Julia Berg is offering a day-long workshop to up to eight lucky New Zealanders, on Saturday January 19. Ideal for many of us who've made new year resolutions to advance our projects and I wish I could be there, because of her experience and the workshop's potential to link into the big wide world. Here's the workshop link.
Originally from Australia, Julia has worked for leading BAFTA and Academy award production companies including New York's Likely Story working with people like Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York) and Nicole Holofcener (Please Give). Most recently she worked in development for producer James Wilson with filmmaker Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) and Wilson's slate of auteur filmmakers.
Julia has developed material for Maven Pictures (Andrea Arnold's American Honey), worked with partners such as the BBC, Film4, Screen Austrailia and the BFI; and has shaped material into films that have premiered at Cannes, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festival.
She founded JBERG Films, a production company and creative talent campus that runs workshops to shape story ideas into film/TV pitches', because she wanted 'to be more entrepreneurial about film development instead of working for one company with a streamlined vision'.
Julia's greatest joy is packaging a project from inception, bringing everything together and finding a home for it with talent, producers, financiers and with its audience, and because she 'absolutely and whole heartedly' believes in greater access to the industry and wants to enable it, she runs workshops to track new talent and see that moment when creative connections take off. Inclusion and diversity are key to Julia's work and she's worked creatively with award-winning individuals whose support needs include cerebral palsy, down syndrome and brain injury.
I asked Julia a couple of questions.
How will the day run?
It's a writer's room, very collaborative and full of sharing.
I will share techniques on pitching – share samples and then talk about treatments and then everyone will share their project with the group. We will all give feedback which I will lead.
There will then be 1hr-1hr30mins to create a pitch / one pager.
After that writing break, everyone will share the page they have prepared and everyone will give feedback. I will discuss further developments or the best ways of getting the project out to the industry.
It isn't in person as I need to be in Australia – so it will be a video session that we run via ZOOM. I use this all the time. Everyone needs to show up on the video call at 10am - 5pm to get the most out of it. When attendees sign up / book I email them the link which is very easy to download.
Does it always 'directly put your project in the hands of financiers/producers/agents'; and at the end of the day? Or?
My goal is to ensure access for the talent. Sometimes at the end of the day, depending on the quality of the work. Or I offer to continue running the sessions bi-monthly (every 2 months) in the same set up, with similar cost so that we can keep the project moving, keep up traction, ensure notes are addressed to get the project to a quality where I do connect them to the industry.
I'm developing three TV series at the moment so and I work with 100 filmmakers around the world each month. I will always respond but because I am pretty busy I suggest attending continued workshops every two months to keep up the relationship and ensure traction for the filmmaker/talent.