What Inspires Me: Ali Bulley
13 Jul 2015
Ali is Junction Eleven's producer and fix-it queen. She organises us all and can solve pretty much any production problem, all whilst managing our extremely complex studio diary. But what made Ali want to become a producer? An amazing ability to multitask or an episode of Poirot?
What’s your background? How did you train for this job?
After gaining a Graphics degree from Bristol University I started out my career as an Art buyer within McCann Erickson Bristol, liaising with the creatives and print buyers. Before long I started producing their TV and radio ads, so had my first taste of Production here.
I then made the big decision to move to Australia, where I did the same at JWT before leaving to train as a Production Assistant for TV commercials at HAT Productions and later at Independent films. Here I partnered up with a busy director called Paul Middleditch, and became his full time PM. He broke away with fellow Producer Pete Masterton to open their own production company, Plaza films, with whom I stayed for the remaining 5 out of the 7 years I was in OZ.
On arrival back in the UK I worked at the BBC on Dragons Den, looking after the legalities and travel arrangements for the Dragons and entrepreneurs.
What inspired you?
When I was younger an episode of Inspector Poirot was shot in our family home. It was inspector Chap’s house. The transformation of the house, the crew and the alterations to make our street a 1950’s style blew my mind! Straight away I know that’s what I wanted to do.
What made you want to work as a producer?
The enjoyment of being at the centre of everything…being nosy!! I guess I didn’t really know what a Producer did initially, but my interests and background to each job pushed me this way. It was either this or become an interior designer!!
What is the hardest thing to resolve when organising a location shoot?
Managing the creative expectations to the budget and time you may have to source the specific elements they require is the biggest task of any shoot production.
When you then go out on location, the environment logistics each need considering and checking off. Whether that's obtaining permits, permissions or approvals, co-ordinating a road closure or just looking after the crew when out on the road, each has to be worked through and checked off before we can confidently send a crew out, and then use the resulting images without any concerns about usage.
But it is always negotiating the best rates and planning the timings that present the biggest challenges. But one I am not afraid of, I relish the challenge and often find myself negotiating when I am buying things for myself!
What location project are you most proud of?
Probably a recent Chivas Regal location shoot as it was the most challenging, with multiple locations to be sourced, all of which needed to be high end with the look that they could be located in Hong Kong - Asian models, classy wardrobe, and night shoots to boot! So by way of using all my skill sets, this one ticked all the boxes.
How do you relax?
Lots of socialising with my friends, and family, but with a 6 and a 3 year old, there isn’t much relaxing to be had!!
What are you working on now?
The summer is normally the time when there are lots of location shoots but for us, there’s also plenty going on in studio at the moment.
This is keeping me on my toes with all the weird and wonderful requests we get!