Firstly, can I thank everyone who was at the event on Tuesday night - it was an impressive turn-out of people passionate about (re)building a TV industry in the region - just as we'd hoped for. One of the many routes forward for attracting productions to the region is obviously to develop quality homegrown projects (not a quick process). So part of the debate must focus on this in terms of funding, development processes (and access to them), and so on.
Great to see a really brilliant turn out. That in itself speaks volumes about why it is absolutely right to take positive proactive and co-ordinated action - to get back to having great drama from the West Midlands. It will take a long term approach. Re-educating people outside of the region about what the new amazing reality of the area now is rather than the stereo typical perception of what it once was. Targeted positive promotional campaigns at key decision makers of drama - buyers, policy makers and financiers. Access to current fresh show reels and sample scripts from the talent in the region on a number of sites. The long term forming of a high profile national or international event like Salford Quays, Cambridge Convention, Edinburgh Film Festival, Sheffield Docs, Nottingham Games Fair - why not the Birmingham Drama Festival (Television film, theatre and radio)? To move forward, it should not just be the production community, it needs committed and proactive support from other bodies like BCC, BCU, the RSC, RTS Midlands, BAFTA, BECTU, PACT, Advantage West Midlands, EQUITY, the Tourist Office, National Trust, etc - all who can collectively offer an incredible and rich variety of locations, support and people to make the West Midlands the natural home of drama. I hope hundreds of ideas and a willingness to contribute come forward. This would then help and inform Screen West Midlands on a key objective with committed support rather than simply being tasked to get on with getting drama to the West Midlands along with all their other pressures and priorities. It definitely will not come to us. We have to go and get it.
I see someone has suggested doing a comparison of costs between London and the Midlands. Can I suggest building on that and creating a page on this website, something like, 'Ten reasons why you should make your drama in the West Midlands.' Which could include the cost comparison along with availablity of talent and locations etc.This would serve two purposes. Informing any interested parties looking at this website and also if any of us were going to a production meeting it could make a ready make crib sheet to try and persuade them to make our project in the region.
1. Let's have a really positive 'campaign slogan' to rally the troops. Suggestions could be made on this webpage rather than take up time at the next meeting. Then decide by a show of hands next time. Just to get the ball-rolling, how about 'TV Drama in the Midlands - Moving Forward'? Or 'TV Drama in the Midlands - Looking Ahead'?2. Let's create a web presence to which drama-makers outside the area can easily be referred. A stand-alone website? Perhaps a section on the ScreenWM website? The latter already has a lot of the relevant information but an insufficient emphasis on TV drama (for the purposes of this project).Note - an important element of that website should be location shots. Don't ask the world to take our word for it or direct readers to links. Let's show, right from the start, the trendy architecture of our urban street scenes, the rolling pastures of the surrounding countryside. 3. Any individual/company who has received any funding from ScreenWM should be personally invited to get involved in this project. Funding recipients will welcome the opportunity to give a little back to the community in return for the financial help he/she has received.
1) This site should be linked to from the Producers' Forum, Script Online and ScreenWM. It needs more comments.2) It is already a "stand alone site" and was put together days after the meeting. We should thank the person who did this.3) A separate page for costings (someone mentioned they had documents relevant to this)4) A separate page for locations. This should include photographs. These could be used on the front page of this site too.5) Slogan Suggestion, I like the one above: WANTED More Midlands TV Drama
There needs to be a website which we could all direct commissioners to. One stop for all their questions and our suggestions to them. This website should have no strings attached like the existing websites do. These over-tout their own services and make membership a condition of sharing their information. If everybody at the first meeting got behind such a project and did their bit to promote it - it would only be a matter of time before it achieved results. I was surprised to see this website up and running. Wow someone doing what they said they would! I'm not surprised to see it has stalled already.
It's great that this website is up and running, that's a great start. I think the next step might be two fold.a) Think of ways of promoting this website and thus the idea behind.b) Get some activity on this website going in terms of people doing projects and helping local talent to get together. Is it possible to do a forum on here?
Let's get specific.What do YOU need for there to be a flourishing tv industry here? What skills/opportunities are you lacking? Training/development - if so, what? Facilities/resources - what? Funding - what for?What have other regions got that we haven't, eg medium/large independent tv production companies.We urgently need some hard info to devise a way forward. Please be as detailed/specific as you can.
The TV Strategy Group has now published its consultation document regarding Rebuilding the TV Industry in the West Midlands. This aims to identify the needs in the region. The next stage is to find ways of addressing those needs (with min funding) so your ideas on this are essential. Please see Screenwriters Forum website http://screenwritersforum.org for the full text and how to respond.
We need to have politicians on board to get investment in new facilities. up to the present the philosophy has been "the BBC and ITV have abandoned their studios so we will scrap all the facilities and treat film and TV in the region like amateur dramatics on film". Pebble Mill studios have gone ATV studios are due for demolition to make way for office blocks. Birmingham City council assumed that Digbeth was a place where you could make films, regardless of the lack of studios suitable for drama. We need to educate the politicians and the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
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