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Jonathan Sothcott: UK Film Producer Talks Movies, Actors, Satorial Style and Working With Steven Seagal

Today, I’m sharing an interview with one of the busiest men in the British film industry, producer Jonathan Sothcott. I first got to know Jonathan over 20 years ago when bonded over our mutual love of Transformers and Steven Seagal movies.

In this interview, Jonathan talks openly about his own film catalogue, his influences, what it was like working through lockdown with Steven Seagal and about his good friend, Christopher Ellison, who it was recently announced has been diagnosed with aphasia.

Listen to the Engaging Marketeer podcast episode for the full scoop, but here are some of the best bits:

Darren: Can you tell me what it what it was like for you when you were growing up in sort of burgeoning your film interest? What sort of influences did you have that got you to do what you wanted to do today?

Jonathan: Funnily enough, I can actually genuinely trace it back to one moment, which sounds like a real cliché. I would have been about four or five, and on TV, there was a one of those specials about the making of “Return of the Jedi”, and I’d just seen the film and probably the other Star Wars films by then, I had all the toys and all that kind of stuff. It made me understand at a really young age that a film gets made, and it was this amazing show because it showed you the puppeteers getting inside Jabba the Hutt and the band all that, and pulling the strings, and I thought “wow!”

You saw all these actors, and when you’re that young you don’t really understand that the characters aren’t are actors, but I saw Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill all interacting and having a laugh, drinking coffee and smoking, all those things, and I just thought “wow”.

And that definitely sparked my interest in how films are made, which I guess is the logical kind of progression to this. I was always interested in books behind the scenes and paperback novelisations – I was always sucked into the whole lot.

I was obsessed with movies when I was at age my parents had a beta max recorder and we had “Jaws”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, some rubbish as well, but I’d watch them relentlessly. Jaws is still my favorite movie without a doubt, and as I grew up, I just really went down that path. I’d buy film magazines, and in the 90s, which was when my teens kicked in, Empire Magazine suddenly came out, which gave this real kind of unfiltered access. So I suppose I got interested from there, and rather foolishly some would say decided to try and make it a career.

Darren: Was it always producing that you wanted to do, or did you want to ever be sort of acting or directing?

Jonathan: No, none of those things at all. I thought I was gonna be a film journalist to be honest with you, that’s what I really thought I was gonna be. When I was sort of 16 or 17, I was selling articles on spec to film magazines, and I got really, really lucky.

I met this chap in America called David Gregory who owns a video label there called Severin Films, and they do all these high-end restorations of cult movies. When I met him, he had just got a gig working for a company that was going to figure in my life again later on called Anchor Bay Entertainment, and they’d acquired the Studio Canal library of titles to release on DVD in America, when DVD was a new thing.

So this is the late 90s, and he’d been tasked with making all the extras – the DVD commentaries, documentaries, all that kind of stuff – and I became one of his guys. So I got to interview everyone you can imagine, from Ken Russell and Christopher Lee to Michael Winner and Brian Forbes, the list goes on and on and on.

I did DVD commentaries as a f*cking teenager frankly, which is outrageous! Commentaries on everything from “Summer Holidays” to “Doctor Who and the Daleks” to “Women in Love” to “Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell”.

It really an awakening, and I absorbed everything from these filmmakers osmotically — I was like a sponge trying to suck up as much practical advice as I could. I’m pretty sure everyone I just mentioned is no longer with us and I was so lucky at that age to meet these proper legends of British film. They were all so kind because the film industry in this country kind of collapsed in the 80,s and I guess a lot of them hadn’t received the kind of tributes they would have done now had they been alive in the age of the internet. Back then we were still fairly analogue and I think that was a real great platform for me and through that I met a wonderful man called David Wicks who was a film and TV director and he made this wonderful mini series of Jack the Ripper with Michael Caine and he was a real kind of guru to me, and really encouraged me. He said “look you, don’t be writing about other people’s films, you want to make your own!”

I worked for David as an assistant for some years and learned so much. To be honest with you, at the time, I would look at him sometimes and think “wow, you’re really harsh” or “wow, you’re really cynical”, and as I get older, I find myself agreeing with everything he said, he was always right. Sometimes, the naivety of youth blinds you to that, but he was a real amazing person.

Then, I met another producer, much older than David, called Euan Lloyd, who produced “The Wild Geese”, “Who Dares Wins”, “The Sea Wolves” and all these movies, and I made a documentary about Euan called “The Last of the Gentleman Producers” and he was another real mentor to me and really encouraged me. I stayed in touch with him until he died, which was a few good few years ago now, and I actually gave the eulogy at his memorial service. He was a real pioneer in the 70s, making these really commercial action movies with great casts in the UK while everyone else was kind of f*cking about not doing anything.

So those two guys I have to really credit with sort of pushing me towards being a film producer, because you can’t walk into the careers office at school and say “I want to be a film producer” because they’ll just laugh at you, even now, or they’ll send you with a group to with the BBC or Netflix or whatever, which is nothing to do with making anything and just about working for corporations.

I was really lucky, but I think the way it happened for me probably couldn’t happen for someone now, which is sad.

Darren: I went to film school myself because I wanted to be a director at the time, and there aren’t many people who were on my film course who actually ended up working in the film industry. I probably think there was maybe three or four out of about 20 that seem to be working in the film industry now, so it is quite depressing in that respect.

Jonathan: It’s really tough and it’s an unforgiving business, and when you start to have a family and think about growing up and those kind of things, it really is a tough gig. I think the problem for me has always been in this country, it’s not a film business, it’s a group of people that make films. In America, it’s a business, you go to Los Angeles and it’s a mining town where they mine film and they take it all very seriously.

Years ago, Martin Kemp said to me that the difference between the UK and the US is if you meet someone in London and they say “I’m making a film” it means they’ve had a drink down groucho and talked a lot of bollocks and got an idea, whereas if you meet someone in America, around LA, and they say they’re going to start making a film, it means they’ve got a finance plan, a budget, a distributor and some cast, and they’re probably actually going to make a film.

And that’s really resonated with me over the last decade or so, because it’s true. The industry in this country is kind of a joke.

Darren: Is there anything that you think could actually change that in this industry?

Jonathan: I think we should encourage people to make commercial movies that people actually want to see, rather than all this naval gazing woke nonsense that they made to glorify their own egos.

Darren: That again fits in with what my experience was at film school, because I was trying to go down the commercial route, I was making an action movie, when everybody else in film school was going down the Jean-Luc Goddard route and all the other sort of crap. I was being told by my film lecturer orc “the spoofs have got a stop”.

Where if I’d known at the time, there was a guy I’d met years earlier on “Beadle’s Hot Shots”, the Jeremy Beadle show where people would send in spoofs. This guy who offered me advice and wanted to work with me turned out to be bloody Edgar Wright, and I walked away from him before film school, wasted my time in film school, and then ended up as a bloody web designer, when all the time I had Edgar Wright in front of me wanting to wanting to work with me, so that was a disaster, but thank you film school for that one!

So, how did you get your first break actually producing a film?

Jonathan: That is all down to Mr Kemp. I met Martin, I got a script together for a movie I wanted to make and sent it to him through his agent. I went and met him and his agent at his agent’s office, and Matin and I just clicked, we just became instant friends, which is one of those lovely serendipitous things that happens from time to time.

The film didn’t come together, but martin and I became friends out of it, which was fantastic, and when the movie fell apart I thought “f*ck this, I’m done, at 24, I pissed off Martin Kemp, I’m never going to work again”. But he rang me up and he said “listen, it happens all the time, don’t worry about it, let’s have lunch and talk about what we’re going to do next”.

So we did, I’ll never forget that. Films always fall apart, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, if the budget is 10 grand or 100 million, they fall apart and they get put back together again. You know, the average film takes 10 years to develop apparently, it’s a crazy, wild business, but that gave me a lot of faith in myself again. We met and he said that he wanted to direct, and we agreed to make a short form.

So I produced it, he directed it, and he twisted his brother’s arm to play the lead, and we made this this 20-minute short film, and off the back of that I managed to raise 50 grand to make a feature film that Martin also directed called “Stalker”, which was a sort of B movie thriller. I’m really proud of you know, it didn’t set the world on fire, it should have done better than it did to be honest, but that’s the first lesson, that horror is really bloody hard, because you have to stand out from the biggest crowd. It was sold as a horror movie even though it was more of a sort of psycho thriller.

Martin has been a mainstay of my life for the last sort of 15 years and has always opened doors for me and allowed me at a time when I was completely unknown to use his name to open doors that would otherwise have been closed. I’m always very grateful for that and off the back of that, once you’ve made one film, it does get easier for sure – it’s getting that first one made.

