Talent can be found and trained in many different ways – but there are always challenges, not least from other careers and the challenges are multiplied for smaller nations with the competition and attractiveness of working for larger broadcasters or companies is great – not least the money and opportunities on offer.
For television to succeed in the long term in smaller nations these challenges need to be met head on, but met confidently and with a clear strategy. Often it is not just the actual broadcasting that is under threat. Languages and culture are often at risk.
Collaboration is a key step. The relationship between S4C in Wales and TG4 in Ireland is a very loose and informal one at one level, but very supportive and close on another. Attending international workshops such as this one provides ideas to adopt, and also the encouragement that the challenges we face are universal. Working on co-productions / co-commissions from other countries is an excellent method of sharing skills, for mentoring talent and providing opportunities to work with other cultures. It can also work on a business level and paves the way for further co-productions and offers of working together on other productions.
The opening session which looked at Nordic Noir and how this particular genre has and is moving forward was eye-opening. Here was a hugely successful genre but still looking at ways to develop and grow, whilst resisting the temptation to rest on their laurels and enjoy the limelight. They key here seems to be a strategy of investing in talent and giving that talent the freedom and time to explore, experiment and thrive.
Avoiding the so-called brain drain is a waste of time in my opinion. It need not be feared and should actually be embraced for what it is – a recognition that talent from smaller countries can compete at the highest level, be an inspiration to the next generation, and in some cases can continue to work in both languages, or two countries. Embrace it and use it positively. On an individual level identifying talent can be done through personally viewing films and meeting people, or acting on the recommendation of others, similar to talent spotters in sport. Once identified they should be introduced to companies and individuals with a record of nurturing talent, and not using them to make money.
The local talent ecosystem session was excellent and informative. I enjoyed the sessions for the all the above reasons and for opening my eyes to how other countries and cultures work to support talent in their respective countries.
Content Commissioner, S4C