20 APR 2023

Natalie Lawley: "We offer involvement and support from start to finish"

Natalie Lawley, Managing Director at Escapade Media, describes the advantages of working with the Australian production and distribution company and lists the three new projects they showcased at MIPTV.

20 APR 2023

Natalie Lawley

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Australian production and distribution company Escapade Media attended MIPTV with three global titles: the drama "Grassroots," the series "Whisky Trails," and the natural history documentary "Hacking Evolution: Lionfish."  Señal News spoke with Natalie Lawley, Managing Director of the company, who described these new launches.

▸  How could you explain the production and distribution landscape in Australia?

"There is currently a lot of production being carried out in Australia. It's a mix of local and overseas production. It's a very buoyant time across many genres. The distribution landscape in Australia is seeing many amalgamations at the moment, with only a few independent distribution companies left."

▸  What are the main advantages of working with Escapade Media as a producer and distributor?

"The advantage of working with Escapade is that we offer involvement and support of a project from start to finish. For many of the projects we are involved in, Escapade has an EP position on the project to ensure that it appeals globally and can maximize revenue. We can support a project's financial model through commission and pre-sales and then continue into the straight distribution model for the project's life. The company is also small and nimble so that we can employ different strategies depending on the best needs of the project."

▸  Are you involved in the production of any new content?

"Escapade is currently involved in eight new scripted projects and five non-scripted projects. Our involvement level varies from project to project. We have joined forces with Story First UK on two dramas and Starlings Television US on a further two dramas. The development side of Escapade's business has certainly increased over the past five years, and because we are small and experienced across various strategies, we can modify our approach depending on the needs of a project."

▸  What are the main titles that you showcased at MIPTV?

"'Grassroots' is a drama about community, triumph over adversity, and hope for a better future. Set in a post-Brexit and Covid world, leveling up is the watchword. In this world, 'Grassroots' will put individual everyday challenges against the collective drive and ambition of a women's rugby league team. Moreover, 'Whisky Trails' takes us on a globe-trotting journey following our sagacious and ever-inquisitive guide, Luke McKenzie, on his adventure from the New World: Australia, Japan, India, and the USA, back to the Old World of Ireland and Scotland on a personal quest to taste all the colors of the whisky rainbow. Finally, in 'Hacking Evolution: Lionfish,' commissioned by PBS Nova and narrated by Danni Washington, the invasive lionfish symbolizes how one unintentional action can cause unimaginable havoc on the evolutionary balance of our natural world.”

▸  Why could those shows appeal to international buyers?

"All three projects we launched at MIPTV are very appealing to global buyers. 'Hacking Evolution: Lionfish' is a premium natural history documentary examining the global issue of this predatory fish impacting our oceans' ecosystems. Co-produced with Orange Frame for PBS US, the brand new drama from StoryFirst and created by John Godber, 'Grassroots' is Yorkshire's new Friday Night Lights. At its core is the importance of community, which resonates around the world set against a women's rugby league team. Finally, 'Whisky Trails' is a unique positioning on whiskey. This series examines the new worlds of whiskey and how boutique companies are creating exceptional blends worldwide through innovative processes and being celebrated around the globe. Whiskey is one of the world's most consumed drinks, and this series explores the old and the new by traveling to Australia, NZ, Japan, India, America, and France."

▸  In 2022, Escapade's distribution strategy was focused on pre-sales. What will be the goal this year?

"Escapade continues to focus on pre-sales for projects needing to close a finance plan gap or a pre-sale to trigger other financial sources. We are also looking for a commission for two projects. We have expanded our team globally, which helps us to support our objectives and secure content worldwide."

By Romina Rodríguez