Skills, Training, Learning

View from the Top banner

At DEGNZ we undertake a considerable amount of professional development to advance the craft of directing and editing. We are not the only screen industry guild or association to do so.

Right now however, there is a confluence of activity occurring in the education sector that will have a significant impact on the screen industry, hopefully for the better.

In August, the Government announced the Reform of Vocational Education. This comes in part, I believe, because of the decline in the apprenticeship system that was brought about by a radical restructuring and liberalisation of the economy and education sector by the fourth Labour Government in the 1980s.

The inability of Polytechnics to financially survive is another reason. Case in point is Unitec in Auckland’s Mt Albert, the country’s largest institute of Technology. Unitec has been in financial difficulty for years, and this has long been known in the screen industry. Whitirea and WelTec are two others in the same boat.

It’s clear though that the workplace is changing. Lower skilled jobs are disappearing because of automation and other factors, while new jobs are coming to the fore. These new jobs need increased training to upskill the workforce for the new roles being created.

What’s all this got to do with us?

Well, as we know the Creative Sector is a funny old beast. Most of us are contractors and there are few large companies. But, we will continue to undergo rapid change due to technology, and more importantly, there is a crew shortage due to the significant level of production activity happening here. Consequently, there is a need to encourage more workers into the industry and to train them to meet the demand.

The Government is looking to the Reform of Vocational Education to bring about seven key changes that they hope will create a unified vocational education system:

  1. Create Workforce Development Councils (WDC) to give industry greater leadership across vocational education.
  2. Establish Regional Skills Leadership Groups to provide advice about the skills needs of their regions.
  3. Establish Te Taumata Aronui to help ensure that the Reform of Vocational Education reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori Crown partnerships.
  4. Create a New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, bringing together the existing 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), such as Unitec, Whitirea and WelTec.
  5. Shift the role of supporting workplace learning from Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to providers.
  6. Establish Centres of Vocational Excellence to grow excellent vocational education provision and share high-quality curriculum and programme design across the system.
  7. Unify the vocational education funding system.

The Tertiary Education Commission is now proposing to establish a industry specific training organisation for the Creative Sector, something the industry hasn’t had before. This WDC would be the voice of industry, participating in a virtuous circle with employers, educational providers and educational bodies to help ensure a focused and effective approach to vocational training.

At the same time, The Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa NZ (Techos) is seeking to implement tactical initiatives to get more skilled workers on the ground fast. They are working together in the Auckland region with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), who are making a concerted effort to build capability in this area, too. There is a national focus on vocational training for all sectors including the Creative Sector, to ensure the regions benefit as well. The Film Commission, the guilds and numerous other bodies and organisations are looking at supporting this push to shape education for our sector.

It is interesting to observe that the concept of apprenticeships in the Creative Sector is a topic of conversation that has risen to the surface as all of this goes on. At DEGNZ, we have made a real effort this year in the area of assistant editors and we have often discussed an apprenticeship-style model. Our director attachments for TV drama, while definitively not apprenticeships, do deliver the on the job-training that epitomises apprenticeship schemes.

For many in the screen industry, the key to success can often be just getting out there and practising the craft. There’s no doubt though that the formal approach of vocational training will better equip many to find their way into the industry and help ensure sunstainable careers in an ever-changing workplace environment.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

 

 

 

War of the SVODs World

View from the Top banner

Well it’s happening. The SVOD wars have really kicked off.

Apple TV+ debuted in New Zealand on 1 November with 14 original shows. Very much a tortoise approach from Apple, and you don’t have to pay for it for a year if you’ve bought an Apple product recently. Otherwise you’re up for $8.99/month.

Disney+ meanwhile will be off like a hare at the starting gates, launching more than 600 movies and shows from Day 1, being 12 November (19 Nov. in NZ). Expect every household in the country with kids to at least consider adding a subscription at $9.99/month.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock will soft launch in April 2020 with 15,000 hours of programming, while HBO Max comes online in May with more than 10,000 hours of programming.

Netflix is already feeling the heat.

FilmTake reports that Netflix lost subscribers for the first time in the U.S. since they started in 2011. It has likely reached saturation in the market, and we can expect to see the massive international growth of Netflix to slow or halt, or worse for them, decline.

We all thought Netflix was shaking the screen industry to its core, and it has. But it was primarily Google and Facebook that was impacting on New Zealand’s Free-to-Air market, taking advertising dollars away from TV screens.

The initial streaming entities in NZ did contribute to a decline in Free-to-Air viewership, but our Free-to-Air market was still holding up with significant numbers of New Zealanders continuing to watch mainstream TV. But is that going to be the case now with Disney+ and Apple+ in the market, together with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Neon, and Lightbox and with others to come?

