Fri, Mar 20, 2009
[Photo by Mik]
So, here we are then – almost three whole months since I left the hallowed halls of Channel 4 HQ – without so much as a pack of Post-It® notes.
And straight into new and uncharted waters – Not From Concentrate is firmly focused on carrying on the success and legacy that was 4Talent Networks and turning its ethos and goals into a commercial and sustainable proposition – perhaps an oxymoron these days?
I’ve been feeling both excited and a little nervous, truth be told. Much like being Amy Winehouse’s agent, I suspect.
I ‘fell’ into this industry just over a decade ago, applying for a Listings Editor role at Sky TV on the back of a spoof covering letter, which accompanied a CV documenting my previous career in Logistics and Supply Chain Management for the likes of The Coca-Cola Corporation and Diageo. I was instrumental in getting soft drinks and hard liquor into the territories of the former Soviet Union when the Berlin Wall came a-crashing down in the autumn of ’89. But don’t hold that against me.
Bye Bye Channel 4, Hello World
And thus for the last ten years or so, I’ve been in the incredibly privileged position of working with a team of amazing people with a shared vision, who, between us, have been helping to showcase creative – and largely undiscovered – talent, develop and mentor them and feed them and their ideas into the commissioning departments at Channel 4 and the wider production community.
So, actually, I’ve never really left the world of supply and demand, but have integrated my experience into the only acceptable face of people trafficking.
If any biographers fancy telling my story – working title: A Coke Dealer’s Life In Media – please do get in touch.
What’s driving me in this new venture is the absolute belief – and tangible proof – that outside the libraries of industry’s Little Black Books is a rich seam of untapped creative talent that’s just waiting to be mined.
As an avid consumer of content – TV being my preferred medium – my general feeling is that those who produce and publish it are, in the main, risk-averse these days. Not a surprise of course, given the rabid rivalry for ratings and ad revenues and well-documented elsewhere, but, knowing how open we consumers are to the new and experimental, there’s still a reticence to give as yet undiscovered talent a bite of the cherry.
I’ve had meetings with Talent Managers who bemoan the fact that they can’t find the Next Big Thing, but then refuse point-blank to receive any unsolicited material, preferring only to work with ‘proven successes’.
So we, the viewers, get lame, unimaginative rehashes of existing formats littering the schedules, much like those darned freesheet distributors who, despite your copy of Metro, London Lite, the londonpaper et al being obviously on show, still insist on shoving another blessed issue in your face.
As you’re already here, I know I’m preaching to a converted majority, but in case you still need baptising, I’ll be posting regularly my take on the progression of this ‘off radar approach’ to talent and content format development, from all sides of the business. Some commentary, some simplistic opinion – hell, even some facts – and introducing guest editorial contributors from different walks of this crazy world.