Creative minds encouraged to get their business in order
Individuals are often told to pursue what they love as a career choice. They are told, 'if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life'. While that may be true, young professionals are encouraging persons not to neglect the business side as they pursue what they love as a career.
The latter was discussed at a recent media briefing for Jamaica's latest feature film - Sprinter. Actress Shantol Jackson raised the point as she thanked her manager, Nadine Wilson, for taking care of business while she does what she loves. Jackson, who plays Kerry in the film, said that as actors, talents always forget that acting is not just something they enjoy, but also their job and they should use it to secure their future. "As young talents, it is very important for us to have a strong support system. Sometimes we are so focused on just doing the work." She added, "Initially, when most of us just got started, it wasn't even about the money. We were just excited to perform all the time, and so we look at the art and not the business aspect of it."
Film Commissioner Renee Robinson agreed. "A lot of time people forget that film is an industry. They don't call it 'show hobby'. They call it 'show business'. There are business components of this industry that, most times, we forget. I just want to encourage everyone to always think about the fact that there is a business behind this," she added. "We have talent, and they are there to do their best work on screen. But for them to be successful, there are a lot of different fundamentals behind the business that need to be in place."
Robinson explained that with local talent now taking off internationally, the film industry, as a business, should be taken more seriously by all parties involved. "There are a lot of opportunities to be had now as our local talent is shining more and more. There are more opportunities now that will call for local professionals to be able to wear both hats - business and creativity. That must happen if the industry is going to grow."
Vice-president of Sales and Production at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Claude Duncan drove home the point by pointing out what failure to do so did to the music industry. Duncan explained that the music industry could be more developed if key players hadn't 'ignored' the business aspect of the industry for so long. "If you look at what has happened in the music industry, a lot of times, we make these comments that Jamaica has lost, or we don't get, our full potential from the music industry - and I think a lot of that is because the industry has developed without the proper ecosystem around it," he said.
Duncan added, "Developing our industries take the same approach any big company would take when pushing a new product. They have a team that thinks about marketing, etc. You are selling your creative assets, but unfortunately, in the creative space, people are passionate and do things out of that passion, forgetting the business aspect. You must surround yourselves with people who can take care of the business side. That is key."
Again pointing to music as an example, Duncan says that opportunities can multiply quickly in the creative industries and laments that without proper management, opportunities can go as quickly as they come. "In the music side, you see where people sign contracts, and they have no one to look over what they have signed and to advise them. And as they move from obscurity to fame, they get tied into bad deals and bad contracts. As we develop this industry, we should think about how quickly things can multiply (in terms of doors opening). And if you make that happen without having a manager beside you, opportunities will pass you by. As you go through this journey, create your own support system, look at your inadequacies, and call for help."