Auckland’s screen industry landscape is developing rapidly, with a sharp increase in international productions making their home in Auckland, and domestic production companies developing their production slates. 

In August, ATEED circulated a survey asking heads of departments (HODs) to predict likely shortages in their current and future workforce.  The survey was conducted with key screen industry partners including New Zealand Screen Industry Guild (NZSIG), the New Zealand Cinematographers Association (NZCS), Women in Film and Television (WIFT), The Data Book, and Crew List.

We had a great response, with more than 190 Auckland-based HODs among the 302 HODs nationwide who completed the survey.  Questions covered skills shortages, internships and traineeships, opportunities and obstacles for success in the screen industry.  

The survey identified a range of workforce issues, and ATEED is now working closely with our screen partners to determine the best programmes to solve them. 

Highlights from the survey included:

•    48% of contractor shortage identifications were in production, camera, location, lighting/grip, and costume departments. 
•    62% of responses said the most difficulty in crewing comes at mid to high levels
•    predictions of a lack of skilled and experienced contractors in the coming years
•    53% of respondents using either trainees or interns (and 63% of those not using them are interested)
•    Most identified under-represented groups as women (42% of responses), Māori (15% of responses) and Pasifika (in 15% of responses) 
•    Key opportunities and obstacles mirror each other with major mentions of infrastructure, studio space
•    Most respondents were aware of the increasing pipeline of work coming to Auckland, and as a result are concerned about skills shortages
•    They see a need to address these issues with inclusive upskilling initiatives to fill mid-level experience gaps; and programmes such as internships and traineeships for entry level positions
•    Retaining staff is key but viewed as difficult due to seasonal nature of work. This difficulty should be ameliorated with suitable pay or by creating a more sustainable pipeline of work.

In response to the developments within the screen industry, ATEED has established the Screen Development Opportunities Programme, headed by Felicity Letcher.  The programme’s aim is to support industry development, and raise the capacity and capability that increased opportunities provide.  The programme will be run in co-operation with industry and intends to be responsive to the industry’s needs as they develop over the next few years.  

The first activity has been to develop a screen Skills & Training Programme led by Marg Slater from Slater Films.  

Programmes will include:

-    Workshop initiatives for attracting new entrants into the industry
-    Onboarding courses for new entrants to get them set ready  
-    Traineeship and internship programmes
-    Screen business development workshops.

If you are interested in being involved as an industry participant, or you are an HOD who is interested in having a trainee as part of your next production, we would like to hear from you.
Please contact Felicity Letcher.