Creativity is the one thing that remains a constant in our business. With technology driving change at every level in the industry, and at a bewildering pace, it's the thing we just can't do without.
What we always try to do is find strong human stories and then ask ‘how do we tell this for the target audience?' We work with a remarkable range of people – from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 through to National Geographic and MTV – and understanding what their audience wants is key.
Something like the introduction of tapeless recording is often seen as essentially a money saving change, but it's actually opened up creative opportunities.
We extend this by asking what technology can bring to the process. How can we use it in ways that feel fresh and exciting? Even as experienced storytellers, we're discovering new and innovative ways of reaching out to audiences.
New techniques in production also mean we're able to put things on screen in more varied and impactful ways than before.
Something like the introduction of tapeless recording is often seen as essentially a money saving change, but it's actually opened up creative opportunities. For example, fixed cameras that can run for several hours without attention mean we can now film things in a far less obtrusive way, making content far less of a ‘performance'.
This has led to some big creative gains and an opening up of ideas, with different genres trying out techniques drawn from other areas. Drama companies are looking to use ever lighter technologies for filming, factual companies want to take drama techniques into the edit suite. The boundaries by which certain genres of television used to be defined are being challenged and torn down as we discover new ways to reinvent traditional approaches to programme making.
Increasingly, we also have to keep the way in watch our programmes will be watched in mind. Many of our younger viewers not only want, but expect, to be given access to new ways of experiencing and interacting with content.
Whereas just a few years ago our goal was to make great TV that drew in the biggest live audiences possible, our job these days is to develop ideas that live across multiple platforms and screens in order to enhance the viewing experience beyond the transmission schedule.
Where there used to be a small handful of competing channels, there are now hundreds, all clamouring for fragments of the same total audience. The digital world has many critics, but it's also helped to drive a new era of creativity among programme makers as they seek to exploit the demand for content.
Like every industry, television has voices who say that the best is in the past, that the golden era has come and gone. But that says as much about the individual as television itself. TV is in a more exciting place than it ever has been – let no-one tell you otherwise
True North is the fastest growing indie outside London and home to some of the most creative and tenacious talent in television.
Illustration by Daniel Duke
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