Attracting New Members

IAC General Discussions
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by ADBest »

Our new Chairman wisely calls for suggestions aimed at reversing the downward trend in IAC membership. However much of the contribution to the debate so far has been a digression.
As an individual who joined the IAC, left and then joined again may I set out a few points as I see them.
• No one ever joined or didn’t join because of the name of the Institute.
• The word ‘amateur’, like many others, has changed its meaning since 1932 and should be replaced.
• Once the Institute is thriving, the members, whoever they are and whatever their interests, will influence the name and the activities of the Institute.
• Marketing ‘Institute’ membership to ‘Club’ members will always be easier than marketing to the general public.
• Healthy clubs will inevitably produce a healthy Institute.
• Institute success is therefore predicated upon Club success.
• My own experience shows that in the population there is a need for the service a Club can provide.
• It is mainly a marketing issue.
The town surrounding my own Club has a population of over 100,000. There must be more Ferret fanciers out there than there are members of our club.
In my contribution on page three, (of this thread unfortunately and not of the Sun), I describe how we nearly, but not quite, saved a struggling club. May that experience benefit others.

Arthur Best
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Alan »

Hello folks, just dropping by...
Ian Woodward wrote:So, very quickly, the International Association of Cinematographers (IAC) could be hosting its prestigious film fest at the British International Annual Film Festival (BIAFF)
Now this I like very much. If 'The IAC' really is to up its game and move forward, the above points the way. Of course there is a little more to it than changin names. It's all about understanding its purpose - today and in the future, which will need to evolve from what it is now. A few posts back I offered some thoughts, if they are of any help, so won't repeat for boring folks.
Although you can click here, here and here, if you are interested! Hehehe. :D
Ian Woodward wrote:
Dave: “I understand there was an informal agreement that Council members would not get involved in the forums to avoid discussions which might become prolonged and/or acrimonious. Personally I think that is a mistake. Council serves the members, so it makes sense to interact with members - and for this thread also non-members.”
So we do need to know as a matter of urgency if the IAC Council has been reading this important and far-reaching thread, which was initiated by Ivor just a few weeks ago (4 January) and having already notched up a staggering 1026 hits. It would also be good to know what it actually takes to get such proposals moving and onto some sort of agenda.
Absolutely, otherwise we will just join the ranks of the disillusioned and give up posting here and move on as 'The IAC' withers away....but film making won't!
Ian Woodward wrote:At the moment, it just feels that the subject is being discussed by a few passionate, like-minded souls whose thoughts count for nothing and that the discourse will merely end up in the ether equivalent of a wastepaper basket. That's a disquieting feeling.
Well, I guess we will find out....

Just one more thought...

I feel 'The IAC' needs to evolve to encompass all who have an interest in film making, from the family video folks through to those young folks wanting to go pro. Everything for film making (examples, tips, learning stuff, kit etc) is already out there on the web. The only thing I do not see is a central hub...a network..that brings it all together for everyone. That could be what 'The IAC' does.

What if you could still join 'The IAC' but for free?!? Just like joining this forum? Like a free central hub membership to get news, links forum access etc. Then, what if paid membership brought other benefits, like LIAC, printed mag, copyright clearance, reduced entry fees to all sorts of competitions? we not already have the latter already?

So why not just develop the hub/network for film makers from all interest levels? They might even do a paid membership to 'The IAC' or come to the festivals and enter the competitions?

The thing it there are a lot of film makers out there, who are not interesting in the IAC or what it has to offer...currently. I know as I have spoken to them. But what seems to be missing is the networking and hub for them all to connect together. That might be the hook to bring all film makers in and provide the publicity 'The IAC' needs. Yeah, I'm repeating myself I know...

As a last though (for the moment). A short time ago there was a film makers evening at 'The Quad' in Derby, called The Five Lamps Film Festival. It is held bi-monthly in the evening for any film makers just to show off their work and talk about it. It is nothing to do with the IAC. In fact I bet none of them had even heard of the IAC...well apart from one guy who went and me (although I missed it as I was ill).

Anyway, you will want to take a look at what was shown. Check this out:

Yeah, ok maybe some of the films might not be to your liking, but these are young film makers who are potential future of 'The IAC'. Learn about them, how they work, what they need and provide it...

Just to point out some of the more interesting 'amateur' films from the list:

Lets hope we get some council folk poking their heads above the parapit to say hello.


