Picnic at Hanging Rock – Executive Producer – Jo Porter
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Picnic at Hanging Rock – Executive Producer – Jo Porter

My name is Jo Porter and I am the
executive producer of Picnic at Hanging Rock The differences between an
executive producer and producer really do vary on the particular project but
traditionally an executive producer is the person that sort of has the big zoom
out picture. They’re usually there from the beginning of bringing together the
creatives to sort of realise the project including hiring the producer usually.
They’re also part of drawing together the finance plan to make sure we’ve got
the funds to realise the project with the ambition that it needs. Whereas though a
producer tends to be more boots in, on the ground, really involved in the nitty
gritty of realising the production. Over the past 20 years you’ve seen a real
contraction in the number of episodes that are ordered and probably that’s
responding to where audiences and where broadcasters are going, so it’s gone from
42 to 26 to 13 to now what’s really cutting through are these beautiful
event, high-quality mini-series that are really cinematic in scale and scope
and that’s where we’re seeing Picnic at Hanging Rock sitting. Development is everything. It’s the time
when you get to really tease out, explore, and play with an idea. Even though it’s an
expensive process in and of itself, it’s a lot less expensive than when
you’re out there in production. It’s a time when it’s all about the
script, getting that bedrock of every project rock-solid. It’s also
a time when you’re bringing in the circle of creatives that are going
to realise this project to make sure that you’re all sharing a vision of
where you want this project to go. I think when you go back and you look at
the novel, even though it’s quite a slim volume, within it Joan Lindsay has
left behind all these tantalising ideas and clues that the writers sort of
really could go in and sort of pull out and tease open and outwards would
tumble all this fantastic potential and frankly questions that they were able to
explore within the six hours of why these characters were doing what they
were doing and that gave us a really interesting story engine to explore
across the six hours. The evolution of our industry it’s almost
the speed of everything – it’s just like it’s oscillating so fast at the moment and
it’s super exciting but it’s a quite a roller coaster to stay on. What’s so
great is we’re all riding on the success of each other. The more each of our
programs sell internationally and we get international audiences used to
Australian accents and our content, that’s going to make it easier for the
next person coming along and I think that’s going to just open up where we
can take ideas because frankly it means bigger budgets and different ambitions
so it’s a massive change in the way audiences are consuming, which is also
changing the way we’re producing projects as well. I can’t wait for
Australian audiences to get to see Picnic – it’s going to go out on Foxtel
Showcase on May 6.

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