Creative People: Nisha Parti
04 December 2017
The producer of The Boy with the Topknot, talks about how she got to be where she is today.
- How did you get to be a Producer?
I originally wanted to be a doctor. I did my three science A-levels, but got a D in Physics. Instead of Med School, I ended up doing Human Physiology at Leeds. I didn’t enjoy it so started to get into theatre and making short films. I also ran the photographic society. It’s amazing what you can do at uni.
I decided to go to film school after uni. I did a Masters in film production at the Northern School of Film and TV. That made me realise what a film producer did. After leaving, I wrote about 100 letters and emailed every production company I could. One invited me in for a week of unpaid work experience. After a week, they asked me to stay on. That was my first job. Since then, it’s been a long journey working my way up to becoming a producer.
- What do you do on a day to day basis?
There are two sides to the job. One is production when you’re making something. The other side is trying to get a project off the ground. You might make one film every two years. As a producer, it’s my job to really run the whole film. I’ll hire the writer, director, the cast and crew.
liaise between the people financing the film and everyone else involved. I make sure it all happens on budget, and on time. When I’m not in production, I spend my days meeting agents, writers and directors. I read books and scripts while I’m trying to find good projects. The next stage is developing those projects with film and TV studios. It can take years for something to happen. Only about one in 20 scripts optioned will see the light of day.
- What’s the best bit about your job?
I think probably the variety. Every day is different. I also meet the most interesting people. I love people, I love stories, so that’s exciting. You can be very creatively involved with the cast, the script, the storyline and how it looks. You need to be very good at managing a team, managing budgets and bringing it all together.
- What’s the worst bit about your job?
For me, the worst thing is you can spend years trying to get a project made and it doesn’t happen. An example is ‘The Boy with the Topknot’. It was turned down a few times before I convinced the BBC to make it. It’s much easier for people to say no than yes.
Because I make brown films basically, that make it a little bit tougher. I think people still don’t recognise that there’s an audience for it. But it’s the highest rated BBC drama this year. By showing there’s an audience for this stuff, more will get made.
- The thing that people don’t really know…
When a film wins an Oscar for best movie, it’s the producer who goes on stage to collect it. That’s because the producer is responsible for everything, a bit like a CEO in a company.
- How could I do what you do?
I think to be a producer you need to be very organised and hard working. You need excellent social and people skills.
You also need a creative vision of the kind of stories you want to tell, and never give up. I also think the film industry is very hard to get into and to survive in. You need to be completely in love with what you do.