The British Film and Television Industries - Communications Committee Contents


Memorandum by the National Film and Television School

INTRODUCTION

  The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications inquiry into UK originated content in film and television's main focus is on how the audiovisual industries support the UK economy, create jobs and promote UK culture and talent. The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is at the heart of training the content makers of tomorrow's audiovisual industries and we therefore believe that it is important for the Committee to consider a sustainable funding model for the NFTS as part of its investigation into the British film and television industries' future. In our submission, we address the following points for which the Committee requested evidence:

    1. Contribution of UK film and television industry to the UK economy and how this contribution can be enhanced.

    2. Implications for UK originated content of the current financial pressures on public services broadcasters

    3. Conduciveness of current UK business infrastructure to the acquisition of the managerial and technical skills required by the film and television industry

1.  CONTRIBUTION OF UK FILM AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY TO THE UK ECONOMY AND HOW THIS CONTRIBUTION CAN BE ENHANCED

  The creative economy as a whole contributes 7.3% to the overall GDP of the UK economy of which over 70%—or 5.6% of total UK output—is contributed by the media industries (Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy, 2008). The creative industries have been identified as one of the sectors of strategic importance for UK economic future growth by the Government (Guardian, 26 January 2009 and Digital Britain Report 2009) and have grown at twice the rate of the economy over the past decade (Creative Britain). As the London Development Agency's own figures show the creative economy accounts for £21 billion or 16% of London's Gross Value Added (GVA) annually and it is the second largest industry after the business services sector (LDA website).

NFTS contribution to the UK film and television Industry

  The National Film and Television School is the recognised centre of excellence for the audiovisual industries, one of the world's leading film and television schools and at the heart of training the next generation of audiovisual content creators. The NFTS is by far the most successful provider of talent and technical skills to the UK audiovisual industry. The future of the film and broadcasting industry depends on a well-trained and entrepreneurial workforce with high value, globally competitive skills which can take the film and television industry into a digital future. The fact, that in the last two and a half years alone, NFTS graduates have been nominated for nine Oscars and multiple BAFTAs (see Appendix A), as well as had over 3,800 credits in over 2,200 shows broadcast on BBC, ITV and Channel 4 is evidence of the leading role NFTS graduates play in creating content for the audiovisual industry.

  The NFTS turns talent not only into jobs but into success. In 2008, 16 shows with key graduate involvement were nominated for a BAFTA with 29 individual credits, out of which eight won. NFTS graduates were also involved on 2,235 television shows broadcast by the BBC, ITV and C4 with over 3,803 credits since January 2007. Moreover, nine shows with graduate credits were nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards. Four feature films with key graduate involvement were nominated for an Oscar in 2008 and two graduates won Oscars.

  NFTS graduates are the creators and/or play leading roles in some of the UK's and indeed the world's most successful shows and films such as the Harry Potter films, Life on Mars and CSI.

  Here is just a small selection of films and television shows which have had international success and were also sold internationally, making an enormous contribution to the UK economy:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, David Yates, Director $938,212,738
Star Wars Episode III, David Tattersall, Director of Photography $848,754,768
Star Wars Episode II, David Tattersall, Director of Photography $649,398,328
Casino Royale, Steve Lawrence, Art Director $594,239,066
Bridget Jones—The Edge of Reason, Beeban Kidron, Director $262,520,724
Wallace and Gromit—Curse of the Were-Rabbit Nick Park $192,610,372
Total$3,485,735,996



  Figures are Lifetime Gross from Box Office Mojo (owned by IMDB)

  For other key shows which have been sold internationally, please refer to Appendix C.

2.  IMPLICATIONS FOR UK ORIGINATED CONTENT OF THE CURRENT FINANCIAL PRESSURES ON PUBLIC SERVICES BROADCASTERS (PSBS)

Financial Impact on NFTS

  The current financial pressures on public services broadcasters have already had a direct impact on the National Film and Television School. Broadcasters, who are currently under no formal obligation to fund the School but until recently contributed close to 20% towards the School's core funding for training future content creators, have cut or altogether cancelled their contributions dramatically. Consequently, NFTS core funding and survival is severely threatened.

