Launching Content Conversations
In Fall 2018, Creative Influence held its first Content Conversations roundtable in Atlanta. The discussion was rich and the audience so engaged that - after this one - we decided to record the audio and podcast them. Meanwhile, here are written notes from the first discussion.
Great content arises from great talent. How do you attract, train and manage the best content talent for your organization? There has long been a perception among Atlanta businesses that great content-creating talent is difficult to find in Atlanta. How is the hypergrowth film industry in Georgia impacting content talent that is available to support business needs? How might businesses and the entertainment industry cooperate to attract the best content talent to Georgia and to keep it here?
Georgia Entertainment Industry Needs
The economic impact of the film industry on Georgia’s economy has grown by 40x from $242 million per year to $10 billion/year and rising. Georgia now hosts 100 sound stages.
Georgia film industry’s hyper-growth as a center for film production belies the fact that it is still working to guarantee crew “depth” and, in particular, it still is not viewed as a vibrant center for creative talent originating big-dollar intellectual property.
Georgia Film Academy (GFA) is pioneering ways to fill the talent gaps by training creatives locally, incenting them to stay in Georgia, enticing L.A. writers’ rooms to set up in Georgia and encouraging talent representation to put resources here.
GFA is also working with the State to develop film funds to support the projects of Georgia-based creators.
GSU’s Creative Media Industries Institute launched in October 2017 to build connections between creative students and the entertainment and information industries. Its focus is on advanced technology workforce training, building a national model for media entrepreneurship and collaborating with media and arts industry partners.
GFA is working with The Georgia Board of Regents at the University System of Georgia to introduce Nexus programs such as that being launched by Columbus State University in conjunction with the Columbus Film Office and the Georgia Film Academy. This first ever nexus degree in film production will begin at Columbus State University in the spring of 2019 offering a 60-hour degree that will prepare students for Georgia’s rapidly growing film industry.
Earlier in the talent pipeline, at the high school level, The Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Film Academy, the Technical College System of Georgia, the University System of Georgia and the Fayette County Public Schools collaborated to create the class, which is geared toward students interested in working in the film industry. Presumably this will roll out across the state.
Of the $772 billion entertainment industry, 82% is generated by the television sector. About 600 TV writers drive most of the world’s content. If Georgia is to grow its creative talent pool, it needs to grow its share of this market.
Show Runners are the executive producers who have overall creative authority and management responsibility for television programs. Attracting more Show Runners to Georgia is at the top of the GFA’s list of core challenges.
Georgia Businesses’ Marketing/Content Needs
To attract and keep more creative content talent in Georgia, GFA would be wise to expand its partnership reach to include Georgia’s business community – which needs content creation talent and has the willingness and ability to pay for it.
In a 2018 survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) of marketers, the average percentage of total marketing budget spent on content marketing by B2B companies is 26%. 38% of all B2B respondents expect their content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months. Last year, B2C companies reported their organizations spent, on average, 38% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. 37% of B2C marketers said they expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months. There’s no reason to believe these national numbers are different for Georgia businesses.
Demand for the best content creation talent is high everywhere but the supply of great local talent remains constrained. It is highly likely that Georgia businesses are open to training entertainment-industry-oriented students in marketing/content internships which may provide a complementary career path.
In the technology arena, one approach for matching programmer talent with larger businesses is to run a hackathon – a sprint-like design event to develop software solutions to difficult problems. One idea (suggested by Elizabeth Strickler) is for business to run “write-a-thons” or similar creative content sprints in order to better connect with and encourage local content talent.
One potential obstacle to the use of entertainment industry talent in businesses’ content creation and marketing efforts may e the requirement that such talent have the executive presence, maturity and interpersonal skills to successfully work with corporate leaders.
Another content-related need of Georgia marketers is to use data to answer the questions, “Did that content matter?” and “How do we quantify storytelling creativity and its results?” They need to identify talent that understands content analytics and metrics-based information design and strategy – and there doesn’t seem to be much of it to be found.