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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : November December 2007
T V C P R O D U C T I O N us peanuts and get some surfing in before they go home. Now, we are an expensive option that puts us all in the too hard basket. There are about ten to twenty countries you’d go to first to shoot. Australia is way down the list at the moment.” Toia is quoting to shoot in South Africa, Poland and the Ukraine and even India to get away from the madness: “This is why South America, Eastern Block countries and Asian countries are doing so much work. They are a fair price for everything. It is cheaper for me to shoot in Europe business class with all my main people and agency, shoot the job, post in Thailand or KL on the way back, come home with change and a half decent profit margin. While I’ve been away, I’ve had about 900 emails from crews looking for work but not wanting to budge enough on rates,” he says. Nicol also sees the rising dollar as a real threat, particularly with inter- national service work drying up as it is part of the general income of the production industry, keeping those grips, gaffers, post houses and rental facilities afloat. The other repercussion is that agencies can now look to foreign directors and production companies when they have larger budget pro- jects – and this is where Nicol pre- dicts we will most feel the effect of the freeing up of foreign content. “The combination of local direc- tors/production companies being forced to work with lesser budgets, and then not being able to show what they can do when there is a larger budget, will just continue to leave them out of the competition when those larger jobs come along,” she says. “I can understand the drive for agencies to want to buy the best possible people for their job - but there seems to be very little understanding or respon- sibility as to how the local industry functions and survives.” The tax breaks the Australian gov- ernment has flagged for the feature film industry could have a positive on-flow to the TVC production industry. Bruce Carter, creative director of Animal Logic, says there has been a lot of dusting off of scripts that have been sitting around for a long time. He thinks it could have several implications for commercials direc- tors. Firstly, those who have long form projects they want to get up will find that easier and will see a development in new talent, particu- larly directorial talent and hopefully writing talent as well. However, the downside might be that influx of long form work will put pressure on crews and key players in the pro- duction industry to be available. “That in itself will only be short term because people will get trained and that craft base will get broader and deeper as a result,” says Carter. But The Sweet Shop’s Prince warns against banking on the rising Australian dollar, saying currencies fluctuate every day: “You can’t build a business on it. Even cheap 40 C A M P A I G N B R I E F Cudlipp: “The impediments to the convergence have been lazy media companies, over-promising ISP’s and bloated free-to-air networks. Way out of our hands. It’s all sound and image to us. There’s interest in creating commercials for any delivery mechanism.” Sproul (above) predicts the rising Australian dollar will have a large impact on foreign productions coming to shoot here: “The attraction to shooting in Australia, apart from specific locations that might be required, is our depth of highly professional personnel, and high quality talent. But our production costs and talent costs are already high in comparison with other alternative destinations.” Nicol: “So often now we see a script that is being made just to fit a media schedule - on a too small production budget and a too big media spend. How sick are you of seeing the same bad spot a thousand times? There needs to be more care with what the advertiser is saying rather than how many times he says it.” “Some of our Australian clients are thinking about branded content, but most don’t have the balls to press the go button. The numbers for them just don’t stack up just yet,” says Toia. production is eventually tested by the sword. Australia has to be the source of great creative.” Carter concurs, saying the level of creative he is seeing is great at the moment with a greater level of con- fidence coming through in the scripts that are getting made and a willingness and a confidence to really collaborate to make an idea come to life. “It goes in ebbs and flows…but I would like to believe that through the industry, from clients right through to us, are recognising the value of really crafting good work,” he says, adding that part of this is driven by the new media forms which are bringing in people with a different perspective while forcing the traditional players to think dif- ferently about how to reach an audience. “To break through the clutter you have to engage their hearts and minds, to make them laugh or make them cry. New media never replaces old media, it sits alongside it and certainly impacts on it,” says Carter. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO CREATE BETTER WORK? Roger Tompkins, the flamboyant director at Cranbrook Films, recently created a tongue in cheek ad in CB, with a headline, ‘LOST’, followed by a script with the line “We open on a great idea”, asking anyone who finds it to contact him. Tompkins: “Television is still a very powerful medium in Australia and New Zealand. When television is done well with a single-minded piece of communication it has a massive impact.” The advert went down well in New Zealand where he has already received a couple of red hot scripts, but not all Australian creatives saw the funny side of it. He thinks effort should be put into making the best work for television. He says: “Television is still a very powerful medium in Australia and New Zealand. When television is done well with a single-minded piece of communication it has a massive impact.” While there’s been lots of hype around digital and in Australia and New Zealand broadband speeds are improving, the take-up rate for middle class families – the big con- sumers of everyday products – is low because they can’t afford it, he says. The same goes for cable and satellite TV meaning there are still a vast number of people watching free-to-air. Tompkins gives the example of a series of commercials he has done for New Zealand retailer Noel Leeming (www.noelleeming.co.nz) featuring the advocate Erin Brockovich, which combined the best of TV and the internet: “Their sales went up by 20% on the week- end after a week of this campaign being on-air. Television is instant,” Tompkins says. He thinks in the locally grown product there’s a real opportunity to excel with a desperate need for good strong creative on these brands. N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 7 (
AWARD Awards 2007
September October 2007