News Reel & Blog

Written by Christian Abbott on 27th March 2020

It may seem hard to grasp now, but this will pass. History is littered with examples of struggle, turbulence and ultimately triumph. When it does pass, we’ll find ourselves in the world after, looking back at the world before. We are already finding ourselves re-contextualizing what we held for granted, and deeply appreciating what we have. What do we have? Well, time, and so much of it.

For many, indeed most, we are finding ourselves stuck inside almost all day, everyday. When confronted with so much time and so little space, it can seem daunting, which turns to frustration and finally – boredom. Yet, there is no need to feel this way, we live in a time of so much connectivity and entertainment at our fingertips, there is a wealth of things to do.

At Searchlight, we are all finding our own ways to pass the time, this week we’ll take a look at some of the tv shows we are currently binging, from the classics to the modern:

 Charlie Alford, Research Executive – Mad Men

There is a lot of good television, there is even more great television, but Mad Men stands alone. Created in 2007 by Matthew Weiner (showrunner of The Sopranos), this is a story of a team of ad men, following them through the highs and lows of a defining decade – the 60s. Focused on the character of Don Draper, an archetypal American standard, the type of man on the surface all want to be, but no one can – including Don himself.

Suzanne Alden, Senior Consultant – Cheer

The newest show in Netflix’s vast library, and quickly proving itself to be a smash hit. Following the trend of docu-series, and fusing it with the sports genre is an appealing combination. It tracks the careers of Navarro Colleges cheerleaders, as they prepare for one of the most important moments of their lives.

Trinity Stevenson, Junior Consultant - Pose

Everyone likes the 80s, right? Well we certainly have since Stranger Things dominated our lives, setting in motion a new fascination with the decade. Highly stylised, appropriately so, as this explores the African and Latino LGBTQ ballroom scene in 1987. It charters the beginning of the luxury world and the society surrounding it.

Amy Osterley, Head of Development – TheKominsky Method

Faded legends are always interesting characters, and surprising rich for comedic value – this is no exception. Following an aging actor who has turned to coaching, it’s fuelled by the ironic star power of Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. More of a knowing wink than a point and laugh – sharp and witty and great for anyone who understands the business.

Cathy Alford, Managing Director – Strike Back

A self-confessed guilty pleasure, and perfect nonsense escapism – it’s hard not to find it appealing. Going strong with 8 seasons now (so plenty to keep you occupied), it keeps up with Section 20, a British special forces unit – one mission at a time. Filled with big explosion and bigger egos, its feels like a throwback, and we all love a good throwback.

Christian Abbott, Group Marketing Executive – Twin Peaks: The Return

In truth I would have gone for Mad Men, but I am, in one way of another, always watching it so it would be unfair. That goes for Twin Peaks too, however. Part drama, part comedy, part surrealist nightmare - all gold. Where to even begin with this? To the uninitiated, it can seem like a standard whodunit, but with The Return, every second is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. Totally unique, and joyously baffling.


Written by Christian Abbott on 25th March 2020

Coronavirus Concerns – Live Legal Webinar

Searchlight and Lumina once again partnered with Lewis Silkin, a leading specialist media legal firm, to offer a free live legal webinar. This was in response to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, how the media industry is coping under the strain and how to mitigate its impact.

 There was a very high demand for the information provided, with over a hundred people logging in to our webinar, Thanks to all who virtually attended.

 As numbers were limited and feedback was so positive, we’ve  recorded the webinar which you can find in the link near the end of this article. Key topics were as follows:

  • How to deal with staff with suspected coronavirus or self isolating 
  • Your obligations towards vulnerable staff
  • How employers should deal with the issues arising from working from home
  • The options employers have in dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic
  • The impact of coronavirus from an immigration perspective

The link can be found here:

 https://zoom.us/rec/share/3N1xBL7N9nxITYXs1VDBRJYNLLn3X6a8gXdMrPAImEx8-6-y63We3pKHIXGjhbNr

 Some excellent additional  background information can be found on the Lewis Silkin Coronavirus Hub here:  

 https://www.lewissilkin.com/coronavirus

At Searchlight, we will also continue to update you on the situation and any further announcements of similar online events – please keep an eye on our website and social media for further information.


