How A Film & TV Industry is Built – Part A

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    In South Africa we often think too much around and about the issue of building an industry of our own, a Joziwood like industry that flourishes and has momentum and “itness” — something alongside those lines — and whatever “it” is.

    So often we never get around what it is that which, we’re supposed to be building and so that being the ‘issue’, how are we supposed to be building this thing ‘it’. Actually not knowing what we’re supposed to build on its own is a perfect recipe for failure.

    Here is the thing though, our film and TV industry has tremendous potential, talent, the skills the men and the women, but we can’t seem to get our heads around it. In this writing I will address a few points for you, film enthusiast, producer, student etc. to look up-to in our quest to building this industry.

    This is something I am personally and dearly passionate about; pioneering a formidable industry and hopefully through these writings, I will be able to help clear some of our major setbacks.

    Speaking of which, here are some of the pointers, or trends if you may — that exist within our industry and some have not proved useful in anyway:

    1 — Our Industry is overridden by people who don’t share the same vision as us , actually, they are clueless.

    They live amongst us, they speak our language, and they hold top positions. In fact they’re more convincing to anyone and have learnt the art of selling us dreams as producer. Who are these people, they are in corporate s— managed by policies that do not apply to our industry in any way. They are decision makers; they are “industry” leaders who know nothing about our industry. They know our language because they have been having “a lot” of meetings with producers. But who are they? What do they want? Most of them are in it for the money.

    Heck, why am I saying all of them are in it for the money? They want their money back, if they are to put any i in film; they won’t stand losing a cent… please notice these individuals.

    It’s all obvious; they don’t care much, have the same passion for the work and respect the art.

    They do not care much.

    2— Waiting for funding

    Or lack thereof, Funding, Seriously, this is embarrassing… As far as I know, funding comes when a project takes off so when you wait — no one will show up. In fact, waiting for funding is like waiting for the second coming of Jesus.

    Funding is equally important, very. We all know it’s coming but come on, it cannot be tomorrow. In the mean time can we put in the work. Let’s work, forget the fairy tale — JUST don’t starve yourself and the crew on set. It is embarrassing. You’d rather have your project halfway through and get stuck than have script lying in your closet just because funding.

    Save money for your project!

    3 — The industry is at war with cheap exported content

    “The industry” I mean our cinema, cinema referring to our films our content — the final thing. In the world of business money comes first, here is the thing.

    No one is going to risk spending millions on local productions just so we have local content when you can simply just buy “my wife and kids” or whatever for a price 5 times less.

    But who’s calling the shots?

    Again, “they live among us” and pretend to care. They buy Hollywood content that puts our industry last — maybe Hollywood is paying them?

    Who knows?

    4 — Lack of structured production consistency

    Here in, the consistency lacks in many ways. First we have our own producer’s sickness of not sticking to one thing every year. Dear producers can we I pledge… just stick to producing one or similar thing every year. Leon Shuster’s success was built on consistency. Because you know what, the reputation was there — along the way — it builds up a small community, over time you smash box office. This is production consistency, on top of fans you built on the first round, the second round doubles up which then attributes to the success of the film.

    Is it not common sense?

    So, to the producers of Tsotsi, can we have a Tsotsi 2 — or 3…? Wait even four, they can go up to 15 and we get to see a coming of age story in different ways possible? You know what I mean?

    It sounds lame but that’s what’s needed. Consistency, Amapantsula, what happened? lets follow up, Hijack Stories, What’s going on ?

    I can go on.

    We need a consistency plan. Let’s produce, year in and out. It’s simple; I stick my cutting edge documentary series you stick to yours.

    Let’s move forward.