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TONI THORNE: Issues slowing down our creative industries


TONI THORNE: Issues slowing down our creative industries

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OUR creative industries are still growing. They can be likened to an infant baby embarking on the first steps. The cultural calendar is continuously expanding and more entrepreneurs are taking the step into the development of the creative industries whether they are music producers, videographers, actors or dancers.

As a member of this industry, I too, identify with the cries of our slow development and seek ways in which we can truly build a sound, sustainable business community.

Many issues have been highlighted as to why the development has been so slow. In these lists, three key elements have never been mentioned: greed, integrity and delusions of grandeur.

Rome was not built in a day and becoming a millionaire overnight is an anomaly. Too often in the creative industries we hear of instances where persons flip flop on their prices and give the most baseless of reasons.

We cannot and should not be pricing services based on the fluctuations of a light or phone bill. When I go to Burger King, the price of a burger does not fluctuate with the directors’ financial goals for the month. If we want to be respected, we must have a certain level of professionalism.

Seeking to make up for ten months of financial drought by charging “wobatonne” figures at the first sale, does no good for your business, your patrons and the industry on a whole. Creative practitioners should also be focused on fostering meaningful relationships with clients and customers as well.

In these times people should not be heard to say “O…he is an artist, so we expect him to be very talented but you know these artistic types are disorganised”. 

Broken promises and unprofessionalism fuelled by what some may term as money-hounding, continue to permeate our industry. Whilst there is admiration for our talent, these behaviours also fuel disdain and disregard for our lack of business acumen.

I would like to see a sector where there is less running down and hounding clients for money in circumstances where we know full well we have not produced a complete or satisfactory job.

Due to the fact that the world is flatter now, no creative entrepreneur is indispensable. A simple tag search on Instagram can open up a world of persons who do the same kind of craft that our local cartoonist would do in a more professional, organised manner and in some instances cheaper.

I am not advocating that our creatives riddle ourselves with cheap prices for our work. I am simply advocating that maybe we are not being realistic and looking at the whole picture at times, when we quote for our services.

“Why should we care bout the holistic picture, yuh idiot?” some of you may ask. We should care about the holistic picture because we do not exist in Barbados by ourselves and talent alone cannot carry a man or an island. There are other characteristics that make a success story such as hard work, dedication, trustworthiness, dependability and humility.

During some rehearsals, I have heard Cecily Spencer Cross ask actors to “leave their egos at the door”. This is a concept we should all take into account as we go through our endeavours. More recently, I heard of a story where Shonda Rhimes (the current queen of television and producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder) has a no nonsense policy in her television production company. In a recent interview, she stated that there is no room for nasty people, egos and Heigls (the latter being an actress who was written out of the show after she and Rhimes could not see eye to eye on a variety of issues) in her Shondaland Productions. Your ego is not your amigo and more of us need to understand this.

 I do believe that we have talents which can rival our global counterparts.

However, until we can understand some of the underlying issues (especially those we have caused) which continue to affect the growth of our industry, we shall continue to be likened to that baby who is yet to take her first steps.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email [email protected]