How a TV & Film Industry is built ( Part 3)

Are we productive or Just Creative?

Creative? Yes — I mean. There’s evidently enough movies, TV shows and commercials to back this up. And although that’s imperative, today I’d like to address something, something I hold dear, as a ‘producer’ of content and a business owner.

This is called PRODUCTIVITY — which refers to the state of being productive. I don’t wish to define what this means but contextually this simply just refers to a continuous effort to stay productive — releasing films, documentaries, film etc. at all times.

We owe it all to ourselves to take this responsibility!

In the previous publication I mentioned that making a series and developing projects is good, but be it as it may, it is never enough to fuel the type of development necessary to enhance and propel this industry forward.

An intended effort to do so, to build a robust industry — requires systems, processes, policies and corporate visions and missions that are truly aligned with an intended effort to build a highly productive industry.

While that — the lack of an intended effort to build a robust industry — is still a pipe dream in corporate industries, we as producers need to fuel and probably inject a passion, energy that will spark and enable a constant flow of productions.

This is more than just a dilemma, film schools on the other hand still produce camera men, editors, production managers and all of the people unnecessary to change the film and TV landscape. This is not in a way intended to suggest that these guys are of no value but the word “unnecessary” simply implies that they do not fuel any and further potential projects for development.

The take away keyword here is DEVELOPMENT.

Don’t schools owe it all to themselves, to better know that, in order for the industry to compete we need more producers, people who initiate projects more than we do of “administrators” or “Creatives”?

Maybe, let’s leave the corporate industry and the schools for now.

Camera men, editors, production managers and sound engineers are ‘technicians” for lack of a better word, highly necessary and valuable but not effective in the development department. They are busy doing other work.

Production managers, coordinators and line managers are “project administrators”, do they contribute to development?

Creative Directors, writers, and content producers on the other hand are the rare breed that fuels creativity on set, in the office and anywhere else. But there are very few, and the very few of them develop and build projects but it is not enough to consume all film professionals.

So the production output is not as greater, or as one would desire.

For our industry to blossom greater we need more ‘producers’ — producers being used as a generic word that covers developers, writers, basically - the people who initiates projects and produce, i.e. see them through.

The way I see is that a producer is a business leader, looking for a movie that he can push, then later on the procure talent, creatives (employees) that eventually helps him realize this vision.

But hold up. When we have more technical people & administrators and fewer producers what do you think happens?

Stagnation.

Stagnation happens in real human terms.

It creates problem does it not? Suddenly there is a lot of “job seekers” instead of project initiators. Suddenly there are no jobs. Suddenly the industry is boring.

#Yawn.

We think magic will happen, tadah! — and there, flashlights and out of nowhere our industry will flourish.

How?

Who has to put in the work?

Seems like no one is willing, a few are — and the tiny few are winning, but it can never be enough.

On that note, I’d like to say that there is no easy ride, and that’s probably why it’s easy to send our CV’s to production houses and SABC than it is to develop projects.

Breaking down the latter:

8 out of 10 film students come out as technical students or administrators.

2 Out of those 10 are the one that will take the plunge to be developers.

Developers:

Writer — Producer. Create new documentary etc. — then approach a producer to do all the work.

So the way I see a way forward is that a comprehensive need for developers is a way forward. Maybe institutions, production houses and policies will not help with this so to pave a way forward, I am going to appealing to anyone and everyone reading this post, editor, camera man, production coordinator, production manager, line producer, online editor, unit manager, lighting technician; you ought to be or “posses” the producers’ brain and develop, create and write.

This will increase the number of ‘projects’ that will enable everyone to ‘win’ instead of crying foul play when Mfundi Vundla is firing. All of the people who got fired, do they not have the qualities to try something new. With such an experience, I am sure they can cook up a storm, and that’s what we need.

We need more, more is more — to intensify the production output.