A Report of Into the Future
Think Tank about Training in a Changing World
21 to 23 June 2010 in Zurich
With the support of
Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing
- Creating the context
- Into the Future, Day 1
- Session 1
- ‘Cinema, cross media and public television: firms steps into uncertainty’ by Michel Reilhac
- ‘Producing and training: facing up to change’ by Diana Elbaum
- Session 2
- ‘Training policies in a shifting landscape’ by Arnaud Pasquali, Nicolas Bideau, Katarina Krave
- Session 1
- Into the Future, Day 2
- Photo Gallery
The Audiovisual Training Coalition (ATC) is an organization which brings together independent training providers to discuss programmes, methodologies, collaboration, policy and finance and to further the interests of its members.
Into the Future, a think tank about training in a changing world, was organised by the Audiovisual Training Coalition to provide an opportunity for a group of training organisations, funders and media professionals to brainstorm about training over the next decade. It took place in Zurich on June 21-23, 2010. Along with the ATC the event was funded by the MEDIA Programme, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and FOCAL.
Into the Future was attended by 25 representatives of 23 training organisations, 11 persons from 7 leading funding organisations and 22 invited industry professionals (see Appendix for the full listings). Day 1 featured presentations from professionals and funders. Day 2 was a day of discussion within six groups with subsequent feedback and plenary discussion. Day 3 was a half day during which representatives of the training organisations reflected on Into the Future and future ATC activities.
This Report of Into the Future, along with the appendices, aims to provide a summary of the main issues discussed during the think tank together with some conclusions and recommendations.
Creating the context
In order to set the context for Into the Future all participants were sent a short briefing document which included the following:
“Why do we train people who are already working in the profession? The opportunity for professionals to train continuously at various points throughout a career in order to maintain skill levels and explore new developments seems essential to any industry hoping to be competent and competitive. Trying to improve the quality of the creative work itself has also been at the heart of many training programmes. Given that the script remains the cornerstone of a film's quality — even perhaps of its box office appeal — at stake here are the skills of the producers, author-directors and scriptwriters, in conjunction with how they interrelate. Such creative work and the interaction it involves is a sensitive and complex matter to which continuous training has had much to contribute.
Training also enables participants to think and reflect about their work and themselves. Encouraging new ideas and perspectives to emerge and to test these in an atmosphere of mutual trust is the essence of any good training as is the chance to review working processes and to consider potential changes in creative, business, organizational, collaborative and personal trajectories.
Networking has also become a crucial aspect of the training process. Since most training is organized in the form of workshops, participants are able to create and join networks which can play a crucial role in their career and company development, sharing of knowledge and skills, facilitating higher quality development processes and the possibility of well founded co-productions. The wide diversity of these networks has also addressed the economic reality that most European countries need to co-produce. Networking, then, has proved to be as essential to building a creatively rich and business like industry as learning new skills and applying them.
All this training activity has made a fundamental contribution to strengthening the European industry. It is relevant also to note that the training sector at its best has not been cut off from other areas of the industry but is invariably perceived by participants to be an integral part of a far wider creative and business set of networks which include markets, pitching forums, festivals as well as structured contact with key industry figures during the training process. From this perspective professional training is, simultaneously, a space for learning, project development, networking and enhanced integration into the European industry.
The welcome invention of MEDIA Mundus with its support of connection between European and other countries and continents could facilitate an even wider sharing and exchange of knowledge, skills, creativity, distribution and co-production through globally expanded network.
If much has been achieved over the last twenty years it is also very clear that we are now experiencing a period of considerable change, a great variety of new outlets for audio-visual production, many new techniques, new forms. We are moving towards a more complex and diverse media world in which the role, function and place of different areas of cinema, television, the internet, games etc and the relation between them are in a process of flux. It therefore becomes imperative to envisage the industry over the next 5 — 10 years as an essential pre-requisite to thinking about training for the future”.
In addition all participants were sent an initial set of questions designed to provide an introduction to the range of issues to be discussed during Into the Future:
- A solid training policy implies a clear and common definition of the industries and professionals to be trained.
