Introduction

Bad Wolf is a unique and ambitious high-end production company based in Wales. Founded by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, its purpose is to create drama with global reach, to establish a sustainable centre of excellence and to build worldwide momentum for the film and television industry in Wales. 

Having provided the creative spark to bring Dr Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Merlin and Casualty to Wales, the team has already helped to secure production in Wales of Da Vinci’s Demons, The Bastard Executioner, Will and The Collection. Having won an Emmy for The Night Of, Bad Wolf are now working on Sky One’s new fantasy series A Discovery of Witches and the BBC adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.  

The first series of A Discovery of Witches is currently in post-production after 6 months filming in Wolf Studio Wales and on location. 

The production has spent over half its budget in Wales, hired 160 local freelancers, and contracted 193 local businesses. 

Five young people were given paid traineeships on the production, and 36 young people received work experience, four of whom have now been employed.

We are in preparation for potentially two further series, and are committed to providing long-term employment for our trainees. 

Bad Wolf has a staff of around 22 full time at the moment, with most based in Cardiff, but also with team members in London and Los Angeles. It currently has up to 15 productions in development with broadcasters.   

Over the last three years, Bad Wolf has created 245 jobs, secured £13m in private investment into Wales, and secured a future production budgets of £134m. 

Wolf Studios Wales is a new, world-class 125,000 sq ft production space in Cardiff. Developed by Bad Wolf and with support from the Welsh Government. The new studio provides an anchor production facility for high-end film and TV productions in Wales, and allows the founders of Bad Wolf to offer full-service production as part of their offer, as well as providing space available for other companies to bring their productions to Wales.

Bad Wolf has invested £3.9 million to develop the studio, with 97% spent in Wales, supporting 50 local jobs during the construction phase. 

It is structurally unique in Wales, providing a maximum eave height of 17.5 metres, an essential requirement for some big budget productions. 

Bad Wolf has committed to pass on 55% of the profits of Wolf Studios Wales to good causes, including to support Screen Alliance Wales and the sponsorship of arts and drama organisations. 

Screen Alliance Wales is a stand-alone philanthropic company created by Bad Wolf as the company founders recognised that Wales needs an organisation to educate, train and promote crew and infrastructure throughout Wales. Screen Alliance Wales will be the gateway between industry and its workforce, it will grow and promote the talent, crew and services of the TV Industry in Wales and through its on-line portal will become the industry standard in promoting the complete supply chain from one single place. 

Screen Alliance Wales is created by the industry for the industry. Screen Alliance Wales has created an education and training scheme to engage emerging talent, and to grow, nurture and build skills across the creative industries a proportion of the production income at Wolf Studios Wales helps to train the Welsh workforce in the skills the industry needs, and to build a sustainable legacy for the industry in Wales. 

This year, Bad Wolf will invest £300K in cash and in kind to Screen Alliance Wales. Currently Screen Alliance Wales is not publicly funded, but discussions are underway with the Welsh Government on funding training for the industry in the future.

Screen Alliance Wales runs a classroom and regular school tours of Wolf Studios Wales and has strategic partnerships with Universities, Further Education establishments and local schools including Willows High School and Moorland Primary School.

Welsh Government Support for the Industry

The Film and TV Industry is currently growing much faster than other service industries. In 2016, a record £1.6bn was spent on film production in the UK, and inward investment of TV productions reached £500m. This is set to rise as global broadcasters such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon continue to support a growth in high-end TV production around the World. 

Research by the UK Government in 2016 showed that the creative industry sector had the highest growth rate of all sectors in the previous year, increasing in GVA by 7.6%, or twice the rate of GVA growth of the UK economy as a whole. 

Average salaries in the creative sector reached £38,000 in 2017, and recent research also showed that salaries in the creative industries have seen a higher growth rate than other sectors, including those sectors where the Welsh Government has also invested significant resource. 

The Welsh Government has recognised that Wales will need to work hard in a ferociously competitive industry to benefit from this growth. The scale of the industry, the entrepreneurial nature, and the investment needed is recognised by the Welsh Government as an economic driver, and must continue to be considered as such, and not simply through the perspective of supporting our creative arts and cultural heritage. 

The Welsh Government has for some time recognised the benefit of bringing Film and TV production to Wales. It is, however, a hugely competitive global industry. Broadcasters know that they can offer to take their productions anywhere, and national and regional governments offer a range of incentives which are built into production budgets. 

Each of the UK home nations provides a different level of incentive, but as the industry is truly international, broadcasters can choose to compare these against the incentives provided by most countries around the World. Companies can bid for funding for specific films or TV productions, which can help support the industry in the short term, but might not provide sustainable, long term economic activity as broadcasters take their next production elsewhere.

The founders of Bad Wolf, therefore, worked with the Welsh Government to develop plans to enhance Wales’ long-term competitiveness within the global industry, not simply based on production cost incentives, but on appropriate facilities and available skills. 

The substantive benefit of the initial public investment in Bad Wolf was to establish an anchor, a production company and facilities of significant scale and world-class ambition and track record, which could help build a sustainable industry in Wales. 

Although there is some risk associated with public investment, we believe the innovative funding decision reduces the level of risk substantially, and also provides the opportunity to create the potential for tremendous value to the Welsh economy. An ambitious attitude is greatly valued within the creative industries, and we must try and minimise the impact of those who argue that public investment should always come with zero risk. 

