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Cutting Room Floor

The Commercial that never was……………..

Fox Group is a company that enlisted a highly regarded director to create a web-based commercial. When I joined the project, it was specified that the commercial would exclusively be for the web. We dedicated nearly a month to preparation, including location scouts throughout London. We secured locations, including the iconic Cheese Grater building in central London, which required additional funds beyond our initial budget. Fox Group approved the extra cost, expressing satisfaction with the project's progress. However, on the first day of production, Fox Group unexpectedly transitioned the commercial from a web-only release to a national advert, leading to a substantial cost increase.

Upon presenting an estimate for the revised budget, we received approval to proceed, with the understanding that Fox Group would audit the project upon completion and honor all invoices. Production continued, and four days later, we wrapped up filming. When we submitted edited versions for four different films within two weeks, communication with Fox Group diminished. Recognizing the potential for issues, I recommended involving a solicitor due to the lack of communication.

Despite ongoing efforts, communication remained minimal. The solicitor engaged with Fox Group for approximately two months, revealing a series of contentious changes. Fox Group contested elements they had previously approved, necessitating additional funding. With no agreement, they refused to release full payment. Realizing legal action was inevitable, we prepared to go to court to secure the remaining funds, leaving many, including myself, unpaid after four months of dedicated work, with fees totaling 70K.

Amidst this, one company took legal action against the owner/director, causing operational disruptions. Fox Group, with financial resources, strategically stalled court proceedings under the pretext of the director's company being liquidated. Unfortunately, the director's company did indeed face liquidation, a move deemed malicious by the judge.

The liquidators, recognizing the merit of our case, pursued legal action against Fox Group. While we won the case, a prior lawsuit by another company had already depleted Fox Group's assets. Despite the victory, there were no funds or assets to claim. The lesson learned is the importance of due diligence, financial checks, and proof of funds when engaging in large-scale commercial productions. I personally lost 70K, and others faced substantial losses.


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