Written by Olu Osinoiki: 23rd November, 2020
Currently I work as a freelance Photographer, Videographer & Creative Director at Olumedia but I aspire to run my own TV company one day. I decided to take part in Babbasa’s Natural History focus group as I’m trying to pursue a career in the TV industry, so I always go to stuff like this to network and understand the sector better.
When I think of Natural History, Plimsoll Productions always comes to mind because I did an internship there through Babbasa. I also think David Attenborough (because who doesn’t?) But mainly I think of the intense production process. Having witnessed behind the scenes of large-scale productions a few times, I can’t help but think of the people who have to deal with broken/frozen lenses and all sorts of other crazy kit damage. Endless hours spent organising all the safety and scheduling side of things by production management staff and hours spent waiting for “that shot” by the videographers. Overall, it’s a ridiculously impressive process. There’s a lot of effort, money and time put in from start to finish from the development stage, coming up with ideas, to the final edits in the cool studios. Makes me wonder if we should just spend more money, time and effort fixing the real problem though…like rising sea levels etc.
During the focus group session, I learned even more about the many layers of TV production over time and that there are some really admirable elements, such as the fact most people in the industry start at the bottom. It’s really inspiring in a way because it makes you feel like anyone can make it. However, I was simultaneously reminded that TV is a corporate industry, climbing the ladder isn’t easy! There’s people to impress and hoops to jump through. It’s sad that something so magical has such a mechanical process and culture.
I would say the main thing I don’t like about the current state of the production industry is the corporate nature of job progression. I hate to see that ladder climbing model in any industry. Judging people on narrow criteria like being able to work as a runner or do an unpaid internship or some other kinda crappy starting role is really limiting the industry as a whole. I’m really passionate about innovating a production company model that bins that mechanical corporate process and makes space for something more inclusive and progressive. Ironically, I’m naturally quite risk averse so I understand completely why the industry hasn’t changed, especially with all the competition from online platforms like Netflix and Youtube. There’s too much at stake. But taking risks is the only way to see a culture shift, and I would love to see the culture shift. More inclusion, more risk and more failure. That’s what I would change.
Focus groups like this are important because they give everyone a chance to think, reflect and assess the current state of things. That’s important for any process to grow and improve. It gives people who feel like outsiders the chance to communicate their perspectives, another invaluable tool for development. I think these focus groups make real change a possibility and inspire young people like me to innovate and achieve their goals.
You can find Olu and some of his work on Instagram @olumedia or go to olumedia.co.uk