WA producer Maya Kavanagh on working for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free

Maya Kavanagh. 

Last year, Screenwest supported producer Maya Kavanagh to undertake a professional placement with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free London, an opportunity that has since landed her a full-time role.

Scott Free was launched by Scott back in 2010 to develop and produce UK-originated theatrical features and high-end television drama. It operates closely with the London office of RSA Films, as well as its sister company Scott Free Productions in LA.

While on her placement, Kavanagh was able to work on a number of films in production, including assisting the head of business affairs with closing finance on James Kent’s The Aftermath. She also assisted The Aftermath‘s team with pre-production, and co-ordinated production of a short animation within the film.

Previously Kavanagh had completed an internship with Odin’s Eye Entertainment, worked as a producers’ assistant on A Few Less Men, and had undertaken a three months development placement with Ticket to Ride Films. In addition, she had produced two shorts, Library of Love and Rum & Raisin.

The WA producer told IF she saw the Scott Free placement as an opportunity to build upon those experiences and to make new networks in the UK. The most important lesson she learned was how to assess the commercial viability of a script before deciding whether or not to invest.

“Having the ability to identify whether a script and the team behind it are able to produce an outstanding film with an innovative and unique narrative is a rare thing, something I had not realised until conducting the placement,” she said.

“In addition to this, I realised just how important is it to seek out and maintain contacts within the industry by utilising the resources around you. Scott Free very generously put me in touch with a number of contacts they work with on a daily basis. During my time at Scott Free, I met with members of the teams at See-Saw Films, 20th Century Fox, Bold Films, and Hanway Films, who met with me and were incredibly helpful in identifying the best ways to elevate my career to the next level.

“Back home, people see networking as a dirty word, but with the right approach, it can be incredibly productive and rewarding.”

Kavanagh said the biggest difference she sees between the UK and Australian development scene is scale, noting there are simply more projects circulating the UK industry.

“I attribute this directly to the number of private and public funded entities that finance development. It means that writers, directors and most importantly, producers have the financial stability required to work on projects for longer, in turn ensuring that they become fully-fledged ideas before moving into production.

“Many Australian projects fail to do this and as a result, fall short of the mark with audiences. Locating and developing alternative modes of funding for development is going to be the key to our film and TV industries reaching the same heights as America and the UK.”

At the end of her placement, Kavanagh was offered a full-time position as an assistant to Ridley Scott and the Scott Free film team.

“I’m excited about this next stage in my career and look forward to returning to Australia one day to strike out on my own.”