- To what extent are the European media industries undergoing a profound process of change which will make them unrecognizable by 2020? What will the Cannes Festival look like in ten years time? What will it contain? How will it be delivered? Will it have become a global interactive event?
- Is ‘European cultural cinema’ the primary focus? Is this category a sustainable model or is it or should it be evolving in new ways in relation to formats, forms of development, production, exhibition and distribution? To what extent is this already happening?
- In the area of fiction should the feature film continue to be the primary focus of the collective efforts of cultural producers, funders and trainers? Has documentary been a more proactive adopter of new media than fiction? If so why?
- Should we collectively widen our horizons on creative production and the forms it might take?
- What are the existing and future priorities for European funders and policy makers? How do they anticipate the changes mentioned above?
- These questions imply that we require a clear and shared anticipation of the next decade in order to understand and define the way that many working roles within the industry will change.
- What new knowledge, skills, areas of responsibility do the producers, writers, post production supervisors, directors etc require now and in the future?
- What must be kept from the past, and what attributes and skills do people need now and in the future to be useful and prepared for the changing industry?
- How do training providers, policy makers and funders work together to ensure a balance between continuity and the integration of change? Is this already happening well enough?
- How should training providers adapt to this? Do some of the new cross platform training programmes offer new contents and ideas to us all?
- Have we reached the point where it is no longer useful to speak of ‘new media’ as a separate realm?
- The media industries, certainly the film industry in Europe, is a combination of culture and commerce. In recent years a mushrooming of films produced but many, often including major festival entries, with quite small distribution and sales potential. Most sales agents feel the market is becoming tougher and tougher.
- Do we as training providers have any responsibility for looking more closely at connections between finance, audiences and productions?
- Should we have a more sophisticated awareness of market segmentation — what can be expected of different types of productions?
- As European politicians predict an ‘age of austerity’ and budget reductions across all areas will the funding sector of the industry have to begin to re-think the size of budgets in relation to particular types of work and audience expectation?
- Should we be collectively reconsidering how European cultural media production can be re-shaped over the next decade to preserve the best of the past, essentially full length fiction and documentary features, but also welcome new forms equally enthusiastically?
- The European public has come to expect the technical standards (image, light and sound) boasted by major American productions. It is all the more important for the European film industry to remain on the cutting-edge technically at a time when an ever growing number of screens appear, and access to production knows almost no limits. Throughout its history, the film industry has both stimulated and integrated technical discoveries. Today's challenge lies with HD and 3D; tomorrow it will lie elsewhere.
- Should it be more of a priority for continuous training to integrate the technical dimension of filmmaking into its work?
- Is there sufficient mutual awareness about what the training providers offer and what the industry perceives its need to be?
- This is complicated by the increasing complexity of defining ‘the industry’. We might want to discuss whether it would be useful to create a forum where members of the industry, producers and funders, along with training providers could cooperate to discuss the needs and possibilities of existing and new fields of advanced training. Such a forum might begin by bringing people together from hitherto rather separate fields and an end the ‘old’ and ‘new’ media differentiation.
Into the Future, Day 1
Keynote speakers Michel Reilhac (Executive Director, ARTE France Cinéma) and Diana Elbaum (Producer, Entre Chien et Loup, Belgium). Presented below are a small selection of the ideas, themes and thoughts which arose from their presentations. See the full texts of both speeches in the Appendix.
"Cinema, cross media and public television: firm steps into uncertainty" by Michel Reilhac
- “Change is not just a phase we are going through but a structural dynamic state of things now“.
- “We are all faced with diminishing audiences and diminishing market shares”.
- Multiplatform content is competing with traditional television. The audience will no longer follow the conventional television schedule but rather want to watch whenever they want to.
- People have shorter attention spans, particularly the younger viewers. The process itself becomes more important. “Film is no longer a product but part of a process”.
- Playfulness and storytelling are the most important themes. Storytelling will still be the basic of filmmaking and that will not change, albeit all the new formats and devices.
