Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Yr3 Week 4 (Wed 29 Oct - MDA3300 Film Research and Context - Simon Best lecture)

Simon Best from the Business School came in today to give a lecture on entrepreneurship, which rather obviously relates to film production and producing given both share that proactive drive for maximizing assets and good business skill. Of course, to help illustrate what is both entrepreneurship and enterprise, he conducted a series of activities, including a picture game (where you had to see behind the image to connect them i.e. pigs and fireworks: salt peter from pig urine helps make gunpowder), a rapid fire questionnaire (What is an entrepreneur (Someone who applies enterprise), what is enterprise (Creativity when solving problems/challenges), are you an entrepreneur (of course, as both business and film require a strong ability to be proactive) and are enterprising (filmmaking is creative by its very nature, so the answer is self evident)) and even a little versus game in order to break down the three key elements of business (Needs, Wants and Demands i.e. a Ferrari vs. a Pegueot 108: both serve the need of transport, the want of an image about ones status, and the demand is in relation to ones finances (the 108 being the cheaper option).
Of course, all this then raised the question of where does entrepreneurship come from? Really, it came from a shift in human behaviour as we moved from being primitive hunter/gatherers to traders as our societies began to evolve and we need to co-operate and trade for the greater good of a group's power and survival. Indeed, there are five key drivers at work when it comes to business; New organizations, new mindsets, new populations, new markets and new technology, each self-explanatory in their role, and each important in order to situate oneself in the ideal position for profit maximization, After all, why make really complicated, high maintenance PCs for the elderly when simpler, cheaper, less demanding models will suit them fine. It's all about understanding the consumer-product relationship.

Naturally though, it's not only about what you sell, but who is selling it; are you self employed (focused more on qualitative growth and rather straightforward content/products) or a business owner (more about quantitative growth and ensuring you are always on top of new tricks and trends in your chosen market to stay relevant)? This is especially important as now, thanks to the digital revolution, we are living in times where the jobs market is ever changing, and the balance of power is shifting and now, there is more room and opportunities for business to start up online without incurring gigantic costs on staff and real estate (apparently, the typical cost of starting up a new company nowadays is only £500).

Of course, all this jargon is well and good, and Best made for a very lively and engaging speaker, but how does this more directly apply to someone like me? Fundamentally, though I may not be out to found a company, the importance of enterprising and entrepreneurship is rather self-evident; if I want to be a filmmaker, I must be pro-active enough to work hard and get myself know out there, while also keeping an eye on the market and see what kinds of films and stories are really big with the public now, as well as where there are potentially new audiences to be cultivated ) as Netflix recently demonstrated so potently). A filmmaker must be that careful balance of artists and businessman f he is to stand a chance in such a gigantic and competitive field. I hope I'm up to the task...

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