The Welsh Government should stop “throwing money” at short term ventures by producers from outside Wales and instead invest in home-based companies was the hard-hitting message by Jane Tranter in this year’s RTS Cymru Wales Annual Lecture.
The co-founder of Wales-based Bad Wolf, maker of ambitious, high-end global productions such as His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches, questioned the wisdom of Welsh Government policy to offer better terms and incentives to external companies than to Wales-based producers.
Speaking to a 200-plus audience at Cardiff University’s Centre for Journalism, Media and Culture, Tranter called for a joint strategy between the industry and the government that would ensure sustainability for the production houses and the supply chain companies that are already embedded in Wales.
She said a partnership was needed with the Welsh Government that was “as solid and enduring as we hope the production base we are currently building will be.”
Referring to the Welsh Government’s current “economic multiplier” investment criteria for supporting the company, she said: “I’m not sure I know of any other studio or production company who would have taken those terms, but we did. We decided to base ourselves in Wales even though we could have had much better terms elsewhere.
“We’ve made it work, because of our long history and gratitude to the country. But what about another company, without that history and sense of obligation: would they be motivated to accept the same terms?
“And it does make you question whether it is right that, as a nation, we should be offering better terms and incentives to some of those productions who head across the Severn Bridge for a short time - film and then pack up and go - than we do to our home-grown industry?
“In my view, government needs to stop throwing money at ‘new’ short-term ventures and should instead double-down and invest in the foundations we’ve all already built here.
“Bad Wolf is committed to Wales and if taking on more challenging terms...is what we need to do, we’ll gladly do it. But in return, we need help in growing the workforce, and training the next generation.
“Otherwise, there’s a massive risk that the existing pool of experienced crew simply isn’t big enough to supply both home-based companies like Bad Wolf and those one-off productions, who swoop in to town, lured here on a lower economic multiplier.”
She added: “My plea tonight would be for government to bring together a group of sensible people from the creative sector - indigenous and based in Wales - to sit around a table, to discuss future skill needs, to map out the training requirements over the next decade and to work out a bespoke package for delivering it."
- Read Jane Tranter's full Lecture here.