APA Council Elections: The Voice of the Underdog
I've always looked at the industry as an ecosystem; it only stays healthy if all members, big and small, collectively and actively work to sustain it. I’m stressing big and small players, as their interests and problems are mostly intertwined and of the same nature.
We need to stop the race to the bottom. In my blunt opinion, undercutting each other for short-term gains is the main issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. I imagine this applies to all disciplines, from production, to music, sound, post production and production servicing.
It is easy for more boutique companies such as Rumble to give in and agree to ridiculously low budget (high expectation) briefs just 'to get in’ with a new client. Companies of our size can afford that because we are small and have low overheads. Bigger players in the game often do the same because they mostly rely on the handful of big jobs that they receive throughout the year. The only problem with this is we teach the client a bad lesson: "I can ask for this again, and someone will say 'yes'”. And in no time, our actions turn into new 'internal policies’ and create new standards from which there can be no return.
I hear this particular issue at every industry gathering, but it’s not yet been dealt with in a more pragmatic way.
There’s also much debate over the APA's similarities to a union. As a company that constantly has to hire unionised crew, we can see the benefits of having a union that protects all members and also perhaps more importantly, expects its members to abide by its rules.
Beside the issues that Carole Humphreys so eloquently put in her manifesto, with which I completely agree, I would like to draw attention to the following:
Introducing a system that helps us regulate bidding among APA members (if possible): As explained above, continuing on our current path will damage the craft and the industry to a point of no return.
Regulating and creating a ‘system’ for loaning out talents and pitching against in house production: This has been raised many times and it is one of the biggest concerns of the APA and its members. But after many discussions I don’t believe that there’s a solid system in place for the above to protect production companies and their directors when they are approached by in-house companies.
Closer collaboration among the members: I don’t think it is just down to the APA! The members' honest and open collective effort is the key to overcome the matters that are brought to the council.
Over the past few years we’ve all noticed the drop in the quality of the work. Every year the member companies are being asked to deliver more for less. Being respectful to the APA's ever-rising crew rates, and having a love for the craft, companies often give in to making a little less and delivering a little more; one brief at the time, and year after year. Maybe because some of our decisions are not driven by suits, but rather by the love for the craft. Unfortunately, over a long period, I feel these kind of decisions will lead to the destruction of the very craft we love.