Testimonial: Samm Haillay

Sam Haillay has a long list of producing credits, including “Better Things” and “Bypass”, both written and directed by Duane Hopkins and documentaries such as “6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia” directed by Mark Cousins, and “The Uprising” directed by Peter Snowdon.

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Working as a film producer, a film consultant and a senior associate lecturer means my time at home is precious. I’ve made 4 feature films in the last 2 years… three of these were shot away from my home city and my wife and child. The one that was shot near home was shot in story order, meaning we went in and out of nights several times.

 

When not in production I have to travel very regularly to London and abroad for financing reasons. My wife is incredibly supportive. This, however, is a two-way street and I need to be supportive of her career as a therapist. I need to engage with every element of my son’s childhood, education and overall development. Making sure I can do this is just about possible during non-shooting periods but is almost impossible when shooting. Six day weeks and/or 11 day fortnights are inevitable as at the lower end of the budget scale there is simply not enough money to shoot on five day weeks.

 

The producer is also often the only person on the crew who doesn’t get paid or given any travel allowance. I’d love an extra 5% from funders to be put aside specifically to ensure that cast and crew can sustain their family responsibilities or to aid with childcare (more costly than our mortgage) while shooting, even if this meant just the ability to end six day weeks and/or 11 day fortnights. In actual fact all films would improve in so many ways if we only worked five day weeks.

 

One of the four films I mention above did shoot five day weeks but we had to do an additional block of shooting two months later due to there simply not being enough time to shoot the whole film. I love all my films and often think about them as my babies, but in reality my son, my wife, my family mean more to me than any film. One just needs to remember that when in the heat of a shoot often working over 100 hours per week sleeping in the production office, I look forward to my wife bringing Albert into the office so I can see him at all.

 

My late parents are my inspiration for everything I do. My little family are my motivation. I hope that I can inspire my son in the way that my mother and father continue to inspire me but I’ll need to maintain a proper and fulsome relationship with him, in conjunction to my work, to make this happen.

 

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