French Cuts

India's Hollywood stories

India Osborne
AGE: 32
OCCUPATION: Vice President of Production at Europa Corp.
LOCATION: France
DUTIES: Developing film and music projects from inception to completion
SALARY RANGE: $90,000 — $250,000
The story could read like a script: Young woman casts fears aside, heads for Hollywood, and makes good. Unfortunately, it never happens in real life. Right? India Osborne would disagree.

Osborne is the vice president of production for Europa Corp., a France-based company positioning itself as Europe’s largest film distribution and production company. Owned by director Luc Besson, whose film credits include, The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Fifth Element, the company has been a solid training ground for Osborne’s creative interests in film. She has facilitated every aspect of Besson’s projects, from administrative assisting and ghostwriting to coordinating every segment of pre and postproduction. Today Osborne is more involved in creating, discovering material, finding scripts, developing stories, locating writers, and forming creative teams.

The Journey. Growing up in Los Angeles, a Hollywood career was a transient thought for Osborne. “I always knew I was supposed to be in television but didn’t know how.” After high school, Osborne worked briefly in managed healthcare but realized minimal advancement. She took a few writing courses at a community college then worked as a nanny.

In 1996, after a failed relationship, she called home for direction. With her father’s help she got her first gig. “I became the production assistant for three days and then the secretary on the game show Majority Rules,” Osborne recalls. “It lasted nine months and only aired in two states.” But the first job helped her secure the next. She freelanced as a production coordinator for commercials and low-budget features. “It was a nightmare because that’s when I experienced the horrors that I had heard others complain about — like not getting paid for doing the work.”

Getting Focused. “Whenever I would specify what I wanted to do, only then would it come to fruition,” Osborne says. She registered with a temp agency, determined to land a position in development. Her first interview was with Besson’s Seaside Productions in 1997.

Osborne became the administrative assistant. “I was the office girl. They needed someone who could speak English and I had an ear for French.” As the only American in the company, Osborne shined. “The French take two-hour lunches and the entire month of August off. I was used to working and I did.”
Since 1997, Europa Corp. has grown to include a Japanese division, and Europa Corp. USA formed a music division. “I handle everything from conception to conclusion,” she says.

The Goal. Osborne acknowledges that she is a rare species. “I don’t have a degree, and I am a black woman. I want to continue to produce and eventually want my own production company to develop feature films and music. But my main objective is to uplift and change how black people are portrayed.”

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