How the writers of ‘Industry’ turned failure in finance into a TV show


Producer of the BBC-HBO TV show “Industry,” Mickey Downs and Konrad.

Courtesy of mikki down

After they were terrific as bankers, Konrad Kay and Mickey Down aired their failures in the hit TV show “Industry”, which sees five college graduates navigate the cut-off finance sector.

Like the show’s five central characters, who join fictional investment bank Pierpoint & Co in London on a competitive placement scheme, Downs and Kai began working in finance as an undergraduate. However, Downs joked that the show’s characters are far more capable than they were when they first worked in the field several years ago.

After working as an analyst in equity sales for three years, Kai was actually fired, because his lack of trust prevented him from taking the phone to talk to customers.

“There was always someone who knew more about me than Shares, so I never felt worthy to open my mouth about it,” Kay told CNBC.

He said, “I find it very hard to fuck-tee because the fear for me is that I hate to ask someone the question that I don’t fully know how little I know or what I do I am talking. ”

Kay has said in previous interviews that her boss called her the worst seller she had ever seen.

Downs likewise said that when it came to quitting his own job as an analyst in mergers and acquisitions a year later, he felt that he was probably more than a “hindrance to help the company”.

“I didn’t know a lot of things, I didn’t really understand how to do my job but even asking for help … was considered a weakness,” he said.

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After leaving the world of finance, Downs went on to work for a talent agency and a production company, while also starting writing, with Kay again being fired.

Since leaving the finance industry, the two have written for several TV and film projects.

He initially took a tough stance in writing another show about the finance sector, but Downs says it was more of a “cathartic” experience to get over his frustrations about the industry on paper and test if they were together Could write

The original show also had a mix of senior and junior finance personnel, while with “Industry” they deliberately decided to focus on writing about “what it felt like to be at the lowest rung of the ladder,” which Kei has said he felt more qualified to do so.

The BBC-HBO show was premiered earlier this month, with the first episode directed by “Girls” producer Lina Dunham. “Industry” has been praised as one of the more accurate depictions of financial services, from its use of jargon to the rigid dynamic of the trading floor.

‘carrier strap’

After experiencing it themselves, Downs and Kei understood how the field could be attractive to graduates. As students at the University of Oxford, Britain’s best college, Downs said Banks began associating them with dinners, drinks and company merchandise in the first year of his degree.

The pressure to do the job upon graduation, combined with the fact that many other students planned to go into finance, persuaded them to go down the same path.

“I convinced myself that this was definitely what I wanted to do, but it became very clear that I was too ill for it.”

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Kay said it felt like a “conveyor belt” and a “safe alternative”.

Downs said he had to work “really hard to be average” in his job. “And then after a while, when the hunger for a job increases and its brightness starts to dissipate and you feel your life collapsing around you, as you hang on to this job, you don’t care. No that’s why you stop trying really hard to impress people, “he explained.

Both writers are now in their thirties and looking back, Downs said the advice he has is based on that experience, “don’t take it seriously.” But he admitted that he was saying it with great hesitation and understood that “work is life” for many young people.

“I think the advice … is to really inquire whether you want to do it or not, and if not, get out as soon as possible and don’t let it become your life, don’t let it end in your life.” , “They said.

That being said, there were some things that the writers took away from their time in the city. Cai believed that the “emphasis on delivery in the corporate world” positions them “at the level of professionalism” when it comes to writing deadlines and work policies. ”

He also said that a lot of TV business involves sitting in a room with executives in a show, so that previous sales experience placed him in a good position for the industry. But “instead of equity and EBITDA” – a frequently used investment acronym that stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – KI said he needed to “build and craft an attractive TV series I felt more confident talking about trying. “

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