Our film industry needs money
I’ve been engrossed in the filming of a video series based on my book The ABCs of Entrepreneurship and it has given me a new respect for people in the film industry. I do believe that Barbados is going in the right direction with offering theatre arts at the Barbados Community College and creative arts at the University of the West Indies.
One of our main challenges has been the filming schedule since most of the cast have full time jobs and are therefore only available after hours and at the weekend. This is obvious because we do not have a fully functioning film industry to keep them employed. This will only be possible when we get investment in this area.
The Government has sought to facilitate this by trying to stimulate investment in the cultural industries with the introduction of the Cultural Industries Act. We therefore now need the private sector, financial institutions and other entities to begin to invest in cultural projects. I understand that Trinidad and Jamaica have made significant strides in the film industry which is great, but Barbados is lagging behind.
However, I am encouraged that we are on the way to catching up but that will only happen when those who have the financial wherewithal, see the benefits to be derived from developing the sector. If nothing else, it makes sense to have more than one source of revenue.
That aside, I am really impressed with the graduates of the UWI creative arts programme. We have been working with a few of them, both in front of and behind the cameras, and they have exhibited an admirable level of expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm. In fact, one young man has been urging me to make a film of my historical novel The Price of Freedom and is undaunted by the logistics of making a period film. It would be tragic for that enthusiasm and optimism to be snuffed out because there is no investment in films and other cultural projects.
Another thing that really impressed me was the way that many of the students we have approached, were willing to do small parts voluntarily or for a meal because they are so keen to use the skills they have learned. And it is not just students. Kim St. Hill, who is the cover model for my book and is the lead in the series, had no acting experience but is a natural actress with an amazing work ethic. She has been at every shoot with lines rehearsed, willing to repeat takes from all angles and without complaint. What a blessing she has been!
When one of my cast members bailed on me the day before a shoot, my videographer went into one of our malls and walked up to a stranger, who more or less fitted the description of the character we wanted, and asked him if he would give us a couple of hours of his time. At first, he thought it was a hoax but once he realized that the videographer was serious, he agreed to come along and play the part.
What was impressive is that he is a Trinidadian who had nothing to gain, but was willing to help out a fellow Caribbean person with a project. I love that! Since the series will be marketed in the Caribbean, the various accents will give it a regional flavour. I will also be using some other UWI students from around the region for small speaking parts.
We could not have got this far without Crossmedia Inc.’s, Brian King, who has gone beyond the call of duty to make this project happen. I am truly excited to see the final product and the videos and the learning platform being used by students and entrepreneurs all over the region to stimulate entrepreneurship and impact our economies positively.
Filming this project has shown me that people are still willing to help out each other without a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. We are on the right track in terms of our focus on the film and cultural industries. We need more success stories in the industry which will stimulate investment in projects but we cannot get success stories without significant investment – a bit of a chicken and egg situation. However, I am believing that my video series will be one of the success stories and that it will serve to encourage investment in other projects.
(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme and the Barbados Affiliate for the FundRiseHer Campaign. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website www.donnaevery.com www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)