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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral