Ken Julian is a Film and TV Producer, Director, Production Executive, and entrepreneur. He has worked on a wide range of films, including award-winning features such as ‘Kiss Kiss,’ ‘Shanghai Surprise,’ and ‘The Unbearable Lightness Of Being.’ Ken has been involved in filmmaking since the 1970s and has seen many changes over the decades. We sat down with him to discuss the transition from the days of celluloid to our current digital world and explored how filmmakers can gain recognition.
Ken Julian started his career as a production assistant on films like ‘Tess’ and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman.’ He then became a Production Manager on ‘Brimstone And Treacle’ (for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award) before becoming a Producer. In the 1980’s he produced films like ‘The Appointment,’ ‘Terror Australis’ and ‘Micki & Maude.’
So why are you a producer?
“It was a happy accident, really. I was working as an assistant director at Elstree Studios on films like ‘Alien’ when film producers were in short supply with plenty of available work.”
“I was asked to do a job as a producer, and I did it, then it just kind of stuck, and I enjoyed it. At the time, there were a lot more directors than producers, so producers got paid much better!”
When did you first begin making films?
“I started in the film industry as a location scout on television shows like ‘Z Cars,’ and then I moved into working with the BBC Film department to work on several film productions including ‘Quatermass And the Pit’ and ‘The Land That Time Forgot.’
“I was first production manager on ‘Brimstone & Treacle’, which won best British screenplay at Cannes. I then moved to America and made movies such as ‘The Appointment’ with Jane Merrow and Edward Woodward and ‘Micki & Maude’, which starred Debbie Reynolds.”
How has the industry changed since then?
“I have been in the film industry since 1973, and it has changed dramatically. However, the only part of the process that is still done the same way is editing, although even that is going digital now.
Where do you think the future of filmmaking lies?
“You have to remember that the world we are living in today didn’t exist when most of the classic movies were made. For example, ‘Psycho’ was made in 1960 and would have been shown on a cinema screen instead of being watched at home like today.
“As for what is coming next, who knows? Nobody thought that people would be watching films on computer screens, but they are now.”
How can someone get started in the film industry?
“If you are serious about it, I’d recommend getting into a film course at University. It doesn’t have to be a career in filmmaking, but the skills and knowledge will help when you get asked to do various jobs on set.
Did you study at University?
“I did my A levels then went to Middlesex Polytechnic, now Middlesex University. I did a degree in Cinema Studies and English Literature.”