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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : November December 2008
T VC PRODU CT IO N join Curious Film Sydney. Prodigy’ s mos t recent d irect or signing i s Dale Oates, a ru nner-up in t he K odak A WARD You ng Directors’ Awards. Oates had spent eight years work ing at An imal Logic, making him the perfect hi re for Prodigy which prefers to take on directors who have been exposed to the industry whether this is from a postprod uction, p hotog raphy, o r acting background. Amy Gebhardt, the winner of the New Dir ector of th e Ye ar is an AFTRS di rector wi th Exi t Films, which also hired David Rittey. Karen Sproul, producer at Exi t Films, s ays it’s alway s t ough f or new talent to get a break from agen- ci es , w inning that one jo b that might se t t hem on the ir way. However, an upside of the e xpan- sion of the marketplace is that it has given some new y oung d irectors a chance to get their foot in the door, because the bu dgets for i nternet- only com me rc ial s ar e so low. Furthermore, the guidelines are not so stric t as for TV, so i t enables them to be more creative. Towell says a t äht) the y are con - stantly searching for new directors - those that are ei ther ve ry new o r exceptionally talented to established and exceptionally talented. “We have t aken G racie O tt o under our w ing and into our men- toring program ‘äht(ery, which was formed t o nurture f resh, ex citin g talent. Gr acie is the perfe ct f it f or äht(ery . E duc ated fr om a bac k- ground of film and a family of out - standing actors. We are really look- ing forward to her progression from directing award winning short films to di recting outstanding c ommer- cials,” says Towell. Justin McMillan came up through aht(ery and i s now the company’s you nges t mai nst ream dir ector . McMillan’s advertising background gave him invaluable insight into the age ncy/ cl ient proce ss. In July, Linda Sch matloch j oined äht) a s marketing director after a decade at Sydney Film Company. Van de rfield doesn’t thin k the industry does a good job of nu rtur- ing n ew talen t: “This i ndustry is highly c ompetitive and new ta lent runs the ri sk of being che wed up and spa t out before they kn ow i t. Having said that, the cream always rises to t he top. Unfortunately th e product ion indus try has n’t been abl e t o creat e a matu re i ndustry body that d emands respect and for tha t, I’ m afra id, they ha ve o nly themsel ves to blame. H oweve r, there is a gre at opportunity now, as the w orld of new med ia and increased demand for branded con- tent in advertising leads to different ways o f wo rking, such a s d irectly wi th ad vertis ers an d es tabl ished long form producers. This s hould allow our industry to e volve into a more profe ss ional on e t hat demands respect and therefore does have the ability to properly nurt ure new talent.” Film Co nstruction’s approa ch is borderless - that is, it puts the right direc to r up for ea ch job t hey 36 CAMP AI GN B RIEF Burrows: “Content on demand via your digital TV or the web will cut TVC demand inevitably but the industry should be excited about the fact that we’re all going to be making more and more interesting work.” Commercials account for about half of Jungle Boys’ output of TV production and branded entertainment, an important part of the business. “It is important not only financially but also creatively as we generally have a lot more freedom/ opportunity to contribute.” “Branded content is all the go, which is simply long form advertising for new and old media. It remains to be seen if the process we use to create a thirty sec. TVC funded by clients can deliver long form work,” says Vanderfeld Vanderfield: “Obviously more and more money is being spent online, which definitely diverts marketing budget away from traditional TVCs. Competing with big TV production companies on long form work is difficult, but achievable.” receive, regardless of where they are based, says Watkins. In Auckland, Film Construction has taken on Andy Morton as a new director and there have been several new additions in Au stral ia wi th Film Construction taking over Pod Films’ Melbourne office following the decision by executive producer Catherine Kerr to take a sabbatic al. New directors for Film Co nstruct- ion in Australia are Dav id White , Nick Ball and ex-Pod di rectors Maia Horniak and Jasmin Tarasin. Watkins says they are nurturin g some fantastic talent internally that, although not directors cu rrently, are definitely the future. “There is a lot of talent out there that are shooting and e diting on all media formats. They are ac tively promoting themselves and t hey are the ones we seek. It’s that combina- tion of talent, passion an d s heer bloody mindedness t o get t hings done and make a n ame for them- selves,” says Watkins. Young directors should n ever for- get that they are a product, a brand in themselves, cautions Toia. “The good ones will fa ll i nto a production company wi th g ood mora ls and they will be taught about how to win, direct and finish a job off. But to be honest with all the economic chaos that’s about to hit the industry, do we re ally need more of them? Australia is a lready way too heavy with directors now,” says Toia. ECONOMIC MELTDOWN With constant headlines of stock mar ket cr ashe s, g over nmen t bai louts o f f inancial institutions, and countries going broke, produc- tion companies are understandably nervous. While many say it hasn’t had a dramatic impact yet as jobs are booked well in advance, some report jobs being delayed or can- celled. Prince expect s to s ee smal ler breakaway companies starting up and notes that in the UK there’s been consolid ation with bigg er companies joining together. In Au stral ia, i ndust ry i con s Sydney Film Company closed its door s i n May fol lowed by P od Films in October. Masterton says while the UK mar- ket has slowed, there’s still a great deal of work coming out of the US. He says: “Right now everyone is quite tentative, but it se ems to be a situation that changes by the day; if the US goes into a recession that is not going to be good for anybody. Our dol lar is going down ver y quickly, it’s great in one way, but we are talking about doing a project from the St ate s in January and we’ve got no idea where the dollar is going to be at then. Everyone is slightly hesitant and feeling there might b e bad times ahead. It’s a proven e conomic fact that in diffi- cult times the companies that spend money on marketing and advertis- ing do well and come out of it ? NOV E MB ER/DE CE MB E R 2 0 08
Awards Dec 2008
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