Steve Staff, Class of 2014 | My Internship at Knight Hall Agency

SteveStaff_KnightHall-picTo the left you will see a picture of some books. More specifically a picture of some books on the elongated book case that makes up one wall of the Knight Hall Agency office space, each of which earned their place by having their screen adaptation rights picked up by the agency. All great reads I’m sure, but the reason I just spent the last month interning there was to get a glimpse of what happens behind those books, in the very cool hidden meeting rooms that lie beyond. Here is where Knight Hall’s four agents entertain noteworthy figures from all over the British (and occasionally American, French, Scandinavian) TV and film industry, as well as their impressive roster of accomplished screenwriters and playwrights.

Some of Knight Hall’s more recognisable names include award winning writers such as Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slum Dog Millionaire, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, A Behanding in Spokane) and Jeremy Brock (The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle, How I Live Now) I could go on but after seeing just one of these names I was quickly into my Yahoo account and firing off an email begging for an internship. A response came almost immediately (not a brag, they just happened to be checking through internship emails at the precise moment mine hit their screens) and after a quick interview I was offered a place. I spent the next couple months working in a shoe shop to save up (London is expensive, who knew?) and in mid-August I set off. 

The agency itself is not what you’d expect to find propping up some of the most successful writers working in the industry today, it’s not corporate or intimidating in any way; instead what I found was a fantastically cool basement office operated and populated by some of the loveliest people I am likely to ever meet. It’s a small operation (only 6 employees total) but one that seems to wield some real power and influence within the filmmaking community in this country; a place where offhand utterances like “Oh I’m having dinner with Michael Winterbottom next week” certainly burned my ears but didn’t seem to register as unusual for anybody else.

So what did I do there? The same thing anyone else staring up at the mountain that is a career in film does – bitch work. I sorted contracts, scanned contracts, renamed contracts, filed contracts, made tea, made coffee, made green tea (Shoreditch, you get used to it) and took notes in meetings. And I did it all with a smile. Because what I really got out of this experience was a chance to see what it’s actually like to be a part of ‘the industry’ we hear talked about by so many but never properly get a glimpse of. Talk about which of their clients might be winning BAFTAs next year certainly put stars in my eyes, but it also cemented in me the realisation that the gap between graduation and Knight Hall Agency is a hell of a long shot, but thanks to my 28 days in London I at least now know where the goal posts are.

P.S. For any other aspiring screenwriters who might be reading, I am going to be attempting to set up a private readers’ circle in the next couple weeks where people can share their work and receive honest, useful and constructive feedback. I’ll be going into more detail in a follow up post so if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, keep your eyes peeled!