CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE; Her future is rosy, but will RSA thrive without Godman?

It is very sad that the 13-year partnership between Jo Godman and Ridley and Tony Scott has come to an end (Campaign, last week). To the outside world, RSA Films has seemed a blueprint for the successful production company - the Scotts bringing enough film-makerly aura to attract serious talent, and Godman building the company and running it with scrupulous honesty, professionalism and dedication.

It is very sad that the 13-year partnership between Jo Godman and Ridley

and Tony Scott has come to an end (Campaign, last week). To the outside

world, RSA Films has seemed a blueprint for the successful production

company - the Scotts bringing enough film-makerly aura to attract

serious talent, and Godman building the company and running it with

scrupulous honesty, professionalism and dedication.



Things are rarely as simple as that, of course, and it seems that Godman

feels she would like to give something else a try. The commonest

explanation I have heard so far is that Godman’s relationship with the

Scotts suffered because Jake Scott (with Luke, one of Ridley Scott’s two

directing sons at RSA) tried to extricate himself from an agency

contract in favour of a more attractive script. No agency should have to

put up with that and Godman fired Jake, only reinstating him when the

brothers intervened.



But that was just one incident. Godman and the Scotts worked

harmoniously together for years. The company has made serious money and

the atmosphere, on thewhole, has been excellent. What Godman may have

disliked was the fact that she was working for largely absent film-

makers whose ambitions seem to lie in building their features empire,

dubbed Scott Free. The Scotts are already partners in Shepperton Studios

and, in April, they joined forces with the Mill to create a new digital

special effects company. Commercials production, whether through RSA in

London or its offices in Los Angeles and New York, is merely one of

their corporate interests.



Now it is Godman’s turn to build her own empire and few doubt that she

will succeed. Word is that she has a producer partner in mind and that

she will be in business by January 1997. Agencies will be lining up to

be her first client. For many heads of TV, Godman is RSA, and few

understand the London market as thoroughly.



The big questions are how many RSA directors will follow her and how

binding are their contracts with RSA? Will Vaughan Arnell, her most

recent signing, stay or go? Some directors will stay put for the same

reason they joined - to capitalise on the Scotts’ feature film

connections - but few doubt that Godman has the pulling power to attract

star names, whether from RSA or elsewhere.



Further evidence of Godman’s reputation comes from the fact that she is

being replaced by two of the best producers in town: Adrian Harrison, a

long-established producer at RSA, and Paul Rothwell, the top producer at

Paul Weiland. They will probably do a good job, not least because they

have been mates since university, but then they have a tough act to

follow.



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