Tony Orsten is CEO of London’sImaginarium Studios founded in 2011 by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish. The Imaginarium is a performance capture pioneer, leading the way in creating the next generation of filmed content. Tony’s varied experience in the media industry has taken him from directing and producing to senior roles at Paramount Pictures and Viacom. He also launched the Arab content creation hub, twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. He recently came in to provide advice to Met Film School’s MA Business and Producing students.
Tony shared with us his views on the top trends in filmed content that every future filmmaker should know!
1. Think beyond the term “filmmaker”
The world of film today is changing so radically, that rather than seeing yourself as a filmmaker, you should think of yourself as a content creator, sharing a story. That story could be distributed on YouTube, shown on broadcast TV or online via Netflix or even incorporated into the next groundbreaking video game.
It’s vital to think beyond making a feature film and embrace the variety of filmed formats and distribution channels available in today’s world.
2. Remember quality of content is still paramount
What continues to be important is the ability to tell a story in a compelling way. The core skills of storytelling, including: scriptwriting, cinematography, directing, postproduction and the art of producing continue to be vital.
Gaining the right training, just as students at Met Film School are, is still essential. If you have a look at what is the most popular content on YouTube today for example, it’s still high quality filmed content that dominates globally.
3. Find a new approach to making money from your content.
Once people wondered if the UK marketplace would be able to cope with more than 4 TV channels, now there are almost 500 broadcast TV channels and many more available online and on-demand. These channels are generating revenue through a variety of models spanning TV license fees, advertising to subscription models.
As a result, today there are many more opportunities for content producers to find an audience for filmed material and make money from it. Identification of the right way to exploit content is a key task for today’s filmed content producers.
4. Take responsibility for the effects of your content
These opportunities also include increased responsibilities though.
Today, with the huge reach of the Internet, all content will inevitably get an audience so no matter how unusual the subject or odd the execution, your work will have some influence on some people.
Therefore it’s important to be truthful as a content producer. Share your opinions, tell great stories, but try to consider and understand the potential reactions that could be generated by your work and be prepared to take responsibility for it.
5. Consider the potential of new technology
Technology is breaking down barriers by allowing filmed content producers to feed the human race’s imagination in new and innovative ways. Audiences are increasingly demanding higher levels of realism on screens. Technologies such as performance capture are allowing for this to be delivered. It provides opportunities to create realistic fantasy creatures, stunt doubles and even younger and older versions of actors where the story requires it.
Though such technology is expensive today, developments in R&D will make such tools widely available in the future. It is therefore essential to keep abreast of tech trends to help you connect your imagination with tomorrow’s potential filmed reality.