You have to imagine that Neon and Lightbox are fretting about their continued existence, unless Neon has done a deal to retain HBO content and possibly keep HBO Max out of the NZ market. Spark-owned Lightbox will most likely be the first casualty unless their strategy has sport and other offerings in the wings. Spark has the All Blacks and cricket afterall. Unlike Peacock, who is mooted to pursue sport, news and live programming, Spark doesn’t have the programming and financial resources of NBC and Unversal to draw upon. It’s rumoured though that Lightbox is for sale. You’d need big cojones to step into that space , or cash+ and programming+. Streamers who don’t have studio majors and/or their parents as backers are really at a disadvantage. With Netflix now paying a premium to license shows because they are losing the content owned by their competitors, you can’t imagine our locally-owned streamers having deep enough pockets to play in the big leagues. And how much longer will our broadcasters be able to access the best of international product?

At TVNZ, Kevin Kendrick is focusing on more NZ content to differentiate its Free-to-Air and OnDemand brands and help to avoid the price wars on the international scene for programming. This is an area they are likely to be able to call their own, as we can’t expect the international SVODs to commission much here unless they are forced to as the Australians are seriously contemplating making them do. With reality TV to undoubtedly feature highly in the offering, is TVNZ really going to be able to keep NZ viewers in good numbers?

What about Three? Only the woman upstairs knows what’s going to happen there. The gossip: it’s going to be bought by… someone.

Kris Faafoi’s decision about what to do with the soon-to-be loss-making TVNZ and with public broadcasting becomes even more critical now.

And just as this is all happening, NZ On Air CEO Jane Wrightson resigns to become the new Retirement Commissioner.

Jane has done a fantastic job navigating NZ On Air through the tumultuous changes that have impacted on broadcasting in the 12 years she’s been at the helm. But has she been prescient?

In this now constantly changing screen industry world, we’ll undoubtedly find out if NZ On Air gets retired before Jane runs her course in her new job. We’ll certainly learn whether or not Netflix will survive. If you are a producer on a multi-year pay down schedule for the content you sold them, you are going to be hoping somebody will buy Netflix out rather than it going under. As of 30 September, Netflix reported US$12.43 billion in debt and they are adding to it to keep the originals and higher-priced acquisitions coming. That US$292 Netflix share price is definitely going to take a hit sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, hunker down and get binge watching. There’s going to be more than enough for everyone with one, two or three SVOD subscriptions… for a very long time.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

2019 Screen Guilds Christmas Parties

,

Members, it’s that time again! We’d love for you to join us at the combined Guilds’ end of year celebrations.

RSVP essential

Christchurch – Wed 27 November, 6pm
RSVP now

Auckland – Wed 4 December, 6pm
RSVP now

Wellington – Wed 11 December, 6pm
RSVP now

 

Young Creators: Serious about Series

, ,
Flat3

Make something. Anything. And be prepared to face some hard unpaid work. JJ Fong and Ally Xue will discuss how they found their creative soulmates (Roseanne Liang and Perlina Lau) to form Flat3 Productions, and turned their pipe dream into a reality.

If you’re serious, or even curious, about making web series, you won’t want to miss this honest Young Creators session with the filmmakers behind award-winning series Flat 3, Friday Night Bites and Unboxed!

WHEN:           Tue 26 November 2019, 7pm. Talk starts 7:15pm
WHERE:          Longroom, 114 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland

 

Flat3 Productions was founded by 4 Kiwi women of Chinese heritage. Since their humble beginnings, they have accumulated a wealth of experience in writing, directing, and producing scripted comedy/drama for online consumption. Flat3’s award-winning content has garnered four NZTV award nominations. After 8 years together, the team has decided to make the jump into premium TV format. This next phase has already begun with the company securing NZ On Air production funding for a TVNZ television comedy (Creamerie). Individually, Ally and JJ have expanded their interest into other areas of filmmaking – primarily producing and writing. The pair recently wrapped principal photography on their TVNZ OnDemand teen comedy webseries (MEME).

Registration

DEGNZ members – Free
Non-members – $5 (cash at the door)

Because of liquor license conditions, under 18s must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian.

We collect diversity data during registration so we can report to our funder, the NZFC. Any data reported will remain anonymous.

 

Loading…

 

DEGNZ Young Creators is a programme of events with a mission to inform and inspire younger or emerging directors and editors to build successful, sustainable careers in the screen industry.

DEGNZ Young Creators logos