In November 2019, Screenwest engaged independent consultants Screenworks to undertake a Western Australian Industry Health Check. The information gathered through online surveys and industry forums helped inform Screenwest’s strategic planning process, as well as the 2021-24 Strategic Plan, due for release in early 2021.
Conducted prior to COVID-19, the Health Check gathered valuable insights from individuals and companies into the health and ambition of the Western Australian Screen Industry. It has also helped to identify skills gaps areas, and has highlighted focus areas, as well as providing a worthwhile benchmark for Screenwest’s own organisational performance.
The WA Screen Industry Health Check process was extremely valuable for Screenwest as we learned about priorities for industry prior to the pandemic. We know the current global circumstances within production, distribution and broadcasting have changed significantly. The industry in which we work is rapidly evolving and we understand that Screenwest must evolve with it, in order to best position our organisation and industry as key players and leaders within a competitive global market.
This first survey consultation gave the WA screen industry the ability to provide insights into their key challenges, drivers and economic circumstances.
As circumstances have changed so dramatically within the last twelve months, we believe it is important to keep informed of the needs of the industry and continue to measure performance against our strategic objectives. As such, we have decided to run an annual industry survey, the findings of which will assist Screenwest to continue to be a nimble and pro-active leader and advocate for the Western Australian Screen industry.
Screenwest has utilised the unidentified data it received from the industry via the Health Check to feed into its strategic planning process, which will set the organisation on an ambitious pathway from 2021 to best lead, promote, support and grow the Western Australian screen industry into the future.
Just some of the key findings from the WA Screen Industry Health Check are as follows.
Sector representation within the survey
- Individuals taking part in the survey worked across Drama (56%), both Documentary and Drama (29.44%) Documentary only (8.89%) and Other (21.11%, in which respondents selected TV commercials, corporate advertising and education).
- The primary sector for most of the company survey respondents was Production for either TV (28.13%) or Film (15.63%), with Facilities/Equipment Hire ranking third (12.5%) followed by Games Development (9.38%).
What drives commitment and interest to the screen industry?
- Storytelling was considered the key driver for screen industry practitioners (37.78% of responses in the individual survey and 25% of the company respondents)
- Enriching Culture also rated highly amongst both individual and company respondents, with over 21% of company survey respondents seeing this as being one of their key drivers.
Priority of Screenwest Funds
The industry was asked to indicate how they thought Screenwest should prioritise its funds. The below shows the comparison of industry expectation and the actual 2019-20 Funding Program Budget allocation.
WA screen product was exported across the globe prior to COVID which indicates that with the global increase on demand for screen content around the world – Screenwest needs to continue and expand its focus on international market partnerships for the benefit of the WA film industry.
- International export of content is a priority for the majority of company survey respondents. 59% of company survey respondents produced content which was exported internationally. Key territories exported to were Worldwide (63.16%), USA (21.05%), United Kingdom (26.32%), Europe (21.05%) and Asia (10.53%).
Our production companies are key drivers of employment, content creation and production activity, but to keep practitioners in the state, we need to ensure there is a solid pipeline of production in place.
- Based on the data collected in the company survey, respondents were predominantly employing full-time, ongoing staff in Western Australia with an average of 54% of employees being full time. 88% of respondents stated that they were employing full-time, ongoing staff.
- Over 63% of individual survey respondents indicated their screen industry job/business was their primary source of income, with over 36% indicating they had to financially sustain themselves through other means.
- Over 51% of individual survey respondents indicated that they would require annual employment for 39 to 52 weeks with their current weekly wage, to sustain themselves.
- Approximately 20% of individual respondents indicated that there was not enough work throughout the year due to gaps in production, or the state not attracting or supporting enough film/TV projects to ensure crews have work year-round. Survey comments from both individual and company surveys indicated that this is continuing to lead to a loss of talent to other states or internationally. Over 16% of individual respondents indicated that not having a studio in WA was a key contributor to the state not attracting enough work.
Expertise The survey results showed that the WA Industry was made up of qualified professionals with 78% of respondents having completed post-secondary or tertiary education. 65% had completed a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
Some areas were identified as areas on which Screenwest can and should improve on. Screenwest is committed to improving on all of these recommended areas, with a number of these well underway
- More timely communication.
- More streamlined decision-making processes.
- A greater focus on post-production.
- A greater focus on the games, interactive and VR sector.
- A greater focus on production attraction, long-form drama and studio infrastructure to provide employment opportunities.
- More communication and promotion of what the industry does and what Screenwest does to support the industry.
Strategic Direction – Save the Date
Screenwest has used feedback from the local industry and consultation with our Industry Advisory Group and key funding stakeholders to carefully shape a strategic plan which will not only address challenges and opportunities but, grow a sustainable industry in Western Australia.
We will release Screenwest’s strategic plan in 2021, with a view to commence delivering upon these strategic objectives immediately.
Ultimately, the new strategic plan is ambitious, but will still enable Screenwest to support the local industry to play to its strengths and grow and develop in new ways. The plan will also position the organisation to take a more active leadership role to ensure our amazing WA talent is provided opportunity to create high quality work which is seen and acknowledged by WA, national and international communities.
It is anticipated that the Strategic Plan will be finalised and released to industry via an online presentation on Thursday 28 January 2021. More information will be released in the new year, but in the meantime, save the date in your calendar.
Listen to our podcast – In Conversation with Screenwest for a behind the scenes look at the world of screen production as world-class film, television, documentary and digital media practitioners share their experiences, insight and expertise.
View the WA Screen Industry Calendar to see what’s happening in the screen industry in Western Australia.