Fortune Favours the Brave
Long gone are the days that a British film production company could go cap in hand to a government division with an enthusiastic pitch, quirky script and cast of English thesps, knowing they had a more than fighting chance in securing funding. A global recession, struggling economies and governments fighting to balance budgets saw Arts and Charities sorely hit by government cuts.
What has emerged is a leaner, fitter, hungrier set of industries. The initial shock was delayed as the last round of grants kept everyone going. Twelve months or so of limbo followed. For some it meant the end. Others barely kept their heads above water. Then came a phase of restrategising and refocusing. Forced to rationalise, these bodies looked to business for a new, accountable, way of working and for many it was a turning point. We work with two such enterprises:
A charity that supports and empowers women and their children who have been victims of violence. A year ago they weren’t able to convey that succinctly, although it’s been their raison d’etre since they started. Before the recession they relied almost entirely on government funding to run a number of projects: Several women’s refuges; a programme for victims of sex trafficking; the Scarlett Centre, a one stop drop in place for women to seek help, advice, counselling and support. Now the Refuges have gone, handed back to Westminster council and Eaves are actively courting Corporate partnerships and philanthropists for financial support. They are a long way off financial security, but thanks to forward thinking and ruthless restructuring, they survive to fight another day for themselves and the women they help.
And so to film. From the sublime to the not so ridiculous. A different industry but experiencing similar challenges. We first spoke to Reelscape Film in 2009 when their project ‘Fortune Cookies’ was a glint in their producer, Becky Adams, eye. She was looking for sponsorship, partnership or brand placement deals which would enable her team to self-fund the film. Each year they have come up with an increasingly innovative way to raise funds: Individuals could buy a day with the crew during filming for themselves or a friend; companies could offer a staff or customer incentive to win a walk on part; currently they are offering studio tours of their set at Elstree, including full hospitality packages. Each initiative has seen them creep closer to their financial goal.
Two very different organisations, two very similar challenges. Businesses across the country are facing similar situations. Increasingly turning to marketing, fundraising and awareness initiatives to build profiles, raise money and live to trade another day. Keep fighting the good fight and long may it continue.