  The NFTS has 13 core funders where most similar educational institutions have one (Higher Education Funding Council England-HEFCE) or two. The NFTS receives just over 50% of statutory and lottery funding via DCMS and Skillset. A further 20% of core funding is provided by seven broadcasters and the remaining 30% of income is derived from 15% in fees, 4% HEFCE funding and income from other sources such as fundraising. In the last three months NFTS lost its funding from ITV, Channel 5 and Discovery. Sky and Channel 4 have had to reduce their funding. In total cuts to date have amounted to over £500,000.

  Naturally, the NFTS was prepared for this eventuality for some time and tried to secure more funding from HEFCE to cover the shortfall caused by these predictable cuts from broadcasters (excepting the BBC). However, HEFCE has advised that it will not be able to provide additional funding to the NFTS due to the government's severe underestimate in the number of undergraduates taking up university places in the UK. As a result, HEFCE has been forced to cut the number of co-industry funded places, the scheme under which NFTS applied, from 40,000 to 10,000 and is not able to provide additional funding to NFTS.

  It is important to note, that the PSBs are currently under no specific compulsion to fund the School as part of their obligations to fund training and develop new talent. A new funding model is therefore urgently required for the National Film and Television School, if it is to survive into 2010 and beyond as one of the world's premiere Film, Television and new media Schools.

NFTS proposal for a new funding model

  In order to ensure that the NFTS is able to carry out its pivotal role of training and educating the next generation of behind-the-camera talent for Britain's digital future with high value globally competitive skills, we are asking government and the industry to cooperate in developing and providing a new funding model for the NFTS. We would like to ask government and the industry to make the following recommendations and/or provisions:

    1.  NFTS' core funders to be reduced in number from 13 co-funders to just four who bear the responsibility for funding the National Film and Television School

    2.  These would include

      —  all broadcasters with PSB status. A legal obligation to directly provide an agreed amount of funding to the NFTS should be included under their PSB obligations.

      —  DCMS (as present)

      —  UKFC/Skillset (as present and at the same level)

      —  HEFCE or DIUS direct (increased contribution towards core running costs)

3.  CONDUCIVENESS OF CURRENT UK BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE ACQUISITION OF THE MANAGERIAL AND TECHNICAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY THE FILM AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY

  We cannot give you a direct assessment of the conduciveness of current UK business infrastructure with regards to the acquisition of the managerial and technical skills required by the film and television industry. However, our unrivalled links with Industry partners in training future talent and skills assessment surveys conducted by Skillset have identified a number of challenges the UK media work force faces and the training gaps and requirements which arise from the technological challenges of the digital age.

Training needs for the Digital Age

  Digital content is produced and distributed through an ever increasing range of platforms and technologies. This change is affecting virtually every role in the media and accelerates the need for staff and freelancers to regularly update their skills. High Definition (HD) TV and interactive TV (iTV) are having a major impact on mainstream production and services. The UK leads the way alongside the US and Japan in digital television as a major distribution platform, as well as through internet and mobile technologies.

  These rapidly changing technologies will continue to increase demand for extensive technical skills including software development and applications, digital technology and broadcasting, as well as computer generated processes. The following specific training needs and skills shortages were identified by the Sector Skills Agreement for the Creative Media Industries published by Skillset 2008: Demand for individuals with skills in programme innovation, deal structuring, cross-media ownership, intellectual properties (IP) issues and scheduling skills who can operate fluently across different platforms. Specific technical expertise such as shooting on HD and Managing Tapeless Workflows, Shooting and Editing Digital Media and IP across platforms are fundamental skills needed in this changing climate.

NFTS Career Professional Development Provision

  The NFTS is already plugging this gap and responding to the training needs identified above through its Short Course Unit and its plans for a Digital Village. Our Short Courses Unit serves the Industry as a whole by providing over 70 short-courses each year to more than 500 industry professionals who require training on pioneering new technologies. One quarter of the courses offered by the NFTS Short Course Unit are specifically targeted at new digital media skills but all of the courses incorporate some enhanced digital content. In addition, there are a range of management/leadership courses which directly address the demands of broadcasters.