- “There are no more models… but what do we train ourselves for if we don't know what the models are?“.
Download the full text
"Producing and training: facing up to change" by Diana Elbaum
- “Lets grab this new era as an opportunity to innovate, to dare and to dream. Yet again”.
- The European media industry is currently in transition with no clear and definable route. “It's a bit like pitching a film without actually knowing the end of the story”.
- “We must never, ever abandon the basic of filmmaking: it is story telling. No matter what tomorrow's audiences end up watching our stories on — an iphone, ipad, iwatch, ianything the size of popcorn — our stories have to be good”.
- “We must train producers and the whole chain to become flexible, to think out of the box. Training programmes have recognised this need, MEDIA Mundus has given the frame work. And this is a fantastic opportunity that could greatly benefit all continents, countries, directors, producers, funders and the market place”.
- “We have to learn new business languages, new ways to talk money, as the world's financing sources and systems evolve”.
- Financing becomes very difficult. “Tomorrow's producers will need to wear more caps than us. It's not enough to be creative. It's not enough to be business-savvy, it's not enough to be market-oriented, and it's not enough to be daring. We have to be all those things at once. And …we have to turn up the volume on all of those”.
Download the full text
Training policies in a shifting landscape
By Arnaud Pasquali (Head of Training and Promotion, MEDIA Programme)
Besides the training programmes which have been offered 4-year contracts to secure continuity, MEDIA Training has tried and continues to diversify its portfolio.
The major training trends are driven by main questions including:
- How to engage more closely with audiences
- How to master distribution
- How to find new funders and handle cross funding
The major trends are:
- Reinforcement of business skills around how to run a company: strategic planning, human resource policy, financial management, etc. (for example Screen Leaders EU/ FÁS).
- New media: alternative distribution patterns, funding of new formats (for example EsoDoc, Multi Platform Business School, Power to the Pixel, etc.).
- New technologies: HD and stereoscopic 3D
- Coproduction specialised skills: for example budgeting and scheduling, postproduction management, etc.
- Train the whole chain: from producers to festival managers
- Training the funders, give them exchange opportunities to share practice end enhance each national, regional, local audiovisual funding policy and mechanisms.
- Training the newcomers: trans and crossmedia production capacities, investigation of new market opportunities (YouTube, Orange, etc.).
Synergies and partnerships between MEDIA funded training activities and MEDIA funded (online or offline) market activities were further encouraged in order to reinforce each other side. Several training activities have now strategic partnership with markets — some beneficiaries are supported under both market access and training schemes (Institute of Documentary Film, Documentary Campus Masterschool, etc.).
On the strategic level, MEDIA Training strongly supports MEDIA Mundus as an opportunity to open training programmes to participants outside the European borders and to reach an international dimension.
MEDIA Training also looks for new marketing strategies for training activities in order to reach newcomers, including, for example, initial training institutions such as film schools.
The interaction between MEDIA Training and MEDIA Development could be further investigated.
By Nicolas Bideau (Chief Executive, Swiss Federal Office of the Interior — Film Department)
FOCAL — the Foundation for Professional Training in Cinema and Audiovisual Media — was launched in June 1990 as national and trans disciplinary scheme by the associations of professionals. Its training programmes cover the entire production and distribution chain. In other words it addresses more or less 2'000 film professionals within the country.
The investment of the Federal Office of Culture and some other sources for professional training amounts 1.5 mio Euro per year which is 5% of the total amount invested in Switzerland strictly for film production, which is around 30 mio Euro per year.
The goals defined for professional training are the following:
- To support the professionals in the development of their talents and competences on entrepreneurial, technical and creative levels;
- To reinforce networking and interaction among professionals;
- To ensure the continuity and transmission of the relevant know-how from one generation to the next;
- To be a Workshop of the Future for film and audiovisual production by critically appraising accepted models, thought and work methodology and by offering possible alternatives.
