LA Film Treatments is a group of seasoned, freelance entertainment and advertising industry development professionals headed by James Killough, who brings to the table singular skills and talents sharpened by decades of experience developing projects large and small on five continents for some of the world’s leading filmmakers.
James began his deep dive into the world of pitch-deck presentations when he worked as Marcus Nispel’s full-time treatment content creator in the early aughts. At the time, Nispel was the highest-earning commercials director in the world for several years running.
As a director himself, James interpreted Marcus’ thought process and creative approach into clear, effective language and visuals. It is in no small part because of the dedication and care that Nispel put into his treatments that he was able to book over $60 million a year in production spend during his reign as king of commercial directors.
When Nispel moved into feature films with his seminal remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, James applied Nispel’s winning methodology to the development process of his own feature films.
James’ first feature as director, HATTER, was given a greenlight from producer/financier Angad Paul (LOCK, STOCK… , SNATCH) and other essential above-the-line players in LA and London based on a comprehensive treatment he built, rather than presenting a script first. Alan Cumming, James’ first choice for lead, and A-list key crew also joined the project at that early stage. “I can’t believe my pictures are actually in that,” Cumming said of the treatment at his first meeting with James.
The notes he got back not only reaffirmed James’ commitment to a risqué, highly diverse and visual project, they also informed the first draft of the script and secured buy-in from the team—they felt invested in the creative process more than ever.
James doesn’t just bring his decades of experience in film and TV development to the table as a writer and director, as someone who knows firsthand what it feels like to be sitting in video village for the first take, surrounded by dozens of crewmembers waiting for confident instructions, but feeling like an utter fraud who hopes nobody else will notice. As an occasional freelance creative director, consultant and editor for books and magazines, he also brings many thousands of hours of layout and graphics experience.
Other than Marcus Nispel and Angad Paul, James has worked with a slew of other directors and producers around the world. He began his globe-spanning career in India, writing the screenplay for acclaimed director Muzaffar Ali’s ZOONI. His script for Pamela Rooks’ MISS BEATTY’S CHILDREN helped her win the Film Festival of India in 1993. That same year he was the host of the first televised Miss India Pageant, which he says “all young Americans should do once in their lives.”
He continues to collaborate with South Asian filmmakers, developing projects with Shekhar Kapoor (ELIZABETH) and Tarsem Singh (THE CELL) among many others. He has worked with a suitably eclectic roster of filmmakers: Lisa Bruce (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING); Christine Vachon (CAROL); Tony Scott (TRUE ROMANCE); Howard Rosenman (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME); Rain Li (PARANOID PARK); Carlo Dusi (TABOO); Channing Tatum (MAGIC MIKE); Hans Ritter (THE DISASTER ARTIST); and his mentor over many projects, Jack Lechner (BLUE VALENTINE), who uses one of James’ series bibles as a teaching tool in his Business of Television course at Columbia University.
A native New Yorker raised in Rome, the son of a Cold War spy living there under the guise of a hard-drinking ad exec straight out of MAD MEN, James studied film at both Wesleyan and NYU, where he lectured for many years on high-end short-film development and production. Fluent in five languages, including Hindi, he is based out of Los Angeles, with a professional network that continues to span the globe. He leads a handpicked crack team of freelance creative professionals who all meet Hollywood’s exacting standards of quality execution and professionalism.