NFTS Bridges to Industry Programme

  We also work closely with our industry partners through our Bridges to Industry programme. We have joint projects with the BBC films and factual entertainment, Channel 4, Curzon Cinemas, Vertigo Films, Toshiba Corporation, and Sky. In addition, our students are involved in producing over 150 films and shows each year while at the NFTS. They are also offered the opportunity to make and learn from making commercials, music videos and feature length micro films, virals and digital content.

  Indeed our objectives are different from others. We look to our graduates to not simply find employment but more importantly to create jobs in the creative economy. Each time one of our graduates creates a show or a film, they create jobs in the creative economy Over 88% of all our graduates are actively working in the industry and related fields. NFTS is instrumental in addressing current skills shortages behind the camera by training all students on cutting-edge technical equipment in film and television studios which are comparable to industry standards.

The NFTS Digital Village: A national resource for the digital age

  We plan on ensuring that the NFTS remains a national centre of excellence into the future by providing state-of-the art training facilities for NFTS students and the industry through the development of our Digital Village. The Digital Village will create a central "digital hub" for server-based production accessible internationally as well as allowing digital access to library and other film training resources for research, training and education. It will also allow us to provide future proofed facilities to service a tapeless environment, and exploit current potential of the digital revolution fully. The Digital Village will be open to the industry to serve as a research and development centre for digital technology, introducing our students to the latest innovations while providing an industry standard testing ground. The refurbishment of the main film studio will be a part of this with a more flexible, multi-use space for lectures and conferences, as well as upgrading equipment with digital and wide-screen technology.

CONCLUSION

  As the above evidence demonstrates, NFTS is at the heart of training the future content creators for the audiovisual industries.

    —  It is already responding to the technological challenges posed by the digital age by equipping its students and media professionals with the new technical and business management skills required, through its curriculum and CPD courses.

    —  The financial pressure experienced by the broadcasters has had an immediate and drastic impact on the core funding situation of the NFTS and its ability to train the next generation of talent.

    —  Consequently, we would like the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications to consider, recommend and make provisions for the NFTS to receive a new funding model which would be based on four core funders as outlined above.

  All of the above and Appendix A listing BAFTA TV nominations for 2008 and 2009 with NFTS graduate credits, plus Appendix B listing credits for the weekend of submission of this report, demonstrate that NFTS is at the heart of training the next generation of behind-the-camera talent generating high quality UK originated content for all UK broadcasters, filmmakers and broadband content. For all the above reasons, we would like the Committee to include an obligation for the government and the Industry to jointly fund the NFTS.

APPENDIX A

BAFTA TELEVISION NOMINATIONS WITH NFTS GRADUATE CREDITS IN 2008 AND 2009

BAFTA NOMINATIONS 2008

Best Single Drama

    —  Boy A Editor Lucia Zucchetti

    —  Coming Down the Mountain Composer Rob Lane

Best Drama Series

    —  Life on Mars (Series II) Co-Writer/Co-Creator Ashley Pharoah; DoPs Balazs Bolygo & Tim

    —  Palmer; Online Editor James Osborne

    —  Rome Art Director Dominic Hyman

    —  Skins Director [2 Episodes] Minkie Spiro

    —  The Street (Series II) Title Music Composer Rob Lane

Best Drama Serial

    —  Britz Rerecording Mixer Stuart Hilliker

    —  Best Continuing Drama

        The Bill Co-Directors Roberto Bangura, Kim Flitcroft, Ben Morris, Jan Bauer, Chris King & Diana Patrick; Co-Writer Nick Martin

        Holby City Co-Directors Fraser MacDonald, Chris King; Co-Editors Riaz Meer & Alastair Reid

    —  Best Factual Series

        Paul Merton in China Composer Rohan Stevenson; Co-Editor Doug Bryson

        Tribe Producer/Director/Camera Wayne Derrick

    —  Best Single Documentary

        The Lie of the Land Producer/Director Molly Dineen; Associate Producer Mark Frith

    —  Best Comedy Programme

        Fonejacker Animation Direction "Talented Mouse" Sequences Leigh Hodgkinson

    —  Best Situation Comedy

        The IT Crowd Production Designer Dennis De Groot

BAFTA NOMINATIONS 2009

Best Single Drama

  Einstein and Eddington Co-Producer Ildiko Kemeny; Sound Assistant Tawa Durowoju

  The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall Rerecording Mixer Stuart Hilliker

