5 mins with...Liz Rosenthal

The London Book Fair, 12 Aug 2015 10:00

5 minutes with...

  • Liz Rosenthal

    Our 5 minute interview this week is with Liz Rosenthal, Founder and CEO of Power to the Pixel (PttP). PttP is an organisation supporting the film and media industries in their transition to a digital age, organising the annual Cross-Media Film Forum in association with The BFI London Film Festival. An early advocate of digital distribution and filmmaking, Liz is a digital film and media expert.


    We pitched the following questions to Liz...

    What was the last book you read?

    The Children’s Act by Ian Mckeown

    How did you buy it?

    A birthday present from my father

    And what did you read it on?

    Paper – despite working with digital formats and interactive storytelling I still prefer long form fiction on paper.

    What’s next on your reading list?

    Lonely planet guides to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Montevideo. Power to the Pixel is creating a Latin American Focus at our annual centrepiece event 13-16 October London event and I’m doing whirlwind trip in each city and meeting our various country partners – 9 days, 7 planes, 3 cities!

    Tell us what you/your company does in 20 words or fewer?

    We help film, media and publishing organisations adapt to digital change and audience behaviour through development labs and market events.

    Tell us the 1 thing about your company/business that we need to know…

    We work with producers, media companies, creators and funds to develop and finance stories and media products that engage audiences across multiple platforms.

    What do you like about your job?

    I’m privileged to meet and engage with pioneers and innovators pushing the boundaries of media, arts and business - and because they are explorers, they are open minded, collaborative, positive and totally inspirational!

    I come from the independent film world where you painstakingly shopped an idea around for years, spent years raising the budget in a B2B vacuum. When you eventually realised the project the big battle was still there – finding a distributor and then hopefully an audience. The approach we try to encourage now with ideas development is user and audience focused, involves rapidly prototyping an idea and engaging an audience or a group of users as soon as possible. With digital tools and collaborative processes it’s exciting to see what is possible early on in the development process and to get feedback from users, audiences and fans without huge amounts of investment and time required and the endless barrage of people saying no!

    The one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in publishing today is…?

    It’s the same advice I’d give to anyone who wants to start out in film or TV too – one can no longer work strictly in industry silos. Digital has blurred the boundaries of what a media product or format is. Audiences are moving effortlessly from one platform and device and they want the ideas and stories they engage with to be available in many different forms and platforms. So the definition of what ‘the publishing industry’ is today is evolving rapidly and will involve interactivity, design, moving image. It means one has to engage with people across the creative and tech industries and beyond. However great stories, character and artistry will always be the driving force of whatever format you are working in.

    Which is your favourite bookshop or ebookstore – and why?

    Daunts – their curation is spectacular but since I’m a book hoarder and out of space left in my home to pile books, I have to avoid until I can take the painful step of getting rid of old books. Also I love the country by country section back gallery in Marylebone. it's wonderful to be able to pair books with travel.

    Audible - before I started working in film and media I used to be a designer and had a gallery in Edinburgh. Because I was working with my hands and not taking calls and emailing all day I became obsessed with listening to ‘books for the blind’ and had the pleasure of the unabridged versions of many of the great classics read by amazing actors. But the collection was limited to mostly 19th century works Trollope, Austin, Dostoyesvsky, Tolstoy etc. Whenever I do get a spare moment to listen, I’m amazed by the incredible selection of over 150k books in Audible. I just wish I had more time to listen!

    Go on, let us know your fictional guilty pleasure

    Travel Guides – because I have few holidays and travel a lot for work but rarely get out of the conference, office where I’m visiting, it makes me feel I’ve had some kind of experience of the place.

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