The contract between the Federal Office of Culture and FOCAL secures a global funding for its activities rather than a support project by project. This allows the Foundation to conceive a training policy on a long-term basis, accumulating experience and learning from its mistakes, and to thus continue investing in the development of unprecedented training models.
Producers Pooling Pilot is an example of a new training scheme launched in 2008. PPP is a development programme in which three production companies have to pool together with at least four feature film projects. They have to propose a solid expertise process involving the producers themselves, the authors and possibly the directors of the film projects. When an application is accepted, the pool can get up to 70'000 Euro to run the process over 18 months. PPP is a self training set that pushes the producers to think creatively, to be deeply involved and fully responsible for the result of the process. Of course FOCAL provides all necessary support for researches of the experts, for designing the working sessions, etc. But, ultimately, the producers have to lead the process which is also what they are expected to do along the whole film production.
A major concern in Switzerland is to secure a better visibility of Swiss film production and to support all efforts to gain a larger audience for Swiss films. This implies a producers' driven policy… and training has to find its place within this policy. As counterpart, the film community understands that the investment into professional training is more or less a direct support to the production. The training sets proposed by FOCAL are a solid and creative resource to professionalize screenwriters, directors, producers, technicians, distributors, etc. They are also a strong interface to consolidate film projects, from development to promotion.
If more skills and better projects are important factors for the quality of the films and therefore for the pleasure of an audience, and if we manage to build training schemes which can provide such quality know how, we have established an interaction which is crucial for the industry and worth a solid public funds investment.
by Katarina Krave (CFO, Film i Väst, Sweden).
Film i Väst is a Swedish regional film fund since 1997 and has coproduced 200 feature films since then. The fund has a 10 mio. Euro annual budget and a little of this amount is invested for professional training.
The Scandinavian production is too protective towards producers (not enough coproduction experiences and skills) and Film i Väst has therefore tried to open the game by hosting very valuable European training programmes like SOURCES, EAVE and ACE.
The challenges for the future are defined around the following questions connected to training, in particular for producers:
- How to face production in a very quickly changing world?
Explore and get skills to face digitalization of workflows and new media.
- How to finance and earn money from projects?
Positioning of producers within a new production and distribution landscape. Escape the classical Scandinavian coproduction and distribution schemes. Reduce the number of companies, expand their sustainability and multimedia production capacities.
- How to enhance management capacities?
Besides arthouse projects, development of commercial ambitions, new profiles and professionalization, brand building and audience targeting, international networking.
And a major topic for training is to prepare old fashioned but powerful decision makers to face the changing world.
Into the Future, Day 2
The second day featured related sessions involving all the Into the Future participants in a process of discussion and feedback.
A changing industry: issues and implications for professional training
Some of the main themes and questions identified during the first day were written up in a relatively informal way as an initial basis for discussion in six interdisciplinary groups. Each of the groups subsequently fed back to a plenary session of all participants.
- Theme: The audience's relation to stories has changed — they now have more interest in a mix of fantasy and their own reality.
- Question: How does that effect scriptwriting and development training?
- Theme: Everything is playful — the game industry, the way stories are dealt with, the process is a lot of trial and error, creativity is the key part of the new media.
- Question: How to embody that into training? Especially the training for the creative talents?
- Theme: Audiences have a shorter attention span in terms of duration and pace of the story — they tend to become more impatient when served with a film that has a slower pace and rhythm. New technological formats and the combination of these various worlds build new story structures.
- Question: How do we train these new story structures — do we have to also train shorter formats, in terms of dramaturgy — series, mini-series, cross-platform, trans-platform content — what does that mean in terms of storytelling and how to embody that into training. Again, what about the flexibility of that?
- Theme: Crossmedia — Transmedia — ARGs*. Game designers are moving towards the film industry.
- Question: Is that going to be a new category — how to embody that into script development? Does that affect the patterns of storytelling as they have to serve multiple platforms? What new concepts are there? Do we need to merge script development between game designer and scriptwriters? Is this a new training trend?
- Theme: The process is very open, no one knows where the new media is going, everything is in a constant flux.