  White Girl Editor Una Ni Dhonghaile; Rerecording Mixer Sven Taits

Best Drama Series

  Doctor Who Director [2 Episodes] Douglas Mackinnon; Orchestrator/Conductor Ben Foster

  Shameless Director [2 Episodes] Fraser MacDonald; DoP Gavin Struthers

Best Drama Serial

  Criminal Justice Sound Mixer William Quinn; Sound Assistant Joanna Andrews

  Dead Set Director Yann Demange

Best Continuing Drama

  The Bill Directors Roberto Bangura, Diana Patrick & Gill Wilkinson

  Casualty Directors Fraser MacDonald; Suri Krishnamma; Roberto Bangura; Chris King & Diana Patrick

Best Current Affairs

  Saving Africa's Witch Children Co-Producer/Co-Director Joost Van Der Valk

Best Comedy Programme

  Harry and Paul Director Sandy Johnson

  That Mitchell and Webb Look Production Designer Dennis De Groot

  The work of NFTS graduates has also had major success internationally. At last years International Emmy Awards, projects with graduate involvement met with success in three categories… winner in the Children & Young People category was the Aardman series Shaun the Sheep (Co-Devised by Alison Snowden & David Fine; Co-Executive producer Nick Park; Co-Animator Gareth Love) whilst winner of Best Comedy was The I.T. Crowd (Designer Dennis De Groot)… series II of Life on Mars (Co-Writer/Co-Creator Ashley Pharoah; DoPs Balazs Bolygo & Tim Palmer; Online Editor James Osborne) took the prize for Best Drama Series.

APPENDIX B

A TYPICAL RECENT WEEKEND OF UK BROADCASTS SHOWING NFTS GRADUATE CONTRIBUTIONS IN BOLD

TV LISTINGS: TERRESTRIAL/SATELLITE
  (N.B. This list is not exhaustive and is based primarily on published information)

Saturday 21 March
ITV113.40-15.45 Inspector Morse: The Remorseful Day Editor Jamie McCoan; Camera Operator Steve Alcorn (rpt)
CH420.00-21.00 Grand Designs Series Producer Madeleine Hall; Composer Jon Wygens [new student] (rpt)
Sky Comedy20.00-21.45 Run Fatboy Run DoP Richard Greatrex; Rerecording Mixer Stuart Hilliker; Digital Compositor Dan Pearce
Modern Greats20.00-22.00 O Brother, Where Art Thou? DoP Roger Deakins
Sky Family20.00-22.20 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Director David Yates; Sound Mixer Stuart Wilson; Model Unit DoP Nigel Stone; Specialist Researcher Celia Barnett; Assistant to David Yates Jamie Wolpert; Digital Compositors Paul Bellany & Dan Snape; Draughtsman Gary Jopling; Draughtsman/Stand-By Art Director Stephen Swain; Orchestrator Bradley Miles
ITV121.00-23.20 Notting Hill Composer Trevor Jones
Film421.00-23.35 A Knight's Tale DoP Richard Greatrex; Model Photography Nigel Stone
CH421.00-23.40 Gosford Park Researcher Celia Barnett
BBC321.05-23.05 Interview With the Vampire Co-Editor Joke Van Wijk
BBC222.45-00.15 Trauma Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor Paul Davies
Sky Drama22.45-01.00 Becoming Jane Visual Effects Producer Ben Lock
Sci-Fi/Horror23.25-01.10 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Director Danny Cannon
CH423.40-01.55 Courage Under Fire DoP Roger Deakins



