Sutish Sharma: From Hayes (FM) to Hollywood

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Sutish Sharma
Sutish Sharma

Sutish Sharma is taking a little time to adjust as BizAsia meets him in a cafe inside Pinewood Studios, an iconic place for all the good and great of British film, past and present.

Today, the Americans are in town, and there is a lot of security about, as filming starts on a new Hollywood film.

For Sutish, life is about to become very different from the many days(and nights) he spent in a radio studio at the BBC or when he set up the local radio station, Hayes FM. Not bad for someone with a degree in Chemistry!

After leaving Hayes FM at the end of 2012, he developed and revisited every idea he had ever had, and started writing. He then met people, because that’s what you do. His writing caught the eye of a Hollywood Executive, and a few(quite a few!) meetings later, he sold one of his scripts for American TV.

“It’s exciting and nerve-racking” remarks Sharma, as he sips a Cappuccino, a drink of choice for writers and producers these days.

There are many scripts that get sold each year, many books that get published, but more often than not, these are established writers. For Sutish this is his first major script.

Most writers are lucky if someone answers their phone, let alone remember their name.

Sutish Sharma lives in West London. He says he is looking forward to working in New York and Los Angeles, having spent many a summer on holiday, doing what tourists do, but this time, he will be working.

As the sun comes out across Pinewood Studios, Sutish has found his time very productive, and is very humble about the opportunity.

“The thing about producing or writing is that you have to carry on developing your ideas, and the key is to keep rewriting, but a little bit of luck is always welcome’.

‘Smoking Gun’ is a crime thriller, set in the 1980’s Los Angeles. It’s been picked up by Syncretic Media, and its partner Halcyon Television International of Europe. They have offered Sutish an undisclosed sum for the rights to produce the series for worldwide distribution.

So how does a local radio station boss get the attention of the US television elite? ���It’s like any product, you start with an idea, write it down, and if you have something they need, then you can have a conversation.�۝

Simple advice, but it was not a simple transition. Life post-Hayes FM has meant many days (and nights) in a room by himself.

���When I left Hayes FM, and life as a broadcaster and journalist, I knew I had all these ideas, but I also knew, the only chance I had was to put them down on paper, so that is what I did,�۝ he explained. After a year of writing, in November 2013 Sutish started networking ��like crazy’.

���I met anyone who was willing to talk to me, coffee is a good starting point. You�۪ve got to take risks. At some point you�۪re going to have to stand in the middle and your ideas are going to be scrutinised – you never know if you�۪re good enough. It does test your confidence.�۝

And stepping out of his comfort zone paid off.

���As a result, I was introduced to an executive, Patrick Andrews at Wimbeldon TV Studios,�۝ he explained.

Mr Andrews is a former entertainment executive for TV stalwart, the late Aaron Spelling, producer of Beverley Hills 90210 and Starsky & Hutch. “He looked at my work, everything from feature films, rom-coms, game shows that sort of thing. He thought I was a good writer, and passed it to writers in Hollywood.”

‘Smoking Gun’ follows the fictional FBI investigation of a murder in Los Angeles during the turbulence of the 1980s. The case leads the show�۪s protagonist, and world-weary FBI special agent, to the Nicaraguan Contras and the inner sanctum of the Central Intelligence Agency and its connection to drug trafficking in Los Angeles.

���We are very excited about Smoking Gun and look forward to getting production underway,�۝ said Mr Andrews. ���This whodunit has more twist and turns than a race track on a rainy day.�۝

Sutish looks back at his time at Hayes FM, the local radio station he set up and launched, with fondness. “I am very proud of what we did, though it is very different now. In my time, we introduced a new kind of radio, a local news output you could not hear anywhere else. I am most proud of the training programmes. It’s a very nice feeling to know, so many people (over 100) are working in paid jobs in radio, that’s cool! ”

Sutish offers advice to aspiring wordsmiths. ���Hard work, having a dream, not giving up is a nice idea but it does not guarantee anything, what it does do is just maybe it will improve your chances,�۝ he said. Our conversation comes to an end, the little cafe in Pinewood is alive with chatter, maybe the next big film being planned and talk about. That’s the movies!

Sutish Sharma is currently also developing a number of feature film projects for New Street Pictures, and is also director of a social enterprise, West London Film and Media CIC. He is also a part-time lecturer at Brunel University. To contact Sutish Sharma, you can e-mail him on office@newstreetpictures.com

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