Written by Christian Abbott on 24th March 2020

Many of you, if not all, will be working from home right now. Things do seem unclear with the global and industry situation remaining fluid. While this is a cause for concern, there are many industry experts helping to bring clarity to the situation.

Searchlight and Lumina are once again partnering with Lewis Silkin to bring you a FREE live webinar to cover some of the industries frequently asked questions.

This webinar event is tailored for HR professionals and Senior Executives  with HR responsibility.

Tuesday 24th of March: 11-12AM GMT 

Talking to our clients across the film and TV industry in recent days, it has been clear that many are looking for legal advice on a vast array of issues resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Russell Brimelow (Partner),  Hannah Price (Legal Director) and Naomi Hanrahan-Soar (Managing Associate) will discuss the following:

  • How do you deal with staff with suspected coronavirus or self isolating?
  • What are your obligations towards vulnerable staff?
  • Working from home (and combining caring responsibilities) – how should employers deal with the issues arising?
  • What options do employers have in dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the business?
  • What is the impact of coronavirus from an immigration perspective?
  • What are the Media industry’s key issues apart from the above

This webinar will be followed by a live Q&A, allowing you to bring any questions or concerns into the discussion.

The link to the event can be found here, please feel free to register:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ybd1NjhgRJu8zBPLcaoK2w

For any questions regarding the event, please email christian@searchlight.com


Written by Christian Abbott on 20th March 2020

In December of 2019, there were small rumblings of a new virus affecting people in a region of China. This seemed hardly a global concern, so understandably it was business as usual across the Media & Entertainment industries. Now however, as we approach the end of Q1 2020, the virus has spread globally, impacting thousands of lives and disrupting international business. What was, just a few months ago of no concern, now has Production Houses feeling the strain across the globe. But what is the outlook for Production in light of Coronavirus, and how can we weather this storm?

The full extent of the impact is hard to determine, with daily updates on productions being put on hiatus, distribution being delayed and work-forces told to stay home – 2020 will be a year of struggle for the industry. So far, some of the films that have been pushed back are No Time to Die, Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place 2 – all just weeks and days from their originally slated release. As for productions under way – Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings TV series has halted production, Warner Bros have delayed the production start dates of Happy Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts 3, in London, as is the same for The Batman and King Richard – both WB. Every studio across film and television has been effected.

Yet, the total impact is hard to determine, and monetary value / loss is difficult to see. This is something the industry has never had to deal with before, and with no preparation or fail-safes put in place, the only thing that can be done so far is to stagger releases and wait. There are some suggestions however, though certainly would have appeared extreme just a week ago.

Over in the twitter-verse, there has been a rising debate of streaming vs theatre-going – certainly nothing new, but now it has a revived sense of urgency. There is a rising tide of ardent streaming supporters, suggesting delayed productions should simply be released online instead of the theatre – maintaining the original release date. This is certainly an interesting idea, allowing productions to earn back some of the money now instead of later, and indeed, to keep people away from mass-gatherings in a time of a pandemic. One could argue this is a no-brainer and a win-win for the producers and distributions, and the audiences as well. There is one issue – the theatres. Should we really risk an entire art-form when we are not even sure how this pandemic will go, or is the worth risk taking?

However the mega-budget movies need a theatrical release to have any chance to gain their money back, streaming platforms only offer diminishing returns for such projects, and the studios know this. Despite nearly all of them having their own streaming platforms now, don’t expect to see these delayed films released on them.

While the coming month will be exceptionally hard for both production companies and theatres, once the impact of coronavirus becomes more clear, there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Theatre chains will be empty of the next few month – and if one chain has this problem, they all do. For both them and the production companies, this could be a time to build massive-anticipation. With many releases that were just days away, it has created an itch for many audience members, when the films are finally released, we could see an enormous spike in box-office numbers.

For now, the road ahead is clouded in fog, it can seem like we can’t see our hands in front of our faces. For Production companies, this will prove to be their greatest challenge since the writers strike of 2007. The landscape of coronavirus’ impact will continue to shift and change, but one thing won’t – people love movies, and people will always want to watch them. 



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