Launch Post

Fri, Mar 20, 2009

Not From Concentrate

launching not from concentrate

[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.

TV Lover

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.


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19 Responses to “Launch Post”

  1. Jason Hall says:

    With you all the way on this one … so best of luck on the new venture.

  2. Julia Higginbottom says:

    I love that you are trying to tap a new seam of talent too.Keep up the good work. we will watch with interest, but would like to see more about you and you other experience/interests.
    Good luck.

  3. Nick Carson says:

    What an inspiring and refreshing starting point. Not From Concentrate deserves to be a massive success after 4Talent Networks was cut off in its prime. Next stop Hollywood!

  4. 4Talent Networks is dead, long live 4Talent Networks!

  5. Well, you’ve got one dedicated reader right here. Excellent starting point – hopefully soon to be followed by lots more great stuff.

  6. Nigel Anderson says:

    And their off! Hope to see you making good ground sharp-ish. We want great TV, and we want to be a part of it.

    Channel 4 can still pull it off — thought Red Riding was outstanding.

  7. Lara Greenway says:

    As uttered previously – best of luck with all this, James!

  8. Barry J Gibb says:

    Great attitude. Thank crikey someone is looking out for us indies. Looking forward to seeing what happens…

  9. Mike Powell says:

    Great start! Excited to see how this all pans out!

  10. Angalossy says:

    From our humble beginnings (and actually still humble!) we’ve felt the support of 4 Talent Networks and are hugely supportive of its new guise. Can’t wait to do a feature on you as soon as we launch. Good luck big man!

    Angalossy x

  11. Bravo – changing the script in life is what we all need once in a while. Look forward to more …

  12. Kathy Greethurst says:

    Great to read your first blog.
    You know – self-belief is the biggest leg up to success.
    Go for it.

  13. Sarah Gordy says:

    The best is not the usual, heres to wider vision.


  14. Anthony Travis says:

    Hi James

    Best of luck with the venture.

    The irony in constantly moaning about wanting something exciting an new, yet refusing to look at anything from anyone unproduced seems completely lost on the suits. But then that’s why so much (but not all) British TV is safe, unimaginative and copycat.

    Maybe we can provide the safe and boring brigade withthe sort of kick up the arse that punk (temporarily, unfortunately) gave the music industry back in the 70s!

  15. Charlie says:

    well i’m up for it let me know what i can do!

  16. Barbara Chinn says:

    Bon voyage! I’ve a pack of multi-coloured Post-It index tags and ream of green paper that I’d happily donate to your cause to show appreciation at what you’re trying to accomplish.

    I’m one of those people who’ve been writing TV scripts on an off for years – without success. I was particularly proud of a set of four short drama scripts that were deemed too contentious for the viewing public back in 1994! They were based on reality. Wonder if I should resurrect them. I’m currently brainstorming and having a go at a sitcom. It’s tough going because I keep going online and getting distracted by blogs like yours! It is very encouraging to read what people are saying to you. Thank you and thank them and good luck to all those creative people who want to share their creativity.

  17. Dan Bullock says:

    Absolutely keeping an eye on this, a very intriguing idea and somehow I’d love to be a part of it all, good times. :)

  18. Ben Kingsmill says:

    Great looking site,very interesting. Good luck

  19. Mïk says:

    Thanks for using my photo, and actually attributing credit with a link. This is very nice to see in this website…hope ya’ll get tons’a traffic.

    /Who’s a brick?

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