I’m glad I didn’t waste time with years and years of shorts, because I think they’re mostly a waste of time. There are people who spend their whole lives making short films, and I just always think that’s because they can’t make a feature. Off the back of that, I then met Danny Dyer, and I had no idea who he was when I met. I actually met him in a nightclub with Tamar Hassan, and they were making a lot of movies together.

I went back to people over the next few days going “so I met this chap Danny Dyer, he’s a famous actor”, and they were like “oh my god, if you can get him in a movie, you can get it away!” And this was around 2008-2009, he’d done Outlaw, and I liked him, we got on and he became an asset for sure. I did a couple of movies with him, and started building this kind of rep company of British actors very quickly. Really, really amazing actors.

I made this terrible comedy in 2009 called “Just for the Record”, which was a spoof of the film industry, and the cast is Danny Dyer, Craig Fairbrass, Billy Murray and Rik f*cking Mayall! All these amazing actors who came and did a couple of days in it. It was a rubbish film, but no one else was making movies, and actors like to act, and that’s the thing.

I suppose really from 2009 to 2012 I kind of bumbled along making loads of movies, people always used to say are “you the most prolific producer in Britain”. There’s nothing to be proud of about being prolific, that just means you’re maybe not as choosy as you could have been.

There was a football hooligan movie called “White Collar Hooligan”, which was a decent movie, a first break for Nick Nevern, who I think is a very talented lad, and who I’ve done a lot of movies with. There was one called “Airborne”, with Mark Hamill, funnily enough, and that was a real lovely moment coming from the Star Wars trigger point to working with him, and we went to the restaurant where Alec Guinness took him when they were doing Star Wars wheelers, which is no longer there, and he was lovely, absolutely joyous, and that’s a real highlight.

But none of these films broke out – White Collar Hooligan did all right, but none of them were really successful. It’s a horrible thing when you’re a filmmaker, or an actor, or any other sort of creative person in the public eye, as there’s always that dreadful moment when you either get a taxi or go to a dinner party and they say “what do you do” and you say “film producer”, and they ask “what have you done that I’ve seen”. And you go, “well I did that”, and they’ve never heard of it, which just makes you feel sh*t all night, which is tough.

I guess really you don’t learn to make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Eventually, Dyer and I were both sort of fed up I guess in 2012, and he said “I just want to do one really good film, if I can’t do it then I’ll join EastEnders”. That was essentially how the conversation went, and we made this film called “Vendetta”. It was phenomenally successful on DVD in this country, I mean the number one movie on DVD that year, and there was a time when you couldn’t move for it.

I remember I was having dinner with a distributor the day it came out, and my phone was buzzing and buzzing and buzzing. It was late at night, like 10 o’clock, and people just rang me to tell me it was being reviewed on Film 2013, which was an unusual thing for. They gave a good review as well, so that was remarkable.

So we made that, and then I had a nice little golden period of making films for Anchor Bay, as Anchor Bay ends up distributing that movie in the UK. At the time, they were owned by Starz, and I made a film for them called “We Still Kill the Old Way”, which was a movie about retired gangsters coming out of retirement to clean up the streets. I had a slightly genius bit of luck in casting Ian Ogilvy. And that’s finally the film that taxi drivers have all seen, so finally I’m at the point where they say “oh yeah, that’s great!”

So the answer to how that all happened is simply luck and determination, there’s no special talent to it. If you can’t get through the front door, go through the back door, that’s how I see it.

Darren: I remember having a conversation with you a few years ago because you were obviously very prolific in the horror industry, and then you switched across to action, and I remember you gave me a very specific reason about why you were no longer doing horror. Can you remember what that was?

Jonathan: No, but I tell a lot of lies, so it could be anything really! I love horror movies, I think they’re great fun, and at one point I was actually director of programming for the horror channel, but it’s an incredibly competitive market, massively oversaturated, and I think ultimately, you have to follow a commercial instinct rather than your own. You have to make the films that people want to see, not the films that you want to make – and that’s ultimately why I switched from making horror movies to gangster movies.

I have no interest in British gangster movies at all, the really good ones, you can count on one hand. It’s not me in any way shape or form. I like action movies, that’s what I love and that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve managed to blend the two, as there’s a massive public demand for them, and I really like them. But no, sorry, what was that what extravagant lie?

Darren: That was pretty much exactly what you said. It was about the over saturation of the horror industry and the fact that horror movies sadly don’t really make the money they should in the cinema or on our own home release. Action is where it’s at.

Jonathan: Yeah, I think the biggest problem with the horror movies as well is because horror isn’t cast dependent – you know, you don’t go and see a horror movie because who’s in it – so the problem is when the genre shifts from theatrical to home, in which it has, it stands or falls on the poster. And when someone normally buys a DVD or flicks through Netflix, you know if it’s a proper film by whether it’s got proper actors in it, but if it’s just got one of these rendered silly 3D monsters with one eye on the front, it’s impossible to tell if it costs one pound or a million pounds, and people get fed up. So you have to stand out, and the way you stand out is to spend more money and become a bigger movie.

Darren: You’ve mentioned action, obviously you’re a huge action fan, and we’ve talked many years ago at great length about Steven Seagal, because you are a massive Seagal fan and I am a massive Seagal fan. You mentioned to me a few weeks ago that you had the pleasure of actually writing a script with him over lockdown, what was that like?

Jonathan: It’s fantastic! Steven is a lovely, incredibly intelligent man. He’s amazing, what more fun could I have had over lockdown than sitting on Zoom with him for hours on end talking about movies and all that kind of stuff? He knows as well that he’s made a lot of sh*t in the last 10 years, he’s totally up front about that. He’s very frustrated by not having had much creative control. I mean, if you know if you look at those first dozen movies that he did, his name was all over them because he was clearly heavily involved in them creatively. Then he fell into that trap of making those endless DTV things in eastern Europe. You know, there’s only so much you can do when the filmmakers don’t care, it takes more than one person to influence it, and one of the things I found in action – and obviously there are a lot of exceptions to this – is a huge amount of people make action movies now as a stepping stone to something else they want to get that feature credit.

They want to get that feature credit with a budget they want to work with a certain actor and then they want to go and make a show for Netflix or they want to make their passion for whatever it is, I’m not like that. I said to Steven “if I could make Steven Seagal movies for the next 10 years, I’d be really happy”. We got really close, and for me, that door is really open.

He is a controversial figure in the industry, but it’s not for me to comment on his past because I don’t know about that, and he’s only ever been very kind to me and very nice to me. I enjoyed my time with him.

Darren: My youngest met him a couple of years ago at a Comic Con in London, and I missed the opportunity unfortunately. I’m really gutted about that! It’s because of the way they did the queuing system, so gutted. So I’m insanely jealous of the fact that you’ve got so much time with him.

Jonathan: Yeah, he’s a legend, and ”Out for Justice” is one of my absolute favorite movies – seriously seriously, underrated movie – and William Forsyth is very much on my radar. We all have these casting lists that go up and down and change around, but he’s always on mine. I’d very much like to work with him.

Darren: Yeah, it’s got brutal action.

Jonathan: It really does, and I’ll probably get in trouble saying this, but my wife and I showed it to our 10-year-old son a couple of weeks ago and he f*cking loved it! He just runs around the house saying “anybody seen Ritchie?”, which is awesome, so the next generation is inspired.

Darren: Can I ask you what is the process for people who are trying to get into the film industry, or people who are writers, directors, what is the process that you would advise people do to get a film made and to get into the right people?

Jonathan: It’s so hard, and it depends on the type of movie. I never had online crowdfunding, and that does seem to be something that people can raise a lot of money on. I would never do it because obviously as a professional I think it’s quite insulting to ask people to fund your own vanity if you can’t get it funded otherwise, but for people coming in, that seems to be the way.

To be honest with you, if you can find a little collaborative group of people you know, it’s easy enough to get the equipment now. Everything’s digital, there’s no cost to making a film apart from people’s time, and that’s what I think is good.

All I can say if people are doing a more serious level, the lesson I’ve learned is just use the best actors. Never, ever use non-actors. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am that Gemma Collins is doing Chicago in the West End! I mean, that just makes me want to drive down there with a big bag of sh*t and throw it, because it’s just disgusting, you know? How dare they do that to theatres. Even worse, there’s a real actors, but everyone thinks “I’ll get some silly idiot off a reality show and put them in my film and that will make it all happen”.

No, it won’t! Get good actors, give performances, tell good stories. Don’t buy into all this social media sh*t because that’s exactly what it is.

Darren: I do remember from my time in film school whenever we had to use professional actors for a project, it massively elevated it, rather than trying to have students do it themselves.

Jonathan: Yeah, I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice, I’m not Stephen Spielberg, but I think you just got to try and do the very best that you can, and if you have a good story to tell and you can write it down or film it or whatever it is, it will find an audience. There’s no excuse anymore, no one’s getting a theatrical release, it’s not for us and it’s not for new filmmakers.

Get it made, put in a festival, and people will see it.

Darren: Speaking of actors, so you you’ve mentioned some names already, some fabulous people you’ve worked with. What is it like working with people like Danny Dyer, what’s he like on it on a daily basis on set?

Jonathan: He’s great, a real professional. He’s obviously been doing EastEnders for the last 10 years. He was very unsure of himself, he used to take the critics very personally, and you know, they used to hate him and rip him to pieces for nothing, as he’s a good actor.

Darren: One of the other guys you’ve worked with who I’m a huge fan of is Danny Trejo.

Jonathan: Yeah, I don’t have a lot of stories about Trejo because it was shot in America during the pandemics and I wasn’t there. All I can say is he’s lovely in the film, my new film “Renegades”. He was a joy to deal with. But I don’t have any amazing anecdotes because I wasn’t actually there!

It does happen sometimes. The film I did before that, starred Julian Glover from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, “James Bond” and all that. It was our third movie together but I’d never met him on the other two, I just hadn’t been there on the days he was. So it was nice to actually to finally meet him, and he was fantastic.

When I was a kid, I loved Indiana Jones, Star Wars, James Bond, and he was in all of those and so much more. One of the things I’m really, really lucky to do, is that when I’m casting these movies – I do all myself, I don’t believe in casting directions, I think they’re a total waste of time in my type of films – is that I get to sort of play with all these toys you know, literally from my childhood. People that I used to love watching as a film buff, I can now employ and get them to tell my stories, and it’s you know it’s such an honor.

Darren: One actor you have worked a lot with and also was on “The Bill”, and I know he’s a good friend of yours, is somebody that it was announced – just last week I think it was – is not well at all. What experiences did you have of working with Chris?

Jonathan: Oh it’s a horrible, horrible thing with Chris, it’s heartbreaking. We’ve known him for years, done several movies together, and the hardest thing about this for me personally, beyond loving him to death, is every day almost, someone on social media says “when are you doing the third “We Still Kill the Old Way” film?” I could never say why, and people want to know of course, and for me, he was such an integral part of it, I would never do one without him. Just because someone’s famous it doesn’t mean they’re having an easy life.

Darren: On a more positive note, you have a new film coming out. What can you tell us about that?

Jonathan: So “Renegades” is about a group of former special forces soldiers who meet up in a bar that one of them owns every couple of weeks and talk, like a support group for their PTSD. It stars Ogilvy, Billy Murray, Nick Moran, Paul Barber and Lee Majors. Lee’s daughter, played by Patsy Kensit, is having some trouble with her local gang. She’s a councillor, and he goes around to warn them off, and they murder him and throw his body in a canal. His ex-SAS buddies decide to take revenge and take the law into their own hands, dispense their own brand of justice on the mean streets of London. So that’s what they do in a great, fun style. It’s by far the best movie I’ve made, it’s most ambitious. Danny Trejo is their sort of informant, if you like, the guy who pulls all the strings and makes things happen for them, and sort of controller. We have Michael Paray in it, Lewis Mandela plays the villain, who’s a fantastic Australian actor. My wife plays the detective who’s investigating it, and who slowly kind of begins to realise that they’re doing the right thing and she should sort of step away a bit.

There’s not one weak link in it. You make movies and there’s always someone who lets you down, but everyone in this is absolutely firing on all cylinders, and I think it’s going to be a real crowd pleaser.

Darren: You visibly lit up when you were talking, so you can see how much passion you’ve got for this film and how much you genuinely believe it’s the best thing you’ve done because your face just said it all.

Jonathan: I’m really, really happy with it. Unfortunately, it’s not going to come out for a while. It’s coming out in America first I think in June, then it will come out towards the end of the year here. It’s an American-facing film although it’s set in London, so it’s got this really international kind of vibe to it.

Darren: As well, you you’ve obviously recently published a book.