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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by TimStannard »

Mike Shaw wrote:Tim - we have people from abroad as members now, and we have many entries into our competitions from abroad - I see no problem therefore with using the word International as part of the IAC mnemonic (instead of Institute) and inviting people from overseas to join in.
I did state that I had no problem with welcoming overseas members. In fact I'm not strongly opposed the IAC becoming "international" a such (although I do have a preference to it being UK-centric) I'm just exploring the arguments.
Earlier in the thread (or possibly a similar thread) we were keen to differentiate between the IAC and the IOV - one is for non-commercial film makers and one for the professionals or aspiring professionals.
I rather thought the international version of the IAC already existed - in UNICA. UNICA may have a slightly different brief but surely both organisations are broadly "promoting non-commercial filmmaking". We'd have to be very careful not to tread on each other's toes.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Ivor »

As the originator of this topic I would like to thank all of you that have contributed to this subject so far. I have been encouraged by the number of posts. It is my intention to try and collate these into some sort of list of ideas, which I have started doing already.

In the March issue of FVM I have asked for more contributions from people that have not already written a post, as I feel it is important to try and encourage as many people as possible to contribute. I do not believe that attracting new members to either the IAC or to the clubs is an easy task, as many of you know already we can easily be discouraged and disappointed, but do believe that we must try.

So with this in mind I would ask you please to continue with the suggestions.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Chrisbitz »

I'm staggered that the main topic of conversation has limped back to the name.

Is everyone deliberately ignoring the elephant in the room? The name IAC is NOT the thing that is putting off new members.

Has anyone actually asked a filmmaker WHY they're not a member?

Apart from the majority who answer "Who?", The rest will answer "Why?"

This is all my opinion, but I've asked about three genuine potential members recently who are prolific Youtube film-makers and all three answered first who, and then asked why?.....

The answers are so significant, I can't believe everyone is happily bumbling away, chatting about the definition of amateur. <sound effect of trumpeting elephant>

What other answers do you think you'd get if you asked someone? Guessed or actual answers...
I like to make films, this is- my Youtube account. What's yours?

"all of the above is nothing more than nonsensical ramblings, and definately should NOT be misconstrued as anyone's official policy"
Mike Shaw

Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Mike Shaw »

Not limping back at all Chris. Rounding off the discussion on what the IAC should offer - and who it should be offered to - by adapting the name accordingly. I'm also staggered - that you can't see that!

And, it is suggested that the inference of the word 'amateur' (as in amateurish) - as what the 'A' stands for in IAC - is putting (some) people off. So the name is relevant, and part of the deal, if on that score alone.

The original request was for a way to boost membership numbers. I still think that by automatically making every member of a video/cine club a 'basic' member of the IAC is the quickest way to do that - if 'basic members' want the magazine and music licences - and anything else going - then they, along with non-club individuals and overseas people - pay the extra, and become 'Full' members. Or whatever names you wish to give to the two categories.

Point is, success breeds success - and an organisation that has upwards of 6000+ members is going to carry more weight, and get more publicity, and be more noticed than an organization with 1500 members. You never know, that might also make people think more about joining a club too.

Also discussed here are just some of the extra things that the IAC could/should offer its members.

IAC can rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of the ... IAC.
Ian Woodward
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Ian Woodward »

Tim, the lumping together of UNICA with the IAC is not really valid argument, in that UNICA is a Europe-based broad church that caters specifically to non-commercial film organisations (and not to individuals) worldwide – I have an interest here in that I was lucky enough to win two UNICA Gold Medals in two film festivals in the space of two months - whereas the IAC is UK based and its interests (despite its few non-UK member) are primarily focused on the UK scene, both as it applies to one-man film-makers and the club outfits.

Chrisbitz: You may be “staggered” that the subject has “limped back to the name”, but that’s not strictly the case. This subject is just one aspect of the many changes that I and like-minded IAC members would like to see implemented. Others have come up with other excellent, constructive and sometimes brilliant ideas.

That’s all to the good because all suggestions and ideas are hopefully going into a central melting pot – which is basically what Ivor has just intimated. I am encouraged by this news.

If critics of the name-change ideas are surprised that some of us are salivating at just the thought of this hoped-for improvement, and if these same critics seem staggered that some of us are putting so much emphasis on the subject, then consider why British Home Stores thought that we should know the store by the initials bhs; or why Oluy decided that Olay was a far better name; why Norwich Union’s parent company, Aviva, thought that, well, Aviva would be a batter name; and why the instantly recognisable AirMiles scheme was rebranded as Avios, a name that has a resonance with aviation.

One could go on.

So those who pooh pooh a seeming fixation by some members on the name IAC and BIAFF, and what those initials actually mean at present, have lost the race before even putting a foot on the start line.

But we DO need plenty of OTHER ideas coming into the mix in order to try and improve what is basically an aged, flawed product...but one which also has so many delights that I, for one, don’t know where I’d be without it.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Willy »

Yes, Tim, Ian is right. There would be quite a difference between the "IAC" (International Association of Cinematorgraphers) and UNICA. The IAC would be British as it is today.

