Coping with COVID-19: Goalpost Pictures’ Ben Grant
The hardest part about the coronavirus pandemic for Goalpost Pictures was having to make one employee redundant and stand down another staffer, who was subsequently reinstated thanks to the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
The only full-time crew member who had been hired for its upcoming SBS miniseries New Gold Mountain was also stood down but is getting paid via JobKeeper.
On the upside, Goalpost is working with SBS and Screen Australia on a number of scenarios for back-to-work on the Peter Cox-created drama set in Victoria during the 1850s gold rush from the perspective of desperate Chinese miners.
“It was a very confronting period and we were in survival mode, but making content is still a viable business,” Goalpost MD Ben Grant told Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner last Friday in a webinar.
“We will continue to develop and make content that firstly we want to make. Ages ago someone told me the first audience is yourself.
“We’re still going to market with TV projects. No one is necessarily committing but in recent weeks people have started to be poised to jump.
“The market is saying ‘that’s interesting, that might slot in here in terms of genre, audience or timeline.'”
Like all production companies, Goalpost is devoting more time to developing current projects and developing new IP, benefiting from its first-look TV deal with All3Media International.
One project, still under wraps, is set in New Zealand. In addition, some cast members of New Gold Mountain live across the ditch so they can’t return until travel restrictions are lifted.
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which Goalpost co-produced with Blumhouse Prouctions, had its theatrical run in the US, Australia, the UK and multiple other territories curtailed when cinemas shuttered.
While the global gross of $US125 million ($A191 million) sounds impressive, the return to the producers will be far less once the P&A, the exhibitors’ cut and distributors’ rentals are deducted. Grant has promised to itemise the revenue “waterfall” after factoring in DVD and VOD sales, perhaps at a masterclass at Screen Forever.
Grant and partners Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne look forward to working with Transmission Films on release plans for Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman, which was scheduled to open in May.
The Helen Reddy biopic was trailered with British musical comedy-drama Military Wives and Grant was chuffed to hear from a friend who went to one screening that the audience started singing along with the trailer.
Grant is optimistic about the outcome of the Federal Government’s review of local content quotas.
“In this industry at this time we are well placed,” he says. “We just need some discussion and common sense to work out which levers to pull so we can take advantages of the opportunities in front of us.”