Why we all need to work together or it’s game over.


The race is on, there’s a whole new breed of creative on the way and it’s going to make the shift from shooting on film to digital, look like Pac Man.

In tech circles there is something called coopetition, its where competitive companies work together to serve and innovate to the benefit of the whole (aka NVIDIA, Intel). As they say, “a rising tide lifts all” and that’s the case now with the creative production industry too.

But this may seem like hippy west coast thinking (actually Harvard), is a clash with the old-fashioned culture of Production Companies, Studios, and even the department crews, who have used a system of “exclusion of others” to protect and secure their markets. Now, as technology moves on-set, in ever more ways, it’s time for the production industry to realize that we are now not all competition to each other, but to succeed we must be quite the opposite.

Coopetition (also spelled co-opetition) is a portmanteau, combining the words cooperation and competition. The principles and practices of coopetition are credited to Harvard and Yale business professors, Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff. Competitive businesses that also cooperate when it is to their advantage are said to be in coopetition.

The Production industry is now infected by tech, and as such it needs to change its thinking or its game over.

We are now all in coopetition with each other, which is quite a different way to look at how we all do business and work together. In this new tech infested world, it’s now impossible for the old ivory towers of the production industry to protect themselves.

Why? Because technology breaks down walls and there’s not a great deal you can do to stop it. I truly believe that the next big cultural thing, be that a movie a game a VR experience will not come from a single studio, but from multiple studios and artists all working together to create something and they will all share in its success too. In a digital marketplace, it’s the companies that play nice with others, sharing data and technology, that respond more quickly and effectively to customers’ fast-changing needs.

A hopeless optimistic ideal, maybe, but it also makes financial and economic sense. And as technology has a way of “getting in there” despite what some may want, I suggest every business in production starts to look at who they can work with to maximize the market.

Take the latest talent show AlterEgo, the new TV show that will showcase fully real-time animated singing contestants. This show will be a prime-time campaign for virtual production, and I would suggest the likes of RoKoko, get some of their suits in stock for the launch of the show, as when this comes out there will be a big rise in interest and adoption of real-time animation, from a much wider and much more inclusive group.

Thanks to shows like AlterEgo hundreds if not thousands of home studios will pop-up, all capable of transferring real world movement into digital interaction. OK, it’s no Vicon set up, and you will not find many of these new indie set-ups investing millions into a professional Mo-Cap volume. But that’s the rub, they won’t have to. My guess is that even the mighty Vicon will either feed this new market with a solution or they will die, as out there, there is a new Vicon, maybe a Jetson powered AI webcam, or 10, at a couple of hundred dollars a camera.

At Amazon they see coopetition as: Coopetition is a business strategy that uses game theory to help organizations understand when it is better for competitors to work together. The strategy involves the use of mathematical models that help participants visualize when cooperation among competitors will benefit all players and help grow the market.

The coopetition model starts out with a diagramming process called the value net, which is represented as a diamond with four defined player designations at the corners. The players are customers, suppliers, competitors and complementors (competitors whose products add value).

The goal of coopetition is to move the players from a zero-sum game, in which the winner takes all and the loser is left empty-handed, to a plus-sum game, a scenario in which the result is more profitable when the competitors work together. An important part of the game is to learn which variables will influence the players to either compete or cooperate and when it is to a player’s advantage not to cooperate.

Imagine a new studio without walls, a virtual studio where the artists and creators and developers all “beam-in” via remote means and using high-speed internet, they all work together. Look at the indie game dev market, it’s massive. Now image the indie content creator market doing the same. It’s happening.

From my own virtual studio, in the North Wales Mountains I today lead crews in virtual space and time, I direct physical on-set crews as well as virtual productions in the cloud. I’m truly sorry for any of you reading this who are from the production protectionists school of thought, but it’s over. The cats out the bag, genie out the bottle, say what you will, but there is a new generation of all-inclusive digital creators on the way.





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