- Question: Do we also need other structures of training programmes as well, more like labs, that are work in progress, such as the Swiss PPP, which has an open format ?
- Theme: Films tend to have a longer life, marketing often starts in pre-development, we need to be stronger on how to build new types of relationships with audiences.
- Question: How should training modify to incorporate these realities?
- Theme: The speed of technological progress and change is high and continuous.
- Question: How do we deal with continuous change in training programmes?
- Theme: Financing structures and methods tend to be persistently ‘old media’.
- Question: How do training programmes take this into account but also begin to recognize the need for change?
- Theme: As Woody Allen said "Wealth is better than poverty even if only for financial reasons". We need to train producers to become business-savvy professionals. Tomorrow's producers will need to wear more caps than us. We have to learn new business languages, new ways to talk money, as the world's financing sources and systems evolve. This is not easy, nor does it come naturally.
- Question: How do we teach financing and business strategy if everything is in a constant flux? By crossing the areas? By training them together, by bringing lawyers and film producers and bankers and engineers into one workshop?
- Theme: The structure of film crews have changed, we need all kinds of new roles in our teams.
- Question: What kind of team members are we talking about — community managers, bloggers, data wranglers — when and how do we use them for our projects and how to budget them?
- Theme: Cinema needs an audience but audiences are not born… no young people around. We are losing hopefully only one generation of the audience — in order to build that up we need workshops by professionals for teachers.
- Question: Do we have to train the kids — European wide programme with certain topics every year in order to build a new generation of audience?
- Theme: MEDIA will have a new budget in 2014, They will start negotiating it right now. And MEDIA International, which serves the need to act and network globally, is brand new. And already the results are quite encouraging.
- Question: How can we make sure that the budget for 2014 will not be cut — and we have to start now to lobby? Strategies are required.
*An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions.
Into the Future: perspectives, plans and actions
There was a very wide ranging process of discussion in the groups looking at the changing nature of the industry and how training organisations have and might respond, develop and transform in the future. Following discussion in the six smaller groups the results were fed back to a full plenary session of all participants. By the closure of Day 2 the following conclusions/thoughts/ideas had been identified:
Some broad conclusions
- Traditional skills are valuable and need to be transmitted, but we also have to embrace the change and integrate new ideas and current trends and development within our existing programs: classical training should not be thrown away but must coexist with, invent and integrate new models
- Our world and our industry have become global. So training across national borders is needed but also beyond the borders of Europe. We can't stress enough the importance of MEDIA Mundus as a means of strengthening the European media industry.
- One of Europe's strengths is its diversity! As niches become more important in the media industry — this is a business advantage of Europe versus the classical media countries — it is important to keep this ability to communicate across borders and to support and defend cultural diversity.
- There should be an emphasis on the re-invention of public service for digital platforms even if it is not funded or delivered through broadcasters. Supporting digital platforms, communication and creativity in the public space as well as the private sector is fundamental to European democracy.
Trends, guidelines and propositions with regard to professional training in the future
- R & D
It would be extremely helpful if funders would accept budget lines for research & development within the existing training initiatives in order to experiment, to develop new ideas, new partnerships and hence, to provide a continuous process of developing and adapting the programmes to the new times.
- Training forms and pedagogical structures
A direct influence of the ‘new world’ and the development of interactivity is a shift in training forms and pedagogical structures. Training has to be organic, flexible and playful. Training organisations should see themselves sometimes as facilitators of interdisciplinary, peer-to-peer exchange as well as offering certain areas of expertise. Training should become more horizontal and less vertical. Sandpits, innovation labs in which people from different disciplines can invent the future together, are becoming as important as the classical training.
- A platform to face the evolution of the audiovisual media
As the changes require media professionals to be more multifarious and versatile in various very different areas, another proposal was to organise a cross initiative created by the existing training organisations in order to analyse and identify the impact of new technologies, the new media and the globalisation on the European media industry, specifically in regards of the development, the financing and production, the post-production, the distribution and exploitation of media content. This initiative would be open to not only trainers and professionals from the classical film industry (which would include writers, directors, producers, distributors, sales agents, exhibitors, VoD-platform-managers) but also to experts and people from the other, somehow related areas, including the games industry, the music world, theatre, IP and technology experts, financiers and bankers. The goal of such an initiative could be to share experience and skills, identify potential impacts and to discuss measures how to react and adapt to the changes to come.
