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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 from film school and others come from working their way through crew or ad agencies. “I don’t think that’s going to change, there’s a greater opportuni- ty to get your work exposed if you are a young filmmaker because of YouTube and other sites, so it’s quite exciting for a young person starting out to get their work out there and get noticed.” Moore says the next generation of talent will probably come from their living rooms, but admits it can be tough to get a break considering it’s a big decision for a production company to take on a new director. He refers to a recent signing at Filmgraphics of director Marc Furmie, an Australian whose back- ground is in music videos: “He’s a great talent, he’s worked non-stop since he arrived….he has a very strong filmic background, he knows exactly what he wants. He knows his way around the camera and how to tell a story with a camera.” Prodigy’s Samway thinks the tal- ent pool is getting broader with the advent of short film festivals and the accessibility to cameras and editing online and FinalCut Pro, has seen a change in where young filmmakers come from. “Because of the process of pitch- ing for work, young filmmakers have to be a lot more dexterous in their skill base, they have to be very good at writing a treatment, visually presenting their own ideas face to face, and selling all that through,” he says. Toia says there are way too many directors in Australia. In particular, the low to middle weight sector is completely flooded and people are working for free. “This is another reason why the industry is a mess. 4000 directors fighting for scraps. I’m one of the lucky ones and the dog eat dog antics don’t seem to concern me. Zoom puts a lot of energy into training young directors, spending years teaching them everything from the art of direction through to business development. We put in what we want to take out,” he says. “The problem is a lot of produc- tion companies take out but don’t put in, stealing directors that we train up. Loyalty is another subject all together, please don’t get me started on that,” he says. He doesn’t think enough new directors are given a break – at Zoom they see 300 director’s reels a year and he watches every single one in the hope of finding the next big rising star, but sadly, hasn’t found anything yet. “It’s easy for someone to say ‘I’m a Director’, but it’s hard to be a success at it. I really think people should not call themselves a direc- tor until they’ve won at least a national or state award for a real paying job, directed a film or two, short or long form and directed at least 20 real ads with real clients. I’ll give any new guy a break if they can first show me their hard work- ing passion and skill upfront,” says Toia. 44 C A M P A I G N B R I E F Toia (above) 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. Tompkins: I’m slightly cynical about how effective the internet is in Australia and New Zealand. I have no doubts about how effective it is in America and Europe but I defy anyone to tell me how effective it is here when you go outside the big metro areas.” Wells: “In the US, Europe and here, to a lesser extent, the products are selling; but it takes a braver client to sign off a 360-campaign than a straight print, TV or radio spot. I still believe one fundamental truth – when the Australian government allows full blistering internet speeds, the platform becomes redundant.” Nicol argues that most companies are fostering new, younger talent. At The Guild, they have directors who are ex-agency, Damien Kelly a writer, and Craig MacLean an art director. The Kamen Bros, who are in their early 20s, grew up in the youth culture of directing your own short films. Fin Edquist and Emma Freeman are both graduates from Film School (VCA). She thinks the big question is where is the break coming from - usually they start with looking at lower budget jobs (but so often they have lower creative as well - so the chase is long and hard). “We help foster them with clips and short films - really to help them show what they can do. You just keep chasing that great creative for them, along with every other direc- tor. It takes persistence and drive from both the production company and the director. The critical thing with a new, young director is to show they really ‘get’ advertising - and have a true passion for the medium,” she says. Vanderfield says five years ago he would get 20 phone calls in February when the film school graduation came around, but he doesn’t get those calls anymore because there isn’t a career or enough money in 30-second TVCs for kids coming out. “They are not as interested in it because it is not as relevant as it was ten years ago, so that supply of young talent in traditional TVC production is shrinking because the kids have grown up with the digital revolution and are going into the new world of digital entertain- ment,” he says. Vanderfield says part of the prob- lem is there’s little work because the top end has dropped back down into the market which means the A and B list directors have spent half of the time knocking scripts back, something that not many people have the luxury of indulging these days. “They drop down and do the $70,000 McDonald’s ad they wouldn’t have touched five years ago because that is all that is around, that was the ground where new kids cut their teeth. They do music videos and charity jobs and cheap product ads for big advertis- ers and now that work has been sucked up by a shortage of work for the more experienced directors,” he says. Vanderfield says there’s little con- cern about a possible shortage of new talent in the future as it is all about the here and now. “All an agency wants is a director for their script when they’ve got a script and in this point in time there’s a queue and half a dozen standing at the door, but in five years that might be a different ball- game. I think history will look back and say between 1970 and 2000 there was this industry called com- mercial production and it was like the gold rush, lots of people made lots of money and then it all dried up,” he says. J 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