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Discover Martin & Lucky Strike: Their evolution over the years and thoughts on GPN

Lucky Strike Productions, based in London, has been part of the GPN family since the beginning. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with our long-time companion Martin Bruce-Clayton and discussing film and the industry with him.


From Freelance Scout to Production Powerhouse: Martin's Evolution in the UK Film Industry

For many years Martin was a freelance location scout in the UK- this was back in the 80’s when the film industry and means of communication were very different (the internet was not even a “thing” yet). He made many worldwide connections through scouting which led to clients abroad asking for more and more services in the UK. Using his connections and experience in film, he started a production service company called First City in 1989.

Martin began First City with David Kelly, a location manager at the time, due to a response to the growing number of inquiries they were receiving from international production companies, who not only wanted locations but needed production support as well. At the time, their options were limited to engaging local freelance producers and production managers, who were perfectly capable as far as production expertise goes. However, they didn’t have the necessary company infrastructure to take care of insurance, the ability to reclaim VAT so that the client wasn’t charged for that, accounts with equipment, transport, props and wardrobe houses, banking facilities, and the many other essentials that a service company, as opposed to an individual, can offer incoming productions. So they saw the opportunity and First City was born.

First City was a very successful company, and they branched out into developing and making their own feature films, very often developed with profits made from the blooming production service side. The company stopped trading in 2001 because David wanted to concentrate exclusively on the feature film side of things, whilst Martin preferred to concentrate on service. They parted very amicably, and Lucky Strike was then founded with Phil Haselden in 2002.

22 Years of Excellence: Lucky Strike's Journey in Commercial Filmmaking

The two have been producing together for 22 years and counting. Lucky Strike was formed specifically with the idea of concentrating mainly (but not exclusively) on commercial work, which accounts for 75% of their work.

They are primarily known as a live-action company, rather than doing studio shoots- although they do those as well. They also do quite a lot of industrial film corporate work, but most of their work is commercial-based. This has worked out well for them. During Covid, they had a big job for a large American company that was working with the developer of Cool Riot games who normally did live-action events but were unable to. Lucky Strike shot a live-action commercial for them in the north of England that ended up being one of their largest productions.

As a company, Lucky Strike’s most important values are to build trust with their clients and to deliver production excellence. Martin has seen and understood that trust is built slowly and bit by bit. “It happens in the small things rather than in one or two big things,” says Martin. He stresses the importance of creating a collaborative atmosphere with clients so that the work flows easily. Lucky Strike gives their very best to every single production that they on and will continue to do so as this is one of the foundational bricks to their company.

This ties into GPN’s own philosophy of being a value-driven company and is very much what Martin loves about GPN. He knows that the GPN network is a global “club” of over 60 countries and every member has a solid reputation of professionalism and trust. This is key for working on international productions in countries that one has not worked in before.

Unlocking Global Opportunities: The Power of GPN and Lucky Strike Partnership

“There have been many occasions in the past where I've been contacted by international clients, in the United States or Australia, for example, and they just want information. General information about maybe talent in Amsterdam or Barcelona, and it means that somebody at Lucky Strike, if not myself, one of my colleagues, can immediately get in touch with a representative country in those countries and get access to information very, very quickly. And as I said, accurate information. That's the most important thing,” says Martin.

“There are many benefits to being a GPN partner, but probably the most significant is that is a highly valuable resource for international producers. Representing over sixty countries means that a producer who is looking for realistic, and perhaps not previously considered ideas about where to shoot a production, can be immediately put in touch with GPN representatives, and ask them for bids, location reference, talent information, weather conditions etc, and whatever else may be required. With one call or e-mail, and within twenty-four hours, often less, the producer has more than enough clear and professionally presented information to make reliable comparisons and informed choices. This is of real value in an industry where both timelines and budgets are growing increasingly tight.

The other great benefit for a GPN partner is the ability to quickly share information with other members around the world – sourcing a very particular piece of equipment, visa requirements, current trends in other member countries, political considerations, and the like, all of which would take a great deal of time to research for oneself without being part of the GPN network. It’s like being member of a rather exclusive club without the outrageously expensive membership fees.”

Shaping the Future Together: Martin's Vision for Lucky Strike and GPN

Martin met Harry in 2000, before GPN was started, and the two got along well and remained in contact. When Harry started GPN, Martin was one of the first people he reached out to join the network. Martin has seen GPN grow enormously since its inception and he sees this as a benefit. With more countries in the network, that have been vetted by both Harry and Julia, he knows that there is a solid level of professionalism and trust. This makes working internationally even easier. In essence, “It’s joint marketing for everyone in the network. It’s one identity as far as potential clients are concerned,” reflects Martin.

For Martin, “GPN is a professional family of like-minded professionals.” Having been a part of the family for over twenty years, he has been with us through the changes and growth and feels that Harry and Julia together make a great double act. He’s looking forward to the future, to what the network can create together, and to continuing to uphold the virtues that make up both Lucky Strike and GPN.

Unveiling the United Kingdom as Your Ultimate Filming Destination

Are you considering the UK as the backdrop for your next film or campaign? Here’s why it should be at the top of your list:

When pitching the UK to production companies, it's essential to highlight its diverse range of offerings. From the largest talent pool in Europe, encompassing a variety of ethnicities, to highly experienced casting and crew members, the UK sets the stage for success. Renowned for its production designers and special effects experts, it provides unparalleled expertise. Additionally, the UK boasts a vast array of locations, each with unique seasonal differences, ensuring versatility for any production.

The UK is a treasure trove of diverse landscapes and architectural wonders. From the historical richness of London to the majestic Highlands and Islands of Scotland, from the industrial charm of Northern Towns to the picturesque fishing villages of Cornwall, there's a backdrop for every narrative. The Lake District offers breathtaking lakes and mountains, while castles and stately homes provide a touch of grandeur. Modern architecture enthusiasts will find striking designs across the country.

Climate Considerations

With shoots happening year-round, the UK accommodates diverse production schedules. Each season brings its own atmosphere, catering to various creative needs. Whether it's the cozy winters, blossoming springs, vibrant summers, or scenic autumns, the UK offers a spectrum of settings.

Work Permits and Visas

For most projects, no specific work permits or visas are required. However, long-form studio projects may necessitate work visas, with requirements varying based on nationality. Detailed information can be found through official channels.

Infrastructure Support

The UK's robust infrastructure has long supported large-scale productions. Access to high-level cameras, equipment, casting, crews, and studios is readily available. With a wealth of hotels, hospitality options, and transportation networks, logistical support is seamless.

Successful Productions in the UK

Over its twenty-two years of operation, Lucky Strike has overseen numerous successful productions, spanning commercials, feature films, gaming projects, and experiential endeavors. Specializing in celebrity-driven projects, Lucky Strike has been a key player in shaping the UK's reputation as a premier filming destination.

With a rich history of innovation and collaboration, Lucky Strike Productions continues to shine as a beacon of excellence in the film industry. Here's to many more years of partnership and groundbreaking productions with GPN and beyond.

Learn more about shooting with LUCKY STRIKE PRODUCTIONS in United Kingdom