- About producers
The need for the future will be for 'audio visual producers' rather than single medium specialists: people who can work across platforms, swim across a wide range of seas. There is a need for introducing producers to new emerging business models while not losing sight of the basic skills and knowledge of managing budgets, teams and deadlines. Producers have to integrate the new formats and workflows into their daily business. The role of the producer will be even more diverse than it used to be, requiring an enhanced understanding and knowledge of new technologies, marketing, distribution (in all its new forms) and business and company development. Producers need to use new and old funding systems and to be able to speak the language of banks, private financiers, exhibitors and VoD platform managers.
- Audience, marketing, social media
Producers also clearly have to understand their audience much better. The producer is much closer to audience than previously, web promotion, internet etc. provide a direct contact between the professionals and the consumers. It is important for producers to understand this changing relationship with audiences and/or users. Therefore it is necessary for the producers to also understand social media and how to use, and to deal with activities such as viral marketing strategies and crowd sourcing. This is not only to use new platforms to market and distribute classical media products but also to deal with the invention of new forms and formats, some predicated on user-participation and collaboration, targeting at the new digital media audience.
- The creative triangle
The “creative triangle”, i.e. writer, director and producer should be strengthened as an entity. So far, most of the training programmes tend to concentrate on producing and/or writing whilst directors are often neglected. The central role of the director must not be forgotten — especially in relation to professional training.
- Writing, story development and architecture
There are few story and script development workshops and training initiatives that deal with the skills required for interactive or participatory formats. Some people even use the words “story architect” or “story designer” versus the screenwriter. The question was, does this have an impact on how to train “writers” various skills? It was extensively discussed how far the “new” content is a new way of storytelling or just a derivative of the classical narrative form. And the consensus was clearly that the basic principle of storytelling according to Aristotle will not change, even if the formats might change and interactivity or cross platform becomes a fact, therefore the “traditional” screenwriter's skills have to be trained. But there is a need to enhance the knowledge on what kind of formats are available. These workshops should be targeted at screenwriters/storytellers as well as directors and producers.The film industry professionals need to understand the evolution of the market and the newcomers need to be able to cope with such formats in order to be competitive.
- New professional profiles
It is clear that new workflows and therefore new professions have appeared. Besides the ‘story architect’ versus the ‘screenwriter’, there are others such as DIT (Digital Intermediate Technician) — in old times they were called clapper/loader but with the rise of HD cameras like the RED the clapper/loader is now a highly trained and organized data manager who stores and organizes about 150GByte per shooting day.
There is also the Community Manager — a job that has not existed before in the film business — people who identify and access the target audience(s) on the web to promote a film. It is not clear yet, with the redefinition of what is today the structure of a production, whether the community manager is to be included in the production company, the distribution company or even the sales agency? Does the work of the community manager has an impact on the storytelling and/or development and if so, how? For some kinds of film and or genres, there will be a need or a possibility to prefigure the audience from the start and involve the audience in the development process and thus create a direct link. This could be part of the job description of the community manager. Then that position would be clearly in the production company or not? Will the distributors start working very closely with the producers, writers and directors from an early stage on? Or will the producer, considering the rise of digital cinema and its future potential, take over the marketing from the distributors by using their own knowledge they derive directly from the audience and thus reduce the role of the distributor to just a booking and billing company.
- Decision makers/funders knowledge and potential innovation
Enhanced knowledge about trans and crossmedia for decision makers is crucial. At present few decision makers/funders know where we are going and in reality very few concrete projects have appeared so far. Funders should emphasize flexibility and be ready to face new projects landing on their desks. Perhaps funders should invest some money now for experimental projects/pilots — not only to explore new distribution channels but also alternative storytelling, etc.
