I’ve Been That Monkey20/06/2022 Slightly controversially, Broadcast published an article (paywall) this week which laments the seeping away of older, more experienced talent. In it, the authors claim that the current talent crisis won’t be solved by concentrating resources on entry-level talent. It’s hard not to agree.There is already an over-supply of bright young things surging into the business. You only have to look at the notice-boards of the various talent agencies to see the clamour for help to get positions, and if you’re senior enough to have done any mentoring, you’ll also have heard many complaints about the levels of competition and tried to answer queries about how to land credits and climb the greasy pole.Screenskills is an admirable organisation, but it definitely slants its help towards those in the early stages of their careers: how to get in, how to progress to the next level, how to survive and manage relations with producers and managers. It’s easy to understand why: that’s where the most noise comes from, and – frankly – this is the low-hanging fruit of the TV help business.You could argue, though, that what we should be doing is not so much grooming a new generation as concentrating on retaining the current one. The Broadcast article’s authors note that TV careers “have a shelf-life”. Supported by a report by the Film + TV Charity, they point out that workers over 50 have gone missing (through leaving the business) in their tens of thousands.We’re none of us getting any younger, but we are all accruing experience as we go. The help that this generation needs is to maintain flexibility, learn new skills and build new networks. Most importantly, links need to be built between production companies of all sizes, broadcasters and the experienced TV workers to ensure that all that accrued skill and refined talent is harnessed for the latest demands of TV. And both prod-cos and broadcasters need to stop being dazzled by new, young talent (I know, they get brownie-points for making discoveries, but still) and actually pride themselves on taking on people who actually already know their craft. Otherwise we end up with programmes made by apprentices rather than masters, and that’s just a race to the bottom.Sadly, diminishing programme budgets lead to production companies hiring on the cheap. In doing so, they end up taking a punt on junior talent and hoping that, with adequate supervision, they won’t cock up too badly. I know how many mistakes I made as I worked my way through the ranks: I’ve definitely been the monkey they got when they paid peanuts. But does this really work out cheaper? Or does it just lead to extra expense trying to fix everything in post (not to mention a lot of unnecessary stress for the execs)? You decide.Jonathan Schütz Previous articleWho Wants Specialist Factual?Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment *Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.