had previously been Head of Drama at BBC Scotland for 10 years. Needless to say, despite David’s kind comments, I was expecting Rod to go through a long list of what was wrong with the screenplay I had written. I went into the room and sat down. I saw my script on the table next to him and grimaced inside. After the pleasantries were over, he said, and I quote: “I’ve got nothing to say about this script.” Oh dear, thought I, that bad, is it? He continued, “If I were still with the BBC, this would now be in the Production Department awaiting a budget.” I nearly fell off my chair with excitement! He actually liked it! “You’ve made my day,” I said, “In fact you’ve made my year!” He looked me in the eye and said “No! The cheque will do that!”

Well, you can imagine that I was walking on air as I came out of that meeting. A little while later, I completed my course and graduated with an MA in Screenwriting (Fiction). I immediately went on the attack and sent my drama series idea and script to every TV drama production company I could find, including the BBC and ITV. And I got a snowstorm of rejections. When I thought about it sensibly, I realised the reality of the situation. Here was I, an unknown writer with nothing that had ever been produced to my name. Why would anyone want to risk hundreds of thousands of pounds to make the TV drama series I had written when they had scripts from the likes of Lynda La Plante coming out of their ears? 

A little while after that, I was sitting at home wondering what next? And suddenly it dawned on me! Do it yourself! 

Why not? I thought about it some more and concluded that if everyone, cast and crew, were prepared to work for nothing, I could probably make a feature film out of it for maybe £10,000 or thereabouts. I had, myself, worked on a couple of similar projects, although neither of them had ever been completed so I knew it was possible. That day I made a decision to rewrite the screenplay as a full length (90 minutes) feature film screenplay and produce it, direct it and edit it myself. I discussed the idea with my wife and she had no objections, in fact she was very much for the idea.

That day, I went for a walk around Yeadon Dam, as I did every day. But on that day, as I walked past the ducks swimming in the water, I said to myself “You’re going to be a film director!” A huge smile broke out all over my face - I think the other people round the dam must have thought I must be a bit simple, wandering around with this huge grin on my face for no apparent reason.

After that, a couple of years passed during which I hired a cast and crew, shot and edited the film and eventually managed to persuade EMI and Warner Music to sell me a licence to use two Enya songs to open and close the film, but only following intervention on my behalf by Nicky Ryan, Enya’s manager, after I had rung him in the hope of getting his help! I screened the finished film at MIFED which was a leading international film market and at the American film market in Santa Monica and it was eventually sold for broadcast on television in countries on four continents including the USA and China, where it was screened three times at prime time on China Central Television (after they had dubbed it into Chinese, of course!). To date, the film has been seen by over 40 million people. Including the Enya licences, it cost me £22,000 to make BABY BLUES, plus a few thousand more to take it to the film markets. Was it worth Taking the Plunge and spending all that the time and money and effort to make my first feature film? You tell me!

Owen at the Belize Film Festival ~ on the Panel of Directors!

Author website Carey Films:
Rough Cut website:
Author blog - Living with a creative mind:
Facebook page: Owen Carey Jones
Rough Cut The Novel FB page:
Twitter A/c @owencareyjones:!/owencareyjones (buy): (buy):


Sheryl said...
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Sheryl said...

Thanks for joining me, Owen. Your road to publication is fascinating! Well done you on 'Taking the Plunge!'. :) xx

Francine Howarth: UK said...


If you gotta dream you gotta have your dream come true or, forever kick yourself for not giving it a shot! ;)

Well done, you.


Nikki said...
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Nikki said...

Hi Owen and Sheryl interesting post. I really like the way you decided to take charge of the situation and do it yourself. I grew up with the screen writer Sean Conway his latest work Hit and Miss was recently shown on Sky Atlantic. My brother is an actor. He has made a lot of Indie films as well as starring on stage and screen. I myself have also worked as a support artist and know many script writers who just end up filing their scripts away. So its great to hear you went ahead and made your dream come true.

Sheryl said...

A case of - if at first you don't succeed... make it happen. You have to admire Owen his determination, Nikki. I'm really impressed. I may dig some of my old scripts out yet! :) xx

Janice Horton said...

Absolutely inspirational! Thanks for telling us how you took the plunge Owen.

Linn B Halton said...

Amazing stuff Owen and what amazing memories! The most important thing in life is not to have regrets, you have to grab opportunities and make things happen! Sounds like you had a lot of fun too, well done.

Sue Fortin said...

I love the 'Why Not?' approach to life. Good for you Owen.

Sheryl said...

I'm not sure I'll be directing my own film anytime soon. Owen, but you've definitely inspired me to go for it re my current projects! Thanks for all you comments, guys! Much appreciated! :) xx