Caring for crew on a drama production

The latest Raising Films ribbon goes to BBC Scotland drama production GUILT and specifically producer Jules Hussey (Brazen Productions).

As an experience producer and line producer across projects like CATHERINE THE GREAT (Sky Atlantic) and CALL THE MIDWIFE (BBC), Jules brings to her work her own lived experience of her on-going support of an older sibling with learning disabilities.

Jules seeks to promote change from within by promoting inclusion, training and reasonable adjustments in the high-end TV dramas she produces. Her company Brazen Productions seeks to work with a diverse talent base in development and in production both in front of and behind the camera.

We couldn’t be more pleased to promote the outstanding work Jules is doing and to award the ribbon. Read on to find out why…

“To be honest this production was the most inclusive, understanding and empathetic I have ever worked on.” Member of GUILT production crew

Jules’ approach to production

At the start of every job, one of the first things Jules does is to send out a welcome email to her crew. From this simple gesture Jules says, “I always get some heart-warming replies.” We’re not going to reproduce one of Jules’ welcome emails here but there are a couple of lines that Jules has very kindly agreed we can share publicly.

It is very important to me that respect and consideration exists at every level and every stage of productions. If you feel overworked, undervalued, bullied, disrespected, uncomfortable… then you can say so. To your HoD, Wendy, myself or the heads of production.”

And also this wonderful and inclusive line Jules included in her welcome email to the GUILT production crew.

“And life is important so never, ever be worried about leaving early for a health (mental and physical), family or friends thing… We all ultimately make up the hours and no-one should be made to feel ‘guilt’ (see what I did there?!) for trying to maintain a work/life balance.”

As with every production there are always issues that need addressing and problems to be solved. For example GUILT shot mainly on location at Parkhouse Business Park in Glasgow’s northern suburbs, a collection of warehouses used for other productions including BBC1 dramas TRUST ME and THE VICTIM. The fact it’s not a dedicated film studio created a few problems and in an interview with Broadcast Jules talked about a few of these issues, “Across the site, we had to deal with everything from fairground rides being refurbished to a noisy children’s dance academy.”

Jules is aware of training schemes and policies aimed at helping HODs and senior production crew to create and maintain respectful workplaces but believes that these schemes and policies can sometimes be of no effect on location or on set. “I know of productions where top people have been sent on these courses,” commented Jules, “and behaviour during production is still shocking but it’s ignored because ‘we’ve done the course’”.

During the production of GUILT Jules said she “decided to ask the cast and crew what we were doing right and also what we were doing wrong.” An anonymous online survey was sent to the whole team and this is a selection of feedback from the crew…

“I believe this production did a really good job of making crew feel that they could talk with production about any issues they are having and ask for time off if required. I think everyone was made to feel valued in their role and an integral part of the shoot and thus we had a happy cast and crew.”
“This production has been the first one I have ever worked for that has even mentioned the work/life balance. (Normally it is just work/work balance).”
“A superb email was sent to all prior to filming. There was no way of improving the attitude of the work place on this job, in fact it was the most open and supportive work team I have experienced.”
“The production were great in speaking about and normalising the importance of having a work/life balance, however the expectations on those working within the industry in general still needs to be addressed on a much wider scale. As always, working 12/14 hour days became the norm and although it was a thoroughly enjoyable job, it does mean that your home/family life suffers.”
“My experience of this production was one of the best I’ve ever had in my ten years of working in this profession. Every member of this team was welcomed and well looked after. It was a truly harmonious and positive experience, whilst creating a really brilliant piece of work.”
“During the prep period the production and my HoD were good about me having time to arrange personal appointments. They also tried to maintain this during production, but obviously the job demands a large amount from me in terms of time and energy.”
The Raising Films ribbon is available to production companies, festivals and conferences, training schemes and educational institutions. It will be awarded to acknowledge activity that takes into the account the needs of parents and carers.
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Here is Jules (left photo, centre front) with the crew of GUILT holding up signs stating who they care for

We are really delighted to award the ribbon to Jules, her company Brazen Productions and her work on the GUILT production. Jules and Brazen Productions are the embodiment of Raising Films… To Jules!

About Jules Hussey
Jules is a graduate of Stirling University (joint first BA Hons English & Film) and was awarded the second David Jacobs Scholarship. She found herself transported to LA and UCLA Graduate film school in 1991 and one of her first practical experiences in the media was as an intern on Baywatch.

On completing her Masters degree Jules worked for three years in the production division of the BFI assisting in the development of film and artist talent such as Andrea Arnold, Simon Beaufoy, Shane Meadows, Andrew Kotting, Carol Morley, Lynne Ramsey, Annie Griffin and Sarah Turner.

Jules went freelance in 1997 and has since worked her way up through docs to drama docs to line producing award-winning dramas.

About GUILT
A new four-part drama set in Edinburgh, written by Neil Forsyth (Eric, Ernie And Me, Bob Servant), directed by Robert McKillop (Cleaning Up, Clique) and starring Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line Of Duty) and Jamie Sives (Chernobyl, Game Of Thrones) as Max and Jake – two estranged brothers thrown together by tragedy and united by guilt.

Premiering on the new BBC Scotland channel followed by BBC Two, this stylish contemporary drama also stars Emun Elliott, Ruth Bradley, Siân Brooke, Ellie Haddington, Bill Paterson, Michael Nardone and Moyo Akandé.

Producer is Jules Hussey (Brazen Productions), Executive Producers are Kirstie Macdonald (Expectation), Neil Webster (Happy Tramp North), Gregor Sharp (BBC Two) and Gavin Smith (BBC Scotland).

GUILT is an Expectation and Happy Tramp North production for BBC Scotland and BBC Two and is part-funded by Screen Scotland’s Broadcast Content Fund.