Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Business of Entertainment

As we explore the benefits of entertainment and sport to the Jamaican economy, it seems we have to re-define the business of entertainment and how it can be tailored to suit the needs of the industry while at the same time create economic opportunities for the major stakeholders. We have been lead to believe that entertainment is largely about talent, however as the time flies by we are seeing where packaging is becoming the major tool to the Brand of Entertainment. However, because Jamaica is a developing country, it may be easier to work through a process to get to the ultimate goal of having a vibrant entertainment industry. Let's take a look at some keys areas of focus (not in any particular order at this juncture). We have to set some clear guidelines and define the following: 1. Creative Process 2. Product 3. Financing plans 4. Distribution 5. Language 6. Technology - animation, 3-D 7. Education 8. Evolution of the Business 9. Value added - film, fashion,merchandising 10. Licensing 11. Content Monetization and Storage Jamaica's culture has been influenced by the success of Bob Marley which has set extremely high standards - one which has made Bob into an international icon and making him one of the most recognizable names and faces on the planet. We see the demand for pictures, clothing, records of Bob even 31 years after his death and his family, mostly of musicians and entertainers have carried on the legacy he worked hard at. The industry has evolved and changed since the 1980s and while there are far more opportunities, there are signs of convergences with the product meeting at common points. There is now little or no separation with a singing career and an acting career. Both are meeting closer and closer and what that means is PACKAGING...to suit the demands of the market. Jamaica's advantage is its history, heritage, culture, locations, allure, mystique, but should be carefully packaged along with the human element to showcase all those factors. Maybe, just maybe, we should invest in telling our stories and distribute them ourselves. So we need a script, we have the talent, showcase the music, film on our own locations and tell the world OUR stories. One thing I ask, begin the process in schools and work our way into developing this gold mine we are sitting on and let's get this RIGHT. What say you?


hsia said...

Jamaica doesn't have the natural geological or agricultural resources to rely on for export, but our greatest export is entertainment, an area in which we have arguably the greatest per capita global influence of any country in the world. So why aren't we investing the resources to nurture and develop and refine this incredible talent and heritage? Schools are such an important step - look at NYC's High School for Performing Arts which identifies and develops talent from a young age. Or an example from a recent trip: New Mexico has charter schools to develop a local base of skilled film/television production workers - and this (along with tax breaks) has lured productions like Avengers, Book of Eli, Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight to Albuquerque. And my general experience with the entertainment industry is that most artistes are clueless when it comes to strategies for publishing, licensing and monetization of their work - education could help raise the level of the entire industry, and let our artistes become moguls like Sean Combs or Jay-Z, leveraging their personal brands across industries in a deliberate (not haphazard) way.
But schools are really a long-term strategy, and I agree with your other conclusion: as a first step, rethinking our packaging/marketing is critical, and is an area in which we are fractured with little or no local expertise, and no clear vision of Brand Jamaica.
I'm in - how do we make this happen?

Press Office - RFF 2012 said...

Excellent comment, especially about merging different arms of entertainment by branding and packaging. The Reggae Film Festival does this, merging filmmakers, musicians, actors, animators, scritpwriters, entertainment managers in one package that is now being exported AS A PACKAGE to entertainment events around the world. It would be great to start educating schoolchildren in these different entertainment arts as seriously as we are presently trying to educate future doctors and lawyers. My son's tech skills are now used in music production and composition, but there was no formal school in which he learned, instead his 'school' was the music studios of some music icons who shared knowledge with him in order to share the arts through to the next generation. We need to formalise this. We could expand the Make A Film In 24 Hours into schools, we should have a Scriptwriting section in the annual Festival competition. Music production should be taught in schools - NOT BY TEACHERS, please, but by actual real producers. Bring Bounty Killa, Sean Paul, Sizzla Kalonji into school; it would certainly make school more interesting and productive, because it is clear that most of our cultural creativity comes from the segment of our population that is categorized as 'failures' because of residential location, economic poverty and social disenfranchisement. Would be nice to turn all these negatives around and capitalise on the assets that make Jamaica famous -- our ENTERTAINMENT!!! Sport has already proved itself to be Jamaica's leading 'entertainment', and the world's, so what are we waiting for?