Passionate about business and media? Here’s a new model to work together

Photo by Patrick Hendy Unsplash

Many media makers wish they could sell. They’re brilliant at selling stories, freelancing for a living, but when it comes to the business side of media, they’ll admit themselves they can be found wanting. Hence that post for Business Development.

Conversely, there are entrepreneurs who possess the midas touch. Their presentations to VCs, stories in themselves, are tantalising and gripping. Combined with their business nous, they’ll walk away from that 8. a.m meeting securing the deal. Their business grows. But perhaps where they may need assistance is to strengthen their brand and grow faster accompanied by the myriad of stories that tell their ongoing inspirational journey.

These stories take the shape of journalism, PR, brand editorial, blogs, and marketing. A former Masters student of mine, one of many, uses the skill he acquired from what I call our Media Jujutsu lectures, to market Netflix films for the company in extraordinary ways. Their twitter feed has quadrupled.

Business and stories go hand in glove. And the world turns each day with marketers and storytellers working alongside entrepreneurs and vice versa. Take Black Panther, a phenomenal film, and I use this specifically for a reason, which has since grossed more than $2 billion, but before that money was earned $37 million was being laid out for the TV ad spend by marketers. That’s just TV!

Not many of us may be able to afford that amount and don’t have an in-house department to bear those costs, particularly when you’re a small but promising outfit. In the Net age crowdsourcing has become a boon, and if you’re fortunate you could track down sponsors the old fashion way- which can be hit and miss matching each other’s needs over time.

Linkedin’s platform, and indeed others that foster closer ties present a unique opportunity, backed by a sharing propositions between entrepreneurs and media creatives. I’ve seen this work on a microscale of reciprocity elsewhere during the first dotcom boom and believe, because of the close partnerships, aligned thinking, and the intimacy you can forge on this platform, it gives rise to new models for co-creating and collaborating.

So here’s my idea, which I’d like to present as project alpha — and the concept has legs for others working in related areas or looking for ideal match making between entrepreneurs and creatives.

But first a wee story that frames the format. For many years I was an artist in residence at the Southbank Centre. The director Jude Kelly was keen on something I do call Cinema Journalism. I’m so into it, I did a PhD. It’s an expert understanding of journalism from my days working at the BBC Newsnight, Channel 4 News and ABC News etc and Cinema — visual and narrative approaches found in cinema, promos and commercials. But it’s not just about the aesthetic of how something looks but how the story communicates richly and deeply with audiences in an artistic way.

One notable filmmaker likened it to impressionism which spawned an idea. In the 19th century several impressionist painters, unable to make a living, depended upon their patrons. In return for money, Van Gogh gave his brother Theo several paintings. Van Gogh was trying something new and overtime others began to acknowledge. Last year when one of London’s most dynamic entrepreneurs kindly gave their time to mentor students, like the French impressionist painters, I requested, just I have done in the past, to create a gift. It was very well received.

This approach could equally work then for in-sponsorship. Project alpha I have in mind is an exhibition co-created with a colleague which reveals biographies of influential BAME people whom you may not know, but inspire us when we watch their programmes on television. They also inspire the next generation. From an tertiary educational institution, part of the exhibits have gone to the London Mayor’s opening of Black History Month and I’ve started the process of it touring schools. This small email extract from the teacher says it all.

Thank you for everything David. It has been a rewarding experience. I took my year 9 media class in there and they really enjoyed it. WE closed the exhibition with a screening of Black Panther last night which the students enjoyed.

Now we’re planning on taking the project, which we’re updating, to one of the biggest most important media gatherings this year. And so we’re looking for in-sponsors to work alongside to get it there. In-sponsor isn’t just about adding a logo, or a brand, because given the skillset myself and the small team have, we’re certain the reciprocity will be worth your while. If you’d like to know more please contact me on

About David.

David has worked in the media for around thirty years with various stakeholders. He’s produced varying projects of impact for a range of international clients that include the visual essay for Obama’s 100 days to the score of Composer/conductor Shirley Thompson MBE, that played at the Southbank Centre. More here

Recent private work:

Simon Albury MBE Chair — Campaign for Broadcasting Equality celebrates his MBE by inviting friends to his party

BBC News Lab Rob Mckenzie talking to staff and guests from the BBC’s Hackathon.

Jury members at this year’s RTS awards judging the best of British journalism

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.