Looking back, looking forward

The past year has been a good one for Ki, with some significant and exciting commissions for our clients, and the arrival of Roz who’s already done her first deal as an agent.

It’s always hard to announce specific client news, since it’s so far in advance and we have to observe the sensitivities of the publishers and producers involved.  But I think it’s OK to congratulate Emma Adams on her first big TV commission, and announce a new book deal for Mike Carey.  We’ve got reasonable hopes for several films to start shooting this year.  News will be announced on the website and our Facebook page as it happens.

I find retrospectives generally dull, and – despite the global and domestic issues that have been worrying us all – there are reasons to feel cheerful about the coming year.  But, as always, we agents have work to do as well.

In the publishing sector, book sales have gone up by 5% after years of slow but consistent decline.  Areas of particular increase have been hardcovers and audiobooks.

That being said, the polarization of authors’ earnings has got to be redressed. The big names get larger revenues; the mid-career or less populist authors increasingly less. There are three areas I’m especially concerned about:

  1. Deep discounts – for a popular author, you can find that about 20% of their books are sold at the standard rate; and the rest at high discount;
  2. Special sales – large numbers ofcopies sold to places like The Works or The Book People for eye-wateringly low sums;
  3. Ebooks – publishers are resisting a review of the standard royalty, which was set at the emergence of this format years ago.

In TV drama, we’re seeing a boom in the quantity of commissions, as well as the quality.   Besides Netflix and Amazon, other companies like Apple and Google are getting into the act. We’re busy making the most of this increase in opportunity, but here too there’s a caveat: these companies are making their own content in order to gain market share and drive down revenue to the creators, and to avoid having to buy from other producers (who would charge the

m more for their better, premium content).

For the first time recently I had a ‘What is a film?’ conversation with a prominent producer.  What will make people make the trip to a cinema and pay the admission is under intense scrutiny.  That being said, box office takings are up.

I’m hoping, too, that the globalisation of media companies will give us some buffer against the political and economic turbulence we’re seeing right now.

We’ll all see if I’m right about 2019.  Meanwhile, Roz, Ruth and I wish you a very happy, productive and successful year ahead.

Meg

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash


Update from Roz

So, it’s been a whole month for me at the Ki Agency and what a blast I’m having. It’s obviously quite tricky to imagine how an agent actually finds any new writer let alone a decent one. Once again, as previously stated I cannot give too much away as our competitors may be reading this. However, not wishing to deliberately trip over writerly looking suspects in the street, neither do I run around with a large butterfly net or a gleaming sword, hoping to nab or slay an unsuspecting wanna-be writer. I can now proudly boast of signing up two super-talented young graduates; Moira James-Moore and Andrew X. Fleming, whose work is outstanding – I look forward to help shape their future careers in the flourishing UK media arena.
There are of course many other writers whom I have “in my loop”, who are at various stages of script development – some I am helping to improve their already intriguing material and others are only at short script stage, so encouraging them to break out to feature or at least an hour in length. Looking forward to various celluloid goodies at the upcoming London Film Festival where I shall be searching once again for some unsuspecting new writers.
- Roz
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Roz's No. 1 Blog

My very first week of being an agent was even more thrilling than I imagined it would be. Armed with a brand-new pencil case, I felt slightly like an over grown 5 year-old. I was already aware of my wonderful new office building (appropriately an old TV factory) and sampled the tasty coffee in the café downstairs. After impatiently ripping open the wrapping of my shiny new laptop, there was no stopping me and to my amazement there were already half a dozen e-mails awaiting my attention.

I am genuinely impressed by the very high standard of some the scripts I’ve already had the pleasure of reading. There are so many different ways and means of finding new writing talent, but obviously I could never reveal tactics here. Trying to second guess what influential film/TV producers and drama commissioners are looking for is always tough but not impossible. Certain themes just like in fashion are cyclical, so the current demand for genre stories with a twist;  horror, crime, 1980’s set stories, anything female-centric is all fine with me as a female horror fan with a penchant for strong and distinctive individual “voices”.

Originality, in any form is always a sheer delight to encounter and helping that talent to bloom in the market is a challenge, but one that I cherish. Send me a script that surprises me, scares me, moves me, makes me laugh or simply impresses me with its natural story telling abilities and I promise to react positively. Here’s to an exciting future at the Ki Agency.

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash