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LA Productions was set up 20 years ago with the aim of providing opportunities and training to people at all industry grades – and it is still doing just that


I recently came across an old photograph of when my company, LA Productions, was in its infancy. As you can see on the picture left, the caption read ‘Putting something back’. Well, that was the intent – to create opportunities and training in fundamentally every aspect of film and television grades.

In reading this, you might think this is the sort of egotistical spin a lot of self-serving producers come out with when they’re engaged in blowing their own trumpet. Very simply, this isn’t the case.

I started my career as a Granada trainee, and this year marks a landmark 50 years since that inaugural time. Back then, we were put on a training programme as production trainees to accomplish a very well-designed module in every single department.

Of course, I did not know it at the time but it was a precursor to accumulate all the best in-depth knowledge I believe all top producers should acquire. It has been our raison d’etre to put back into the industry the benefits of what I was afforded on that comprehensive training programme 50 years ago.

The photograph inspired me to commission another one in the same place 20 years later, similar to The Beatles recreating their iconic image for the Get Back album. In that 20 years, we have had three international Emmy nominations, we have won two Baftas, a Prix Europa and a Rose of Montreux, as well as celebrating numerous Bafta nominations.

There’s an industry joke that states “you win any more awards and you’ll need a bigger cabinet”. Ironically, when stacking up the national and regional RTS awards, we had to do just that. All this from our own production and postproduction base in sunny downtown Kirkdale in Liverpool.

Colin McKeown

Colin McKeown

Awards are great. However, what’s more rewarding is to give opportunities to the people in the industry – particularly in areas where there is a scarcity of grades like female directors and, in general, new writers and new film-makers of every single grade. A huge assist to plug that gap was the 65 episodes of BBC1 anthology series Moving On, which enabled so many people to get their first break.

LA Productions has now branched out to include the additional arm of LA Factual. Last year, we won Best Factual Series at the RTS North West Awards for the BBC1 series Nail Bar Boys, having previously sold our first documentary, The Cavern Club: The Beat Goes On, to Sky Arts and produced jazz documentary Jazz UK: Spitting Fire for BBC1.

Last year, we produced two broadcast drama series: four-part thriller Compulsion for Channel 5/Paramount and primetime drama Granite Harbour, set in Aberdeen, for BBC1. This year also holds much promise as we’ve enhanced our development team and development slate. We have numerous projects covering a spectrum of dramas from low to medium and high-end, along with a burgeoning factual slate.

“There is nothing more satisfying than creating opportunities and seeing talent grasp them”
Colin McKeown, founder, LA Productions

What’s important to all of us here at LA Productions is to maintain the ethos of creating opportunity, nurturing talent and competing at every level. So all of our staff, from the newcomers (of which we took on two more this week) to the older hands all have goals to aim for. There is nothing more satisfying than creating opportunities and seeing the talent grasp them.

For our part, we’ve challenged a whole generation of new film-makers and old film-makers that wanted to change direction, as well as helping experienced film-makers develop their talent and share their knowledge.

From here in downtown Kirkdale, we have a spring in our step and a smile on our face that we are continually achieving our goal with the same perseverance we had more than 20 years ago.

  • Colin McKeown is the founder of LA Productions

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LA Productions
Tel: 0151 933 8282