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Working Title

Working Title Logo
Working Title is something of a rarity in the UK film business, in that it is a true hit factory - a British based company that consistently produces box office smashes that set cash tills ringing in cinemas right around the world.

Working Title is behind some of the most successful British films of all time: Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary and Love Actually. The company also has a long association with the Coen Brothers, producing five of their films including Fargo and The Man Who Wasn't There. It has also brought books such as Nick Hornby's High Fidelity and About A Boy, and Louis de Berniere's Captain Corelli's Mandolin, to the big screen.

On top of this, the company's credits also include Elizabeth, Bean, The Guru, Ned Kelly and Thunderbirds. It recently released romantic comedies Wimbledon and Bridget Jones The Edge Of Reason and is in post-production on The Interpreter starring Nicole Kidman and is shooting a version of Pride And Prejudice on location throughout England.

It's a hugely impressive list of credits. In all, the company has produced more than 70 films since its launch in 1983, with a combined gross in excess of $2.5 billion worldwide; its films have won four Oscars and 20 Baftas. This year, the company was awarded the prestigious Michael Balcon Bafta Award for its contribution to the British film industry.

Eric Fellner - Working TitleCo-chairs Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have run the company together since 1991. The plan, according to Fellner, was pretty straightforward when he joined: "We decided to make films for the international market place - about three to six a year."

Despite its famous name, the structure at Working Title is pretty lean. It employs just 42 full time staff, split between the main Working Title production arm and its low-budget offshoot WT2, run by Natascha Wharton, which since 1999 has produced films like Billy Elliot and Ali G Indahouse.

In terms of production, a strong emphasis is placed on development. Six people work sourcing, developing and honing projects in the UK, with another three in the US and one person in Australia.

The production department itself is six strong, and comprises two senior production executives, backed up by four staff, and is responsible for overseeing Working Title's films. This involves managing a film's budget and keeping the shoots on schedule.

Other key departments include a legal and business affairs team, headed by company chief operating officer Angela Morrison who is responsible for financing Working Title films and sorting out legal issues. She works with three full time lawyers on her team.

How does Working Title choose which films to make? Fellner says projects get championed by individuals in the development department and these 'percolate' their way up to the top. Bevan and Fellner then both take the decision on what to greenlight.

Although contractually they are allowed to give the go-ahead to any film with a budget of up to $25m, on a practical basis they do so in consultation with studio chiefs at Working Title's parent company - NBC Universal, which itself is owned by giant US corporation General Electric.

Recruitment into Working Title is pretty rare. "The problem is that people don't seem to leave that much, so there are not a lot of opportunities to hire people," explains Fellner. However, the company has just started an intern programme which provides four trainees the chance to work in all Working Title departments over 12 month period. Working Title's literary executive Amelia Grange oversees the programme with Angela Morrison.

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