I have attended 12 or 13 BIAFFS up to now. The first time it was at Buxton. It was very British! I enjoyed it very much. But I was also happy that I was not the only foreigner. Every year there are also German, Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg films ... I know why ! I appreciate British hospitality. It's great. Hopefully it will stay like this. A trip to BIAFF is not cheap. We have to stay in a B&B on our way to Chesterfield and on our way back to Belgium. We have to pay for the ferry or for our flight just like our Guernsey and Scottish friends who live far away. But we enjoy it! Hopefully I can go because I have a torn Achilles tendon at the moment and there is a plaster on my right leg and ... and ... I have already booked accommodation. I am panicking.

Tell me if I am wrong: Last year there were more entries at BIAFF than the year before, but proportionally there were less films from overseas. I prefer BIAFF to BAFF! In Guernsey I was called "European Liaison Adviser", but actually also my compatriot Christiane had such a function. A liaison adviser in every country on the continent and a coordinator in the UK. Actually it already works like that but not officially. Mind:I am not a candidate for any official function. I have the feeling that there could be more films from Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, ...

Yes, Mike, you are right about amateur and amateurisc,... In the course of the last ten year I encouraged young friends to attend BIAFF or to enter their films, but they disappeared and I think they were not so happy with the word "amateur". The mentality has changed the last 10-15 years. It's a pity, but it's reality. Just like Tim and other friends: I am still proud to be an amateur.
Willy Van der Linden
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by TimStannard »

Ian and Willy, first, thanks for the explanation of what UNICA represents.

I'm glad that you both see the IAC (or whatever it becomes) as remaining British/British focussed. That would be my preference, but until now I've been a lone voice in this thread.

I dread the time we come to change the name though - as, I suspect will anyone who'se been through a club name-change (which I suspect is most of us). I hope the constitution/rules or whatever we have allows a simple majority (or better still, lets the executive committee decide)
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by john ingham »

Wow !!! what a night..just been to the meeting with Ch4 and the shooters was a bit weird :lol: i ended up in a van watching a superb musical short.... don't ask :lol:

as i was sat around a table,(later) i mentioned the IAC ..the response was "who" so i told them, .. and i also told them about the comps, etc etc ..everyone was interested...

so i said i would give a link ...... as there was some interest

there were more than 100 independent film makers there tonight....all from Devon ... and many serious
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by edin »

Why not take on membership from outside the UK? We already have a few overseas members - and as the population of the rest of the world exceeds that of the UK (!) - there are more potential members 'out there'!

Overseas membership fees may have to embrace extra postage of the magazine ...
Regarding the postal costs for overseas members surely a PDF copy of any publication that could either be downloaded/printed would overcome any cost barrier.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Frank Maxwell »

Technology is changing to fast and the younger generation who like making video films don't wish to be involved with clubs etc. Their finished product can travel the world from home.
Also many are under the illusion media is a money spinner and easy to get into and started.
We are all amateur when it comes to video or any other form of media. We are always learning.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Dave Watterson »

Hi Frank and again welcome to the forums.

I think this is the first time anyone has actually said that youngsters think they may be able to get into the film and television professions through their videos. You may be right. A few of our most talented people have already begun to make that jump. Just as the older generation shoot wedding videos for pin-money alongside their amateur film making, so younger people shoot pop-videos for local bands.

The difference is that the older/wedding film makers still support clubs. Most of the younger film makers do not ... though there are several notable exceptions. The one which springs first to mind is Tommy Connor whose work with Rochdale Movie Makers is taking the club to the next level. The combination of his enthusiasm, energy and ideas with their experience and sense of how far you can push an audience has produced some exceptional work.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by Frank Maxwell »

Hi Dave,
Well we dont live that far apart. Trowbridge in Wiltshire. I belonged to a video club. But their output was behind my ideas. Nothing was coming through regards age group. The ones which do filter through are very impatient and leave.
At present feeling my feet around this forum.
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Re: Attracting New Members

Post by TimStannard »

Hi Frank (and may I add my welcome to you to the forum).

As a 52 year old I'd be a youngster in most IAC affiliated clubs (though Chris & John beat me by many years) and I too get frustrated by the "old grey haired men" image and, more importantly, the reluctance among many members to move with the times. Perhaps unsurprisingly the company here, on a web forum, is not representitive of the old school.

What concerns me is your attitude seems to be that clubs don't offer anything for the younger film makers. And that's it. End of story. Ivor opened this thread asking for suggestions as to what we can do to make clubs more attractive to new members. Are you seriously suggesting simply "We can't"? You may be right, but I'd like a bit more meat to the argument.
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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