Home grown…

I read with interest this week, that Kevin McCloud was in Auckland to launch a local version of his hugely successful British show Grand Designs.

Grand Designs to be built locally in New Zealand

While I applaud the impact of creating a local version of  a hit show such as this can have on the economy, versus just buying in overseas made versions – I can’t help but think we have enough of our own successful home grown talent that we could foster and nurture ensuring all the money is generated by New Zealand in New Zealand. I’m not for one minute saying we shouldn’t buy international hit shows, for one thing it brings diversity, but I am questioning the need for these franchise shows where we simply buy and replicate a format. As my previous post mentioned we are more than capable of creating home-grown shows, that are good enough to generate international interest.

For a local industry to thrive it needs money injected into it to produce talent and creativity. While a show such as Grand Designs will employ local staff giving training and experience, at the end of the day the profits will flow out of the country. Why not employ the same people in local productions that have a chance of being sold outside New Zealand – after all no one will buy a New Zealand version of an already internationally franchised show.

Eminem-tertainment.

I wrote last week about Broods and the skepticism with which I viewed the sudden attention they were receiving. Indeed, I’ve not heard much about them since writing about those few interviews I found last week so maybe my predictions about their transience were accurate. A much bigger name was in the news lately however – one that’s been around for much longer.

This story from the UK newspaper The Guardian details Eminem’s decision to take legal actions against our very own Nation party for using his song ‘Lose Yourself.’ The story rightly points out the irony that the National party championed artist’s rights to reap the financial funds from their work yet have seemingly abandoned this cause when it suited them. It also brings up the question as to why the hell does Eminem even need the money – isn’t he rich enough already? But it seems that people’s desire for that extra bit of comfort cash spans all professions and income levels.

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For us normal people there’s an option to follow in Eminem’s footsteps. I’ve recently been struggling to make it to the end of the month with any cash left over. Bills are on the rise and basic living expenses are also increasing while salaries seem destined to remained fixed and flat. Luckily, the website simplecash.co.nz is here to help out. Providing immediate loans to tide you over until your next payday, it’s a great way to secure some simple fast cash. I’ve used the service and while it has its pitfalls and dangers, if used with caution it can be a great way to make sure you’re not left short at the end of the month.

Broods

We could be looking at another international success which might bring some much needed focus to the wealth of talent and hard-working artists our country ceaselessly produces.

Tipped as New Zealand’s next big pop export, the brother-sister combo Broods could be coming to a radio station near you. Something worries me a little about this story however. I’m happy to see the homegrown singers get some international attention, it’s a great thing to help drum up some support and interest in the creative efforts of New Zealand’s youth. What worries me is that this duo have been writing songs together for only a year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a sign of the times when it comes to looking at what kinds of acts come into the spot light these days. Already appearing in numerous magazine interviews, there seem to be an influx of stories before we’ve even had chance to hear what they’re capable of. And all off the back of a supermarket talent contest!

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Long gone are the days when bands would tour endlessly for a few years, hitting the road and relentlessly honing their songs and sounds with endless hours of band rehearsals – now it seems to be a much more disposable industry. Pop acts come and go as fast as you can learn their names and, taking a look at the pictures of these two, it looks to me like they’re much more suited to being fashion models than music mega stars. Do we really need to be pumping more self-important wannabe singers into the world’s awareness? Overall it doesn’t feel like something to be proud of.

Earning a Crust in Entertainment

With entertainment such an exported commodity these days it can be frustrating to see the cinemas, TV channels and YouTube streams absolutely DOMINATED by productions, movies and presentations from the USA. While I have nothing against Hollywood per se (apart from their apparently unrelenting penchant for funding any drivel and dross which gets pitched), it seems unfair when it comes to other countries competing for a slice of the lime… light. This seems to definitely be the case here.

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This news story talked of how some of our stars are not at all secure in their success. Such greats as Rena Owen and hiphop artist Ladi6 talk about how their fortunes have often rested on shaky grounds with them both disclosing their reliance on claiming the dole in order to make ends meet. This makes me a little sad when you see the stardom and solid success which actors and music artists of other countries enjoy.

Could it be changing? The new story ends on an optimistic note so hopefully we won’t be seeing the death of our stars. Furthermore, this report from the NZ film commission hails the launch of an on demand service for our films. We’re a little late to the game but could it be the stimulus our floundering entertainment industry needs?

Homeward Flight of the Conchords

FOTC

One of the most successful and well known NZ media exports are the comically-creative duo dubbed ‘Flight of the Conchords’ made up of Brett McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. Their hit TV show caused ripples of rib-tickles across the globe which saw the actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves trying to make it big in NY. Socially inept and musically immature the show chronicled the upds and downs of both their professional and private lives, so why was the show, after only two well-received seasons, brought to an end? This story points to family commitments for the duo as being the main issue. Whereas the Wikipedia article led me to an article that suggested FotC were not embraced at home with their humour being dubbed ‘too Wellington.’ To me it seems silly that two such talents can’t find national appreciation throughout their own country after they’ve done so much to bring it international renown and appreciation. As I pointed out in my last post, it seems that Wellington is indeed at the forefront when it comes to embracing the ways in which media can aid and enhance our economy.

The Royal visit

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As the media furore passes over, it seems enough reflective distance has come to look back upon the United Kingdom’s royal family tour and what this means for our Economy. In our current time whereby we are all too ready to keep our eyes glued to technology, resisting the urges of life without it, I find it quite amazing that a family can attract such attention. But, forgetting these kinds of effects, of course it is a benefit to our Economy. The media is kept happy as large column space is filled, and advertisers are given plenty of opportunities to get their names involved. But most importantly the benefits can be observed outside of the media. With such an extensive visit, places that would see sporadic visitor numbers throughout the year dramatically increase. Local shops and infrastructure may struggle at the time to keep up with demand, but surely the financial benefits associated are huge. The irony of the situation is that the whole premise the British empire was built on, still rears its head in such a day and age. And I wonder how much of the trip has been paid for by the government, and of course by our own taxes.