Creative Industries: 'We are poor at exploiting our genius'

David Puttnam stresses the need for a more commercial approach in the digital age

WE are on the threshold of a new Digital Age. This means that a new global economy is being formed, driven by two things - information and images. More and more of our information is conveyed through images and, in particular, moving images.

The advent of digital technologies means that film and television are now simply two components, albeit extremely important components, of a much larger industry - the intellectual property industry. Movies are part of a new industrial sector, which has the potential to generate millions of highly skilled jobs.

What this means, above all, is that we have to start treating film and the other cultural industries in an entirely different way. We have to start considering how we use the creative skills, which we as a nation appear to have in such abundance, to optimise their real economic value, to allow them to play their full part in regenerating our communities, and to forge a new cultural identity for ourselves as a nation.

Indeed for me, by far he most significant development of the "Information Society" is the increasing convergence between entertainment and education. When resources that have traditionally been associated with the best in entertainment are applied to education and training, genuinely surprising results begin to flow.

I think the government's decision to set up a Film Policy Review was a master stroke; in terms of timing mandate and the personnel that they've attracted to run it. I don't want to pre-empt the results of that Review, which will be made clear next month. But what I would say is that having got ourselves up and running on the production front, I think that the industry as a whole realises that we now have to sit down and deal with the complex issues surrounding marketing distribution and the funding of adequate levels of script development and, especially, training.

Something that I've been hammering home for many years is that one of the keys to maximising the potential of our industry is a supply of creative professionals who can access training as they develop their careers. A commitment to growth cannot be taken seriously without a comparable commitment to training. More broadly, it is quite apparent that in the UK, with the notable exception of PolyGram, there is a marked absence of indigenous, vertically-integrated companies, the British film industry will inevitably remain a "cottage" industry, in which booms will quickly turn to bust.

Finally, we have to find a way of merging our infinite skills as creators with an equal confidence and competence as sellers - there's no question that we remain poor at exploiting our own genius for origination. For too long many in our industry have remained secure in their conviction that marketing and distribution were peripheral to the real business if making films.

In the UK (and Europe more generally) once a film, or a book, or a design is completed it is, to a very great extent, considered satisfactory in itself. In America, the creator often isn't satisified until the product has been transformerd into thousands of copies, each one paying a royalty.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor