Fiction & Drama

Friday Five: James Gandhi, Head of Drama Development at Studio Lambert


This week’s #FridayFive is answered by Studio Lambert’s James Gandhi:

Tell us a bit about your job?

I’m Head of Drama Development at Studio Lambert so look after the scripted development slate. It’s a mix of finding new ideas from books, articles and anything in between, and developing scripts with brilliant writers! Lots of reading and working with people who are much more talented than I am, then seeing them through into production and onto screen.

What are the key ingredients for success?

I think it’s all about getting on with the job at hand and not procrastinating. Really working hard and putting in the hours with a constant desire to learn more and improve. Just being yourself goes a really long way too. Surround yourself with people who you admire, who are better than you, and who you genuinely like working with.

Describe a normal day?

There’s no such thing! But that’s one of the great things about this industry. For me, often it involves meeting writers we’re working with, meeting commissioners and pitching new projects, meeting agents and meeting new writers. Loads of meetings! And then reading books and scripts and watching plays and cuts of shows we’re producing. I’m not so good at ‘switching off’ and have been told so by colleagues and friends, but I always try and go for a run without my phone in the mornings to relax.

For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?

A lot of perseverance! I tried to meet all of the companies who made shows I liked, did lots of book and script reading and watched as much TV and film as possible. Then it’s really about mucking in and being will to help out wherever necessary. You have to seize every opportunity that comes your way.

What are you reading and watching now?

Succession is the best thing on TV. The writing on that show is mind-blowing. I’m also really enjoying Dublin Murders on BBC One – Sarah Phelps is a genius. And I’m currently reading lots of manuscripts that are coming in after the Frankfurt Book Fair! None of which I can talk about, of course. I try and squeeze in time to read for pleasure, but that’s proving tricky at the moment.

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