Hollywood sinks | LBBOnline

When it was announced that Thor: Love and Thunder would be filming in Australia, few industry insiders were surprised. The country below has become a hub for major American productions, with blockbusters of all kinds flocking to the country (and New Zealand) rather than Hollywood, New York, or even Atlanta.

While big productions taking place at AUNZ are nothing new – think Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars prequels and the Matrix trilogy of the early 2000s – the volume of major productions has definitely increased lately. . The consequences for local production have been mixed, especially with regard to commercial creativity.

At this year’s Advertising Week APAC, a panel led by LBB’s Toby Hemming convened Damien Whitney, Executive Producer of Clockwork Films, and Stephane Renard, Executive Producer of Media Monks, to discuss the good and bad of this development.

First, the bathroom. The influx of big productions, Damien explained, has led to a real skills shortage for commercial productions. The lure of mainstream film work (as well as the specialized skills often required) has, on more than one occasion, caused commercial producers real headaches due to unavailability. Stephane echoed this sentiment, explaining that the opportunity to show Star Wars as a CV credit could be “irresistible” for special effects talent, regardless of the opportunities offered in the commercial sphere.

There has also been little creative hemorrhaging in national production, whether in the cinematographic or commercial realm. The influx of money has not allowed more Australian films to be made nor has it made a material difference to the creative side of commercial creativity. But this, the panel said, was not really attributable ‘harm’. Damien explained that Australian films have simply always had trouble competing with the scale of American films, while the creativity itself could not be quantified as measurably “improved” by American money. But what has improved is the technical ability of the industry.

Stephane agreed. He cited several cases of directors, VFX artists, or cinematographers who had transferred skills between the realms of commercial and artistic production: from big productions, they gain access to new technology (such as LED screen backdrops), while, from commercial productions, they take the liberty to experiment, using both to develop their skills and potential.

Ultimately, both executive producers concluded that this technical upgrade was a huge benefit, commenting with a hint of pride that Australia was “beating our weight” when it came to global production capacity. The skills shortage was very real, but Damien stressed that “this is a people industry” and insisted that if enough was done to promote local talent, this demand could be met. Stephane agreed, noting that, with major new production opportunities in Australia, there were more reasons than ever to stay, thus countering the “brain drain” production has faced in recent years.

The reason, Damien concluded, that this increase in production occurred was largely the result of tax incentives and good Covid management. “The industry is very good at self-management,” he explained. In that regard, regardless of the challenges Hollywood poses to Australian production, both artistic and commercial, there is no doubt that the industry is still in good health and there is reason to be optimistic about its future.


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