‘Content isn’t king, and data isn’t queen. The idea is king. And it isn’t married to any technology‘ – Mark Duffy via Dave Trott
Back in 2000, when I was at university, my course leader Professor Jeremy Barr rebranded our course. Originally named BA (Hons) Professional Broadcasting, he renamed it ‘Content creation for broadcast and new media’. ‘What does that mean?’ I thought to myself – sounds a bit pompous. ‘I want to be a Professional Broadcaster, not a content creator for broadcast and new media!’
Turns out Jeremy was pretty prophetic – nearly 16 years later everyone is talking about content. When I started my career I really wanted to be a film editor. I began on the bottom rung of the ladder working in the mailroom of a post-production house in London. I gradually progressed and trained as a digital film technician, but it was a long way off the dream of actually making something people could watch on the telly or in the cinema.
My career veered around a bit and after a 2-year stint at Channel 4, I was offered the job as an in-house filmmaker at Redwood , a content agency. This was a dream job for me at the time as I was able to do everything, shoot, edit, direct, and whilst my work wasn’t being broadcast in the traditional sense it did have an audience, and I was able to get creative without the constraints and hierarchies of the film and tv industry. I also gained invaluable insight into the workings of a marketing agency, the creative process and working with clients. I created a lot of content. The rise of branded video content was a game-changer for me.
I’ve now been working as a freelance filmmaker for 6 years. 2015 was perhaps the most varied of my career. Alongside the branded web video content I’ve created, I’ve worked, with AB, on two TV commercials and a cinema commercial is currently in production. The film ‘Race to London’ which I shot and edited for airline Flybe with AB was commended at the Drum Content Awards. A fantastic year. Check out my showreel.
My view on content now? ‘Content is king’ is a marketing phrase someone once said that has been glibly banded around. The truth, of course, is that content is just stuff, be it words, pictures, TV, film, video, audio. Everything is content, and it’s everywhere. It’s accessed by people in evolving ways. For brands, content marketing has become a big opportunity to create new connections with consumers in a way that’s perhaps more subtle than traditional forms of marketing. If a piece of branded content creates an emotional connection and become truly sharable, that’s the holy grail.
As a filmmaker mainly creating output for creative agencies I have strong views on what I regard to be quality content, and that’s where I feel there is a key differentiator. Quality of idea, quality of execution. If it’s not any good people won’t want to engage with it, people are very quick to ‘filter’ stuff they don’t connect with.
Last year airline BMI regional created a film ‘Race to Paris’ promoting their route between Bristol and Paris. This came 10 months after ‘Race to London’, the film I helped create with AB for Flybe. What was that phrase about imitation and flattery?