John Archer, Hopscotch Films CEO | Cultural Enterprise Office

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John Archer, Hopscotch Films

John Archer is producer at Hopscotch Films and a creative leader in film and television production.

Formerly head of of Music and Arts at BBC Scotland and founding Chief Executive of Scottish Screen, John has successfully set up and nutured new talent and projects across a broad arrays of genres and styles. Among his productions since joining Hopscotch Films are Writing Scotland, ONELife: Detox or Die and his series with director Mark Cousins; Cinema Iran, and The Story of Film; An Odyssey.

What is your name?

John Archer

Describe briefly what you do or your business does?

Hopscotch makes broadcast documentaries, feature documentaries and drama.

What has been your business journey?

Launched assuming that commissions would flow in, having made hundreds of hours from within the BBC. Then discovered it was year zero. Since then gradual growth with step change through particular commissions such as the series Writing Scotland and the international success The Story of Film. When things were difficult ten years ago we decided to focus on what we like rather than trying to fit into industry norms. Business boomed. Growth continues. Output gets better and better.

Have you received support from any business support agencies, if so which ones and how have they helped (or not helped)?

Initially from Business Gateway, which led to Glasgow City Council support which helped buy computers. Then from Scottish Enterprise to hire a key development person. Through a couple of BBC Scotland schemes for network production. And slate funding from Creative Scotland. 

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt in growing your business or freelance career?

Pursue the things you love and the ideas you are passionate about. Then at least you’ll have a lot of meaningful fun even if you don’t make huge amounts of money. And occasionally the two can come together.

How can the indigenous screen businesses  in Scotland become bigger, better, bolder and more successful?

We need to concentrate on indigenous production and backing producers. Everything else flows from that. The new BBC Scotland channel and the increase in funding for Screen at Creative Scotland will help this growth. We should be on the edge of a boom. We need to make the most of it.


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