Sunday 22 March
Sky Premiere00.00-01.30 Three and Out DoP Richard Greatrex; Composer Trevor Jones; Rerecording Mixer Adrian Rhodes; Online Editor James Osborne
(and at varying times each day until Friday)
FIVE06.10-06.20 Little Princess Director Edward Foster; Editor Richard Overall; Composer Bradley Miles; Sound Barnaby Templer & Jake Roberts (rpt—and Monday-Friday at 07.15)
FIVE06.20-06.30 Peppa Pig Director/Designer/Co-Creator Mark Baker; Sound Design/Edit/Mix Jake Roberts & Barnaby Templer (rpt—and Monday-Friday at 08.15)
Modern Greats18.10—20.00 We're No Angels Editor Joke Van Wijk
ITV319.00-21.00 Persuasion Composer Martin Phipps; Rerecording Mixer Adrian Rhodes (rpt)
Sky Family20.00-22.15 Stardust Digital Compositors Paul Bellany & Daniel Snape; Rerecording Mixer Sven Taits; Junior Draughtsman Will Coubrough Art Department Assistant Louise Begbie; Composer's Production Assistant Natalie Holt
BBC121.00-22.00 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Part 2 Dialogue Editor/Supervising Sound Editor Simon Chase
ITV121.00-23.00 Lewis Series III: Allegory of Love Director Bill Anderson
Action/Thriller21.00-23.00 The Bourne Ultimatum Digital Compositors Paul Bellany & Daniel Snape
CH422.15-00.15 Elizabeth: The Golden Age 2nd Unit Photography David Katznelson
Sky Drama22.45-01.00 Becoming Jane Visual Effects Producer Ben Lock
Sky Indie23.45-01.50 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Digital FX Tim Ollive



APPENDIX C

A SMALL SELECTION OF TV SHOWS WITH NFTS GRADUATE CREDITS WHICH HAVE BEEN SOLD INTERNATIONALLY AND MANY WORLDWIDE

    — Creature Comforts (Writer/Director/Producer—Nick Park, Animator—Gareth Love)

    — A Grand Day out With Wallace and Gromit (Writer/Director/Producer—Nick Park, Composer—Julian Nott, Sound—Danny Hambrook, Adrian Rhodes)

    — Wallace and Gromit in the Wrong Trousers (Writer/Director/Producer—Nick Park, Composer—Julian Nott, Sound—Adrian Rhodes)

    — Wallace and Gromit in a Close Shave (Writer/Director/Producer—Nick Park, Composer—Julian Nott, Sound—Adrian Rhodes)

    — Wallace and Gromit in a Matter of Loaf and Death (Writer/Director/Producer—Nick Park, Composer—Julian Nott, Sound—Adrian Rhodes)

    — The Bill (176 credits in total)

    — Holby City (57 Credits including Director, Writer, Cinematographer)

    — Life on Mars (Co-creator/Co-writer—Ashley Pharoah, Director—John McKay, Cinematographers—Tim Palmer, Adam Suschitzky, Balazs Bolygo)

    — CSI (Executive Producer/Director—Danny Cannon, Director—Robert Bailey)

    — Shameless (Director—Fraser MacDonald, Writer, 2nd Series—Amanda Coe, Cinematographers—Gavin Struthers, Peter Butler)

    — Skins (Director—Minkie Spiro)

    — Bleakhouse (Cinematographer—Kieran McGuigan)Larkrise to Candleford (Composer—Julian Nott, Cinematographers—Balazs Bolygo, David Schwartz)

    — Jane Eyre (Writer—Sandy Welch, Composer—Robert Lane)

    — Doc Martin (Director—Ben Bolt)

    — Midsomer Murders (Writer—Nick Martin, Editor—Samantha Winter, Sound—Ron Bailey)

    — Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Directors—Yann Demange, Fraser MacDonald, Cinematographer—Gavin Struthers, Production Designer—Greg Shaw)

    — Merlin (Composers—Rohan Steventson, Robert Lane, Miguel D'Oliveira, Director—David Moore)

    — Wild at Heart (Co-creator/Writer—Ashley Pharoah)

    — Where the Heart is (Co-creator/Writer—Ashley Pharoah, Directors—Jan Sargeant, Chris King, Diana Patrick)

    — Dead Set (Director—Yann Demange)

    — Sex Traffic (Director—David Yates)

    — The Street (Composer—Robert Lane)

    — Charlie and Lola (Editor—Yulia Martynova, Art Director—Leigh Hodgkinson)

    — Peppa Pig (Co-creator/Director—Mark Baker, Sound—Jacob Roberts, Barnaby Templer)

    — The Little Princess (Director—Ed Foster, Editor—Richard Overall, Composer—Bradley Miles, Sound—Jacob Roberts, Barnaby Templer)


 
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