Jonathan: Yeah, it was one of the things that kept me busy in lockdown. and Steven Seagal I met a publisher and they said to me would you like to write a book about how to make indie films and I said not really, because you know who want my advice? And he asked what I’d like to write about, and I said “shirts, suits, watches, all the things I actually like”. I explained that there’s this amazing street in London called Jermyn Street that’s just men’s shirt shops and I love it. It was a lot of fun, I’ve always enjoyed wearing tailored clothes. I suppose it’s a quirk really, or an eccentricity, which is very strange to me because I expect everyone to be the same, but they’re not. My wife appreciates it, so that’s kind of all I care about!

Darren: Well it makes you stand out, it’s like it’s your own brand isn’t it?

Jonathan: I guess it is, I never thought of it that way.

Darren: Are there any actors that you haven’t worked with that you would like to, even ones that you would no longer have the opportunity to?

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. Timothy Dalton is very much on my list, and I got really close to getting him in a movie a couple of years ago, really, really close. It didn’t happen unfortunately, but I met him a couple of years ago. I’d love to work with Pierce Brosnan, I think he’s a terrific actor. I’d love to work with Michael Caine, but I think that moment’s probably passed. My number one is Stallone, I’d absolutely love to work with Stallone, and Siegel is totally up there. John Sim I think is a fantastic actor, I love him to death. I’ve done a film with his wife, she’s a friend of mine, and they’re both terrific people. Michael Joe White, I really want to do a movie with him, we’re pretty close to getting that done. I’d love to do something with Sharon Stone, I think that would be really, really cool.

I love working with older actors. Everyone wants to work with young people, and it’s great, but it’s really nice to look at the people that have achieved so much and maybe aren’t doing as much as they could or should be. I don’t include any of the people I’ve just mentioned in that, but you know, the list of actors that I’m want to work with is endless but they’re mostly ones who had an impact on me.

Darren: Is there any type of film that you would like to make that you haven’t done yet?

Jonathan: Yes, a really successful one! Haha.

Darren: Well, that’s obviously going to be your next one!

Jonathan: I think so. It’s a challenge, I look at our slate of the things we’re developing, and we have a lot of traditional action movies. The next two are very traditional actual movies. Then we’re developing a proper full-on ninja movie, and it’s been written by this brilliant writer in America called Chad Law who I absolutely love working with. We’ve also got a shark movie in development – I can only do it if it’s good, I can’t be making a sh*t shark movie! No one’s ever going to make “Jaws” but we’ve tried to make it.

Darren: Have you got a director on for that yet?

Jonathan: I have, yes.

Darren: Ah, because obviously we both know Phil Claydon, who I interviewed the other day. He is a huge “Jaws” fan.

Jonathan: He is, I’m actually looking at something with him as well, preferably action horror that’s the stuff. This sort of 15 years of making these movies and I want to make as many of them as I can in that time, work with as many great people and make movies that people will really enjoy. That’s one of the rewards of this, is that people, when they’re good, people really like them, and it’s lovely.

Darren: Is that your plan – 15 years and then you’re going to retire?

Jonathan: Yes, unless one of them is really successful, in which case it will be much quicker!

Darren: Yeah, it could be in three months it could be a three years!

I mentioned to a few people that I was going to be interviewing you on a podcast, and I mentioned I was going to be interviewing Phil too, the director of “Lesbian Vampire Killers”, and I was immediately inundated with people saying “Oh, I’d love to get somebody involved in the film industry”. You must get that all the time, get people sending you unsolicited scripts and compositions for music they’ve done. What’s your advice to people like that, do you respond to that? Does anybody have a chance?

Jonathan: It depends what it is. Absolutely, I read everything, that’s all you have to do. After all these years on social media I don’t have to be any more open, but all I would say is target the right person, because the amount of people that send me samples of sh*t music or send me pages that are like gay western set on the moon and stuff like this, and it’s like, “guys, why do you think I’m the person to send it to?”

I know most people just blast it all out to a thousand people, but take the care when you’re writing to someone asking to read your stuff to get their name right and have some vague notion that they actually might genuinely be interested in it.

I always say to people “send me a page and I’ll tell you if I want to read the script or if we’ve got something too similar”.

Darren: To save people contacting you via all different types of media that you don’t want, is there a preferred method for people to get in touch with you?

Jonathan: Yeah, just through our website, send a message through there.

Darren: Thank you very much Jonathan, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you!

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