As part of a new series of articles looking at the work of industry associations, In Focus speaks to Bobby Amm, Executive Officer of the Commercial Producers Association (CPA) of South Africa.

In Focus:
What are your current plans & activities?

Amm:
As we head towards the end of 2007, most of the CPA’s current activity is centered on the re-negotiation of industry agreements.  We are in the process of making amendments to the standard contract used between advertising agencies and production companies when a commercial is commissioned.  This agreement was drafted many years ago by the Association of Communication & Advertising (ACA, then the AAA) and the CPA, however due to changing circumstances and trends in the industry it is important to update this agreement regularly.

Over the last year, the CPA has also been working with representatives from the Association of Commercial Editors (ACE) on formatting new guidelines for post production and is pleased to report that these guidelines are almost ready for circulation to the industry. The post guidelines will hopefully assist in alleviating some of the challenges and promoting greater transparency in the post production sector.

The CPA has also recently re-opened negotiations with the Association of Crewing Agents (ACASA) to make changes to the CPA Working Guidelines.  The Associations meet several times every two years or so to ensure that the guidelines are up to date and to discuss problem areas in the relationship between production companies and freelance crew.

Following very lengthy negotiations to amend the International Performer’s Agreement (used to contract talent in the service industry) the CPA is pleased to have finally reached agreements with the numerous talent organizations (NAMA, IGOMA, OSCA etc) active within this sector.  We hope to have the revised IPA out within the next week so that production companies and agents are able to use it in the 2007/2008 season.

Our immediate plans for 2008 are to update the CPA website, turning it into an on-line resource for our members.  We also hope to be involved in an industry internship programme in 2008 but plans are currently on hold as we wait for news of the beleaguered MAPPP-SETA.  We will again conduct the “CPA Survey” in 2008 for the fourth consecutive year. There are a few other suggestions on the table for next year but, at this stage, it is premature to confirm any of them.

 

In Focus:
What is the mood amongst members like?

Amm:
The mood seems to be quite good at the moment.  Work in Johannesburg is very consistent and Cape Town appears to be off to a good start to the 2007/2008 season.  The industry is more competitive than ever before and producers report that budgets are smaller and margins tighter than they have been in the past.

Although producers remain optimistic there is an underlying frustration that it is becoming far harder to produce creative excellence with high production values.

 

In Focus:
What does the association see as pros (or cons)
to Gauteng and then also what do they see as Gauteng’s great challenges?

Amm:
Gauteng is the heart of the film industry in South Africa. Commercial production first originated in Gauteng in the 1970’s and the province remains the seat of the local industry with 90% of commercials produced here for South African broadcast.  The consistent year round production of commercials gives great stability to the industry in Gauteng. Aside from this, Gauteng has always been very film friendly and has welcomed commercial producers with a “can-do” attitude that is hard to beat.  Gauteng has a good film infrastructure, great crews, a large talent pool and excellent suppliers – and, of course, the weather is GREAT!

The con is, of course, the unacceptably high crime levels in the province especially when it comes to attracting international work to Gauteng.  Also, our locations are quite specific and we don’t have as much variety as Cape Town.  Interestingly enough, we saw an increase in the numbers of Cape Town based service companies bringing their international clients to Gauteng this past season.  Locations in Gauteng are more accessible, less expensive and permits easier to obtain.

Gauteng’s challenge is to reverse negative perceptions and to ensure that it remains film friendly and pro-active.  Recently the CPA has been alarmed by an increase in prohibitive regulations around Gauteng locations.  We are working with the Gauteng Film Commission to try to make sure that filming in our province remains straight-forward and
cost effective.

In Focus:
Are your membership numbers increasing?

Amm:
No, our membership numbers generally remain at between 40 and 45 companies every year. There are a few companies we would like to recruit as new members but generally speaking the CPA remains extremely representative of the commercial production sector.


In Focus:
Are there any initiatives that you are spearheading that you may like the Gauteng industry to know about?

 

Amm:
There is a couple but they are still in the planning phase – we’ll update you next year.