Some practical consequences of Into the Future
Directly following Into the Future training providers and professionals were invited to feedback immediate responses to the following questions:
- Did you implement or do you plan to implement any changes in your training programmes and training practices inspired by the discussions which have taken place during Into the Future? And if yes, which changes?
- What are the main conclusions you have drawn from Into the Future?
“In the 2011 edition of Script & Pitch Workshops, dedicated usually to writers, directors and story editors, we have now launched a call also for community managers and audience engagement designers that can observe closely the development of the scripts during two workshops and start thinking of the possible audience before the film is produced. During the final pitch in front of invited producers, these new participants will also share their audience engagement plan with the invited professionals. We plan to find these new participants among those “internet born” young employed by distributors and producers.
Also, we will try to create a writer's room dedicated to one selected transmedia project: one of the groups will be composed of writers, game designers, story editors and producers, working together for three workshops and two online sessions.
I found Into the Future stimulating, important to find the “energy” that will enable us to face the new challenging opportunities that lie in the future of filmmaking and also a great platform to share ideas and find new partners in this adventure.”
(Savina Neirotti, Director MGLAB Italia)
“The elements FOCAL intends to further develop and implement (if proven relevant), inspired by the discussions during Into the Future are:
- Training modules dedicated to trans and crossmedia production;
- Training modules dedicated to new storytelling forms;
- A training programme dedicated to "Training for Funders";
- A European training promotion tool.”
The triangular interaction between film professionals, training providers and funders has been very creative and efficient. The point of view of the film professionals about the future of the audiovisual industry was very helpful to start thinking about new training concepts (see question 1). As counterpart such meetings also consolidate the understanding and interest of the industry and funders for high quality professional training. It can therefore be considered as a true win-win experience.”
(Pierre Agthe, Director FOCAL)
“It was great inspiration for the new activity I am currently starting, which is focused on “works in progress”, rough cuts and distribution on digital media. For me it brought these conclusions:
- During the workshop plan three days for producers only for “inspiration”, not any development of projects — info about interesting projects and what new technologies offer, they should be more informed and progressive, let them connect with people from other art forms speak about new projects, inspiration comes from information and most of them doesn't have time for that.
- Try to find some examples how to use this new technologies for financing films, more search for new way of distribution examples, new strategies.
- That there is end of time when was possible and economically sustainable to have only classical film production financed through film funds and TV — and we should prepare producers for that.
- That sometimes is only inspiration without any project development and duties connected to that very important, just to stop and start thing about issue other way.
(Andrea Prenghyova, Director, Institute of Documentary Film)
“We will have a “Think Tank on Digital Arts” on November 25th with national and international experts (practitioners) and media scientists, including our own faculty. The objective is to explore, to which extent knowledge and operational competence of interactive storytelling, 3D, CGI, VFX etc. should be implemented into our classical film education in the fields of screenwriting, directing, creative production cinematography, editing and sound. Furthermore we would like to draw conclusions on how to build an extra Interactive media/ Visual arts program, possibly a two year-master-program. The technical devices, software etc. needed for this field are also an issue.
The main conclusions are: The current massive change within the media is a challenge in the sense, that it does not only revolutionize the production and distribution of audiovisual media, but it also changes the perception of reality. This change of perception will have a massive influence on form and content within the production of audiovisual media. There boundaries within the established segments of media production are vanishing. Everything is converging. We will converge with the machines. Basically it means the end of classical film production, which means that we will have to restructure — not only single programs — but the whole school.”
(Simone Stewens, Chief Executive Director IFS Internationale Filmschule Köln)
“We are planning to implement new modules within our training programme including a variety of new aspects, forms, techniques and possibilities of an increasingly complex audiovisual industry. However, we are not yet ready to define these modules which have to be carefully designed. In general, we are experiencing a transmission phase towards an incredibly complex audiovisual media world, in which professionals have to find their orientation exploring new ways within a huge variety of possibilities.”
