Newly announced screen production projects have added to the buzz and opportunities in Auckland’s industry, but they also highlight potential pressures on crew availability and overall training.

Demand for crew will be at an all-time high and it is imperative that people brought into the industry are ‘set ready’ and prepared for the work life that comes with it.

So, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is starting to develop a world-class skills and development programme and has appointed experienced producer Marg Slater from Slater Films to get it up and running.

ATEED will work closely with The Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand and Nga Aho Whakaari, as well as the New Zealand Film Commission to develop a programme that will be able to open the industry, and support capability and capacity raising across the board – for productions large and small. The focus will initially be on entry level crew positions.

Marg Slater has been consulting widely across the industry to determine the pipeline of upcoming productions over the next year. It is important that the programme can be responsive and flexible with the areas of greatest constraint getting support. The scheme will be made available to companies as well as productions – both local and international.

To determine the current state and areas where the sector is constrained, ATEED worked with the The Screen Industry Guild to put out a skills shortage survey to heads of departments. The results are interesting and will be shared with industry soon.

Marg Slater and a small team has started industry engagement working with the Ministry of Education in Auckland’s west during a series of career expos targeting secondary school students aged 15 – 18.

The screen industry booth’s objective was to explain the possible pathways for a career in screen. ATEED received fantastic support from Barbara Darragh and Across the Board; Gabrielle Jones and Dianne Ensor at The Makeup School; Imagezone; Roger Murray of Main Reactor; Eyemo Films; Gavin Stroud; Blacklight; Christian Dunn; and Professional Lighting Services (PLS). Each donated time, equipment and personnel to the career days.

The screen industry booth was one of the most popular at all three expos. It also showed what was possible in terms of engagement with young people, and the benefits of working together as an industry to promote career opportunities.

ATEED is now looking at new programmes, which will be rolled out with the support from government partners in upcoming months.