Taking a View: The Conceptualisation and Management of Risk in the Film Industry
How risk is understood and acted upon in the film industry has a substantial impact upon what films are financed, produced and seen.
The conceptualisation and management of risk can have dramatic implications for the achievement of film’s role – both as a public good in its ability to help us engage with the world and each other, and with regard to economic returns for the people and companies involved.
During 2016-17 I undertook postdoctoral research to examine the complex, multifaceted and contested subject of risk in the film business. The context is predominantly the UK independent film industry, which is necessarily informed by the activity of Studios and large media companies, the international marketplace, and other audiovisual sectors e.g. HETV.
Thanks to the kind involvement of over forty high-level film industry professionals working at the Vice President (Legal, Commercial, Acquisitions) and Founder / CEO levels across the Film Value Chain, and the insight of a handful of world-leading academics, I have been able to develop an account of the subject.
Over the course of 2018 I am looking to publish and disseminate the outcomes of this work, and these pages will provide relevant links and information.
The first major release is here.
Coverage of the launch is here.
Evidence of impact is here.
[Notes on work in progress were posted here. A set of references to a working synopsis of the research: 20180016_research_risk_independent_film_sector_DSGN_TL_v7 Working Draft References ICCE Risk Research Synopsis – Unformatted but in Sequence 16518 and methods are provided here for reference: methods-note-info-only-updated2018]
Work in progress can be found here
I recently published in the Journal of Cultural Economics with Mallen 20 colleagues on the data analytics aspects of the issue and have signed a book contract with Routledge to deliver more of the research outcomes in future.
The book is almost available for pre-order and the webpage is here
A related REF case study selected for submission by ICCE, Goldsmiths, UoL is available here and was judged internationally excellent.
I find the concept of known unknowns to be a really interesting and helpful concept in the context of this research.
The key known unknown being the revenue to be generated from a film before it is made. All manner of devices, strategies, and sectoral organisation approaches are engaged in attempts to make this value more known. These include approaches to framing or putting boundaries through structural engineering of deal terms to the lower end of the spectrum, whilst retaining some access to the potentially unbounded upside of a hit film.
I am very grateful to the talented individuals mentioned below for their kind permission for the use of the image.
[Image Credit: Known Unknowns: Anna Louise Quijano, Nicola Charlotte Bradley, Lucrecia Camiletti, Joseph Curle, Matthew Edgson, Dean Pankhurst and Tom Wagstaff.]
The research has been supported by a major donation from the Patrick McKenna Charitable Trust and partly by ICCE at Goldsmiths, University of London.