(Renate Gompper, Chief Executive, SOURCES)
“The challenge for training providers and programmes is to become more dynamic, playful, interdisciplinary and individualized in order to embrace the changes of an industry in revolution.
At EAVE, we will try to focus even more on ‘new’ media and new forms of online and digital distribution and production. We will also put even more emphasis on developing the entrepreneurial skills of the producers. And we are actively discussing new formats and ideas for workshops.
The future is unknown but full of opportunities. Traditional skills are valuable and need to be transmitted, but we also have to embrace the change and integrate new ideas and current trends and development within our existing programmes: classical training should not be thrown away, but coexist with new models.”
(Kristina Trapp, CEO EAVE)
“It was made clear that we were not experiencing a new market trend but a drastic change of the audiovisual industry, reflecting changes of our society. The future is unclear, therefore a constant communication, share of experiences with other peers (at any level) has never been so vital for the professionals we train and for us, the training organisations. The conference has not only shown there is competence and quality in terms of professional training in Europe but also an interest in this changing audiovisual industry and a strong wish to be able keep on providing a quality training answering the changing needs of audiovisual professionals. The community feeling was strong at the ItF conference; spending more time together should for sure create new synergies and collaborations within the existing network of training programmes. One issue though: time is money. Taking time to bring appropriate changes to our programmes is vital but costs money. There should be an eligible budget line for research & development in the MEDIA budget template as soon as possible. Professional training could play a more significant role in the audiovisual industry being a professional lab to experiment new ideas, concepts and schemes that could benefit to the whole industry”.
(Sophie Bourdon, Chief Executive / Head of Studies ACE)
“The key issue is keeping the trainers up to date with digital change so that we are conveying accurate and contemporary ideas, facts and figures. We need to stop buying into as many case studies and as many unique cases; we need more access to authoritative information. As trainers, we need more results of research on digital change. That research has to be done according to disciplined procedures, not based, as it is now, on word of mouth. We need less "optimism" and more concrete information on the financial requirements and rewards, and those of time, talent, skill and effort.
The trainers have to balance the non-digital reality that itself changes constantly (the recent improvement in TV sales and pre-buys at MIPCOM) with digital change. Both conventional access to audiences and newer digital access progress constantly and trainers need to focus on both.
The public funders need training and regular updating on digital change. We can train all the producers we want but if new programmes and new considerations do not become part of public funding policies, we are wasting our time.
(Linda Beath, Finance and Company Development Consultant, trainer, Ideal Filmworks Italia)
“Training needs to embrace transmedia means of distribution and dissemination, with a real emphasis on how to monitise and finance both the ‘traditional’ and new media content. With pre sales almost extinct, this is a growing imperative.
Good storytelling and fine directing remain a pre requisite for any visual form of story telling, however there is a new need to broker relationships between traditional visual storytellers (producers, writers, directors) and new media operatives. There is also a need for some training some new roles for the film industry — some of which we don't yet have ‘titles’ for — such as social networking manager (someone who will raise the profile of a film, building a community and audience, across the course of the production. This is particularly important for European films, with limited marketing spend, as it is a very cost effective way of marketing a film.
(Janine Marmot, producer, Hot Property Films, former Head of Film at Skillset, United Kingdom)
“There is an urgent need for trainers to become familiar with new distribution channels and associated new program formats.
There is no need to integrate the new formats in any training program, these formats will exist beside the traditional ones, and will not cannibalize them.
However, there is a need for any training to clearly define the trained formats and how and where they are affected by the new ones, for instance in marketing & distribution.
One negative conclusion: trainers expect from professionals to follow the principle of life-long-learning, however they do not seem to feel to be subject to this principle themselves, train the trainers continues to be a complete tabu in our profession.
(Luciano Gloor, producer, consultant, trainer, Germany)
Illustrations: Magi Wechsler
- "Producing and training: facing up to change", Diana Elbaum
- "Cinema, cross media and public television: firm steps into uncertainty", Michel Reilhac
- Participants' List (Film and Crossmedia Professionals, Public Funding Bodies Representatives, Training Providers