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Creative Sparks

Tue, Jun 23, 2009

TV & Media Industry

creative sparks

[Photo by SadJr]

Great mix of meetings last week with broadcasters, indies and emerging creatives, as the Not From Concentrate network widens, gradually getting the word out about this – increasingly apparent – unique approach to finding new content ideas from the rich seam of undiscovered talent across the globe.

From the industry side of things, I was privy to a couple of great anecdotes about sparks of ingenuity that have led to employment or commissions, both of which further strengthen the case for exploring wider circles of creative savvyness.

Creative Job Application

The first one – one that reminded me of my own entry into the media world, courtesy of a spoof covering letter to BSkyB – concerned replies to a job vacancy in a broadcaster’s development team.

Hundreds of applications came in, with the same old blarney, cut-and-pasted CVs and sanctimonious twaddle, apart from one young lad who had sent in two bespoke Subbuteo football teams.

He’d ‘dressed’ the first team in cut-out strips representating the current stable of bland TV shows, played out – and repeated ad-infinitum – on ‘traditional’ TV channels. Boring, boring, boring. The opposing team, meant to represent his potential employer, had been kitted out in sparkly new strips full of bright colours, new titles and iconography.

[I'd love to use a real-life footie analogy here, but my woefully limited knowledge of the beautiful game precludes me from doing so.]

And, needless to say, he got the job. He wasn’t actually the strongest candidate in terms of experience and needed a decent amount of handholding in his new role, but by taking such a creative approach to a mundane task, this new voice won the day.

New Talent, New Voices

A slightly less left-field tale came from a development exec at a leading but one of the smaller indies. Adopting a refreshing approach to new talent and being very open to collaboration, a wave of ideas had landed on this exec’s desk, most of which, unfortunately, were the normal mixture of me-too formats and general nonsense.

Amongst the pile of treatments was a picture sent in by a graphic artist. A photograph actually, a Photoshopped piece of artwork depicting fairies in a garden or other domestic setting. The sheer beauty of this simple picture made such an impact on the exec that she and her team immediately started to work up an idea for a short-form children’s programme that’s currently in production.

These are just two examples of how new creative voices have managed to find a home within the industry. I suspect there’s probably a fair few such tales out there but I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands, more missed opportunities like these that are crying out to be discovered.

Aggregating such creativity and talent is Not From Concentrate’s raison d’etre and, with the news that the BBC has stopped updating [= stopped funding?] its much lauded New Talent initiative [with no public announcement, if my Googling is correct], then the sooner the better.

I’m waiting for a response from Auntie about the demise of said New Talent initiative – update to follow if received – and in the meantime we echo the strapline on the banner ads for Broadcast’s Media Festival in November: “Creativity has become a Necessity.”

And then add a wee post-script of our own, 2006-stylee: “Like, durrr…”

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