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The business of film
The business of film

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1.2 Retaining people

A key part of competitive business strategy involves aligning an organisation with its strategic environment. It is therefore vital for those running businesses in the film industry to fully understand the value chain they are working in.

A vital aspect of this is retaining people, and with people comes talent.

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Figure 2 Another film crew in action

There has recently been a rise in interest in the analytical concepts of the film value chain and value system. This is a result of changes in the economics of film financing and distribution, which threaten the existing business models (these are already made less secure, for example, by technological convergence, the decline of DVD sales and the continued growth of digital downloads and streaming).

Film is a freelance business and producers often find it very difficult to retain key creative talent across many films. Sometimes this is made worse by the financial power of the studios to lure key talent away to other film projects. This may increase fragmentation because teams have to be reformed anew for each new film, leading to difficulties around organisational learning and knowledge management, as the teams have less of an opportunity to learn across many projects. It may also lead to a more open creative environment with creative ideas and processes more easily spreading between teams.

It could be said that securing an ongoing and close relationship with key creative talent (especially writers and directors) should be the key strategic aim of most independent film producers; many producers have formal and informal ties with writing or directing talent that last over several films. However, other producers work with different ‘creatives’ from film to film and only occasionally work with the same people. In both cases, producers are acting to broaden and secure their access to talent.