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Tracy O'Riordan Interview

20 January 2011
Tracy O'Riordan

Find out how producer Tracy O'Riordan's career path has lead her to a BAFTA nomination in 2011.

Tracy O’Riordan – Producer

Tracy has been nominated alongside director Clio Bernard in the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer cateogry at this year's BAFTAs.

Tracy worked as a drama development executive and story editor before moving into physical production in 2002, when she production managed BBC docu-drama Little Angels directed by Paul McGuigan, line-produced Song of Songs directed by Josh Appignanesi and worked as part of the production team on the multi-award winning The Queen directed by Stephen Frears.

Tracy worked as a Production Executive on Digital Departures, overseeing the development and production of 3 micro-budget feature films as part of Liverpool Capital Of Culture 2008. The first of these features; Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City’ has recently been released to critical acclaim.

How I Got Into Production

Whilst at University a friend asked me if I wanted to produce ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ I didn’t actually know what producing was, but I decided to give it a go, I was totally clueless but I learnt a lot.

Following University I worked as a runner on ‘The Big Breakfast;’ the highlight was meeting Jeff Goldblum whilst dressed in an alien costume. I then did lots of misery making temping jobs whilst trying to break into the film world. I ended up working for a TV producer in a tiny office in Soho, I did some script development training and a Production Managing course at the NFTS following which I got my first PM job on a BBC documentary drama.

The highlight was meeting Jeff Goldblum whilst dressed in an alien costume

Shortly after this, I produced my first short, whilst supporting myself by freelance script reading and I started to develop feature projects. I applied to Skillset and did a Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling course and following working on such films as ‘Brothers of the Head’ and ‘The Queen’ in the production department, I was accepted on the Samuelson Skillset Sales and Distribution scheme; nine months of placements in such companies as Focus Features, BVI and UK Film Council, where I learnt a huge amount about the marketplace and how the industry functions.

From 2007-8, I worked as a Head of Development and Production on Digital Departures and oversaw the making of 3 micro-budget feature films, one of which was Terence Davies ‘Of Time and the City.’ I was then approached to produce The Arbor, my first feature film as a Producer. It’s taken 13 years to reach this point and I’m incredibly proud of the film and to have found such a talented director (Clio Barnard) to work with. I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t feel quite so clueless now.

*Read BAFTA's Clio Barnard interview on BAFTA Guru