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Mel Crawford creates profit-sharing indie Goat Films with ITV commission

Former Sky and Mentorn Media excec Mel Crawford has launched an independent production company called Goat Films and secured its first major primetime commission, from ITV in the UK.

Mel Crawford

Goat Films has been set up to create global entertainment formats and scripted comedy and already has a seven-part primetime studio entertainment series greenlit by ITV.

Singing and dating format Romeo & Duet (7×60’) will see potential suitors, hidden from view, use their voices to serenade singletons who are hidden from the performance area, in the hope of bagging themselves a date.

Alongside production of the ITV series, Goat Films is also developing a slate of entertainment ideas for the BBC, and has optioned three scripted comedies. Goat has already secured US development investment for one of the optioned scripts, Philippa (working title), written by comedian Naomi Cooper.

Crawford was previously creative director at UK charity Comic Relief and exec produced its Red Nose Day event in 2019. She has developed and piloted a number of franchises such as First Dates, plus multiple returning series including 24 Hours in A&E, Deal or No Deal and Secret Eaters, several stand-up comedy specials and One Born Every Minute.

She has a long-standing relationship with Jamie Munro and Stuart Mullin from the Keshet International-backed production incubator Greenbird Media, which is supporting Goat in its launch.

Crawford says her vision is to disrupt the standard working policies of the industry as much as possible and shape the wholly independent company as a new model.

Alongside the company’s zero tolerance policy for bullying, discrimination and harassment, Goat Films has introduced what it says is a unique “kindness policy” covering all contracts with freelancers and staff that outlines the company’s values and the behaviour expected of employees.

Goat is also offering an option deal to all creatives, regardless of their experience, by accepting unsolicited ideas via the Goatfilms.tv submissions portal. Anyone whose idea is successful will be offered the same option policy of 25% equity of the whole, which equates to 25% of the production fee and 25% of the back end. This will apply to any format idea that sits within Goat’s long-term goals of entertainment, studio entertainment and entertainment comedy.

There will also be a scripted portal that operates in a slightly different way, whereby people can pay for feedback and a report on their scripts from a range of experienced script editors and comedy writers who have worked across award-winning series, from Fortitude to Britannia. Goat Films will offer options to the writers of any scripts that it wishes to pursue.

The company is also offering a profit-sharing scheme to its staff that will run on a points-based system according to how long they work with Goat.

Crawford has four founding partners in Ivor Baddiel, Rob Gillies, Anna-Marie Henderson and Stephen Parnell.

Crawford said: “Launching Goat Films is incredibly important to me; it is a production company like no other. I want to support the creative community with kindness, fairness, transparency and inclusivity and part of this ambition is to ensure there is profit share to support freelancers and equity incentives for any developments. I want our team to feel empowered, have fun and thrive whilst working for us. Top-quality entertainment is what we strive for, and I am thrilled to have our first commission to set us on our path.”

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