Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 26th 2015 Contents SBG6 FINANCE
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 26 • 2015
Those of us of a certain age may remember
shows like No Boundaries, Turn of the
Tide, Calabash Alley on our television
sets. At a time of foreign currency and
import restrictions, this country achieved
something of a golden age of local TV,
where local producers were regularly put-
ting out homegrown television series. Fast
forward to 2015. With the existence of social media, little trade
and financial restrictions, state financing and more television
stations than any other time in the country's history, there
is relatively little local content on the air.
The Apartment's $17 million price tag
Part of this is due to the cost of local productions. The
Apartment, one of the latest ventures into local television
series production, is estimated to cost just over $17 million
for its three seasons.
So far, the principal photography on its pilot episode is com-
plete, but the production house behind it, PWTN Productions,
still needs $212,800 to complete its post-production phase.
"There is a misconception of local content, that it does not
sell. That there is no audience for it. That it is sub par and
the quality is not up to that of international productions. To
that I say, if we don't allow ourselves to grow, we will never
move from that. There is a lot of room for growth, but that
growth requires certain resources. One of the main resources
This from Pauline Mark, 33, director at PWTM Production
Mark incorporated the production company in August 2014,
along with her sister, in an effort to create greater opportunities
within the television and film production industry for herself
and other skilled workers.
Mark herself has been in the industry since 2003. She left
her job as a Cultural Officer 1 at the Ministry of Arts and
Multiculturalism to pursue an acting career. She has trained
at Performing Arts Theatre Workshop and the prestigious Art
of Acting Studio in Los Angeles and has appeared in Home
Again, A Story about Wendy part 1 and the just completed
Scandalous starring Machel Montano.
In 2008, she started working behind the camera to build
her production and script- writing capabilities. In fact, she
wrote the script for The Apartment, which revolves around
the lives of three roommates in an upscale apartment.
Speaking about what makes The Apartment so different
from other local productions, Janine Charles-Farray, marketing
strategist for the venture said if it is successful, the series may
set the bench mark for distribution and investment strategies
for local television in the future.
"I think with this series, we are going to hit upon the formula
that works and we may very well become the case study for
successful commercialisation of a TV product," said Charles-
Firstly, the completed pilot will be used to source the remain-
ing financing for the rest of the series.
Charles-Farray also said one television station has expressed
an interest in airing the first season. Meanwhile, companies
such as Massy Stores, Berger Paints, NLCB as well as the min-
istries of Arts and Multiculturalism and Gender, Youth and
Child Development have also provided sponsorship for the
Mark and Charles-Farray explained the arrangements they
have set up for those who also wish to invest in the series.
Massy Stores and Berger Paints for example, benefit heavily
from product placements within the pilot episode. But PWTM
also plans to target equity investors.
"Right now we can say that there is a three-year investment
on the table and the percentage rate of return is being worked
out right now. Of course, we can work out arrangements with
individual sponsors who are also interested, for example the
investor who would like their money back within the year. It
is a very customised exercise for equity investors," said Charles-
Charles Farray said currently the project has no equity
investors and developed the plan at the suggestion of InvesTT.
However, PWTM Productions Limited fully intends to register
with the SEC before it begins to accept funds from equity
Domestic, regional and international revenue projections
have also been prepared and will be shared with potential
Mark and Charles-Farray said sponsors may baulk at the
$17 million price tag of the series but explained that good tel-
evision does not come cheap.
Charles-Farray said the million dollar budget includes pre-
production, production and post-production work, as well as
fair salaries for the staff connected with the venture. The two
noted it was important to set a standard here as well since
the local television and film industry has become somewhat
notorious for low pay. The figure also includes the cost of
marketing and distributing the series.
Charles-Farray said the potential exists for investors to earn
money off of merchandised material from the series as well
as syndication of the series to Caribbean diasporas in the US,
Europe, Africa and Asia, DVD commercialisation of the series
and video on demand opportunities.
Mark said so far, she and her family have put $50,000 of
their own money towards production costs.
About The Apartment
The Apartment is intended to target males (37 per cent)
and females (67 per cent) aged 16-45, mainly in the East West
Corridor with niche markets in Central, South and Deep South
Trinidad. The target audience is socially aware and has a keen
interest in local content and content that speaks to their needs
and provides solutions.
The main characters are Ayanna and Michelle who move
into their new upscale apartment. Janelle, Ayanna's cousin
asks to crash with the girls until she gets back on her feet.
The new roommates decide to have a party to celebrate their
new-found freedom, which leads to trouble for all. Janelle
unknowingly sleeps with Ayanna's boyfriend (Derrick) who is
immediately smitten. Ayanna cheats on Derrick with her ex-
boyfriend Akeel and Michelle gets wasted with Eric.
The series stars among others, Rhoma Spence, Cecelia
Salazar and Pauline Mark.
model for local TV?
Pauline Mark, 33, director at PWTM Production Ltd.
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