GPN 2023: Successes, Challenges, and Global Filmmaking Trends
In a recent interview with Harry Tracosas, valuable insights into GPN's experiences throughout 2023 were shared, offering a comprehensive overview of the company's achievements, hurdles, and its standing in the dynamic global filmmaking landscape.
A Positive Year for GPN
2023 turned out to be a remarkably satisfying year for GPN, surpassing initial expectations. Existing clients showcased unwavering loyalty, and the company forged new partnerships, marking a positive trajectory.
Throughout the year, GPN experienced a robust job flow with a continuous focus on improvement. The team's dedicated efforts in public relations and marketing played a pivotal role in fostering client satisfaction, resonating positively with both clients and internal stakeholders. Loyalty from longstanding GPN clients remains a cornerstone, reflecting a 20-year collaborative partnership.
GPN's global influence was evident through a variety of projects, ranging from a substantial collaboration with Coca-Cola in Turkey to ventures in Italy, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Embracing Virtual Studios and Future Endeavors
Harry emphasizes the increasing importance of virtual studios. He was enthusiastic about future possibilities - highlighting the fact, that GPN recently added the first virtual studio in its rooster.
He also openly discussed geopolitical challenges affecting the industry, referencing uncertainties related to Ukraine and conflicts in Israel. Despite these challenges, an optimistic tone prevailed, with a call for an imaginative approach in 2024. Exploring alternative regions for work during geopolitical uncertainties will be a strategic consideration.
In conclusion, the interview provided a holistic view of GPN's journey in 2023. As GPN navigates the complexities of the industry, the commitment to delivering impactful and creative solutions remains unwavering, ensuring a resilient and dynamic future.
Interview with Hicham Hajji
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived on the film scene, has already had a significant impact, and is poised to change the industry in ways that we cannot yet perceive.
Additionally, the SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood has shaken up the industry. This conversation with Hicham Hajji from "The Talkies" illustrates the challenges faced from a producer's perspective.
The Talkies is a premier production service provider in the MENA region, delivering top-tier content across local, regional, and global platforms. Hicham Hajj,is one of the leading producers at the Talkies who seamlessly blends local insight, global filmmaking expertise, and a profound comprehension of both Moroccan culture and worldwide film trends.
2023 was a productive and ambitious year for The Talkies. Among other projects, The Talkies produced a substantial TV, show, the Phoenicians, for several major streaming networks.
Throughout the course of the year, new challenges emerged for the production industry and demanded a rethink in the way they work..AI has been a major challenge for The Talkies as independent people have started creating visuals using AI -with almost zero costs. The technology is continually changing, and at a dizzying pace.
It’s clear that AI is a time saver which will reduce the number of scriptwriters across the board. Hajji notes the difference that the role of AI plays in big and small companies: “I believe that major companies will want to advertise properly and use actors to establish a strong connection to the audience. A lot of small companies will probably use A.I., which will reduce costs.”
It is essential to keep the creativity behind each and every project. At this point AI is unable to create a flawless script and so it is necessary to have a human, and the creator, behind managing, editing, changing, and fixing the story.
Hajji emphasizes that all forms of Artificial Intelligence are a way to spice up creations. However, there needs to be person working behind the AI and driving it forward: “When you create an idea and you're discussing it around the table, you have the different opinions of so many people. This is what makes it art. […] At the end of the day, it's going to create. The human brain has so much potential.”
This is a great segway into the Hollywood strikes by SAG-AFTRA. Several of The Talkies projects had to be postponed because the strike lasted 118 days for actors and 148 days for writers.
When Hajji realized the extent of the strike, he was in shock. It was a heartbreaking to tell a crew of 200-300 people that projects were not going to happen. The projects they had planned for 2023 faced delays due to interruptions in the writing process and the negotiations with actors. One of their major TV shows (a multimillion-dollar project) which was initially targeted for December 2023, was then rescheduled for March 24, and is now, once again,rescheduled for August 24. The extended timeline is attributed to the need for a new process in dealing with actors and writers, even after the resolution of strikes and negotiations.
What problems have arisen? The prolonged strike led to reduced income for everyone involved. The consequences extended beyond Hollywood professionals, affecting a vast number of technicians in Morocco and worldwide. Approximately 80% of the 5000 to 7000 technicians in the Moroccan film industry, along with their families, were affected by the pause in Hollywood projects. The adverse effects were not limited to Moroccan professionals but also impacted international crews from various countries working for Hollywood. The lack of local opportunities during the strike forced many to seek alternative employment, leading to a challenging period for numerous individuals, including actors working on a daily basis.
Following the conclusion of the strike on November 9th, many concerns related to payments and the use of actors' images by studios, especially impacting background actors, were addressed and resolved. Hajji is a proponent of the solution because individuals should be remunerated for their image and time on set. They find it unjust that actors could potentially sell their image for a minimal amount and have it utilized in Hollywood movies without limit. In Hicham Hajji’s words: “We have agreements that are approved by the union […] and we are going forward.”