Whilst providing grants and loans to industries such as manufacturing can be linked to the number of jobs created, the specialist nature of Film and TV production needs to take into account production spend, as the industry does not necessarily provide permanent, full time roles, but supports many individuals who work as specialist freelance technicians and creatives, and through the very specific supply chain developed to support the industry. Economic benefit is therefore considered as a return on spend, with different countries developing a different level of expectation.

Welsh Government estimates are that the current economic multiplier effect is 1 to 8, with £8 spent in Wales for every £1 spent on supporting the film and TV industry. The Welsh Government has now set a relatively high level of expected return on spend of 1 to 12 (as compared to 1 to 4 in Northern Ireland and 1 to 6 in Scotland). Achieving this higher multiplier will require, more local production, a stronger supply chain and skills base to encourage a greater proportion of the spend to be retained in Wales.

The Welsh Government therefore supported the establishment of Bad Wolf with an initial loan of £4m. The investment criteria are linked both to the profit of the company but also to the potential for a 12 to 1 return on spend, so the loan can be transferred to a grant if there is a significant wider economic benefit, and the grant will then have been entirely de-risked. 

The structure of the agreement is to incentivise a long-term uplift in GVA through the development of a home-grown, globally-competitive industry. It is creative way of providing hybrid funding to manage risk which is shared with the company and rather than simply providing funding for individual productions who come for a short time, the investment is in developing the studio and the training and skills required.

We believe that it was a strategically important investment which is now meeting growing demand for high-quality studio space, and is competing against increasing supply in other parts of the UK.

It will still be important to attract the right productions to help establish the industry, otherwise they will simply go elsewhere. A consideration for the Welsh Government is to balance the funding available for inward investment so that broadcasters are drawn to Wales, with the funding available to help build sustainable skills and production facilities and the support available for anchor facilities like Wolf Studios Wales.

We look forward to a continued partnership with the Welsh Government that brings worldclass drama to Wales. 

In March 2018, the UK Government announced a Creative Industries Sector Deal, which includes a new Cultural Development Fund for cities to access to £20m to invest in the creative industries. Though this was announced as part of the UK Industry Strategy programme, we understand it is designed for investment in England. 

Economic Impact

Our objectives at Wolf Studios Wales is to ensure that at least 55% of all production spend is on skills and services in Wales. We work directly with a supply chain companies in Wales, and have helped develop and sustain jobs across a broad ranges of services, such as special effects, post-production, catering, design and construction. 

Our focus is on the large-scale, high end productions such as His Dark Materials. The type of productions we focus on are precisely those premier television investments which are driving growth in the industry, allowing us to compete on a global scale with the big budget productions by Netflix and Amazon. 

Our founders helped sow the seeds of many of these supply chain companies through their work over 15 years with BBC Drama productions, and the focus now is to build a sustainable industry, servicing global broadcasters. 

We aim to grow so that the skilled workforce in the Creative Industries in Wales, along with the many supply chain companies, are employed as close to 52 weeks a year as possible. That’s our clear ambition.

Because of our commitment to a local supply chain, a number of companies have now opened offices in Wales. We have also supported the growth of Welsh companies such as SFX, Shadow Scaffolding, Facilities by ADF, Scene Cuisine and 4Wood TV and Film

We may employ up to 200 freelance specialists on each production and can demonstrate through the productions based at Wolf Studios Wales that the economic impact of the drama industry in Wales reaches across the country. 

Prosperity for All

Investing in the high-end film and TV production industry is an excellent example of the choices laid out in the Welsh Government’s new strategy Prosperity for All. We want to excel in a global industry with a core focus on creativity, technology and innovation, and this fits well with the priority areas laid out. 

Investing in high-end skills is vital for our industry, and will be the hallmark of our future competitiveness as a nation.

Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is a global literature phenomenon. As a best-seller around the world, and with Pullman’s roots in Wales, Bad Wolf is  incredibly proud to be bringing this magic universe to television at Wolf Studios Wales. 

At least 16 episodes have been commissioned with a significant, multi-million pound budget, and the potential for multiple series of this bold and ambitious adaptation is enormous.

Our commitment to Wales will again guarantee a Welsh supply chain and further opportunities for skills development, whilst well and truly putting Wales on the map for high-end television production. 

Our commitment to the Welsh economy, our support of the Welsh supply chain and local links with schools and arts organisations will also help tackle inequality. We are specifically helping to achieve the Welsh Government’s objective of developing local supply chains and clusters, in order to retain economic value for the public purse.

We also believe that the innovative, hybrid funding agreement we have secured is a good example of the new Economic Contract between business and government, designed to stimulate growth fairly. 

Our location in South East Wales provides a good anchor for the growth of our industry linked to a regionally-focused model of economic development, and yet the nature of our industry means that benefits will flow to filming locations and freelance specialists across Wales.

“Bad Wolf have had an enormous impact on 4Wood TV and Film Ltd over the past 12 months, from the Studio build through to the Set Build on A Discovery of Witches. As a result, working with Bad Wolf has contributed to the steady growth of 4Wood, enabling us to employ in excess of 30 Sub-Contractors on a regular basis, from Fabricators, Electricians and Engineers, through to Carpenters, Scenic Artists, Sculptors and Stagehands. We look forward to continuing to work with Bad Wolf on future Productions.” 4Wood Construction

The commitment to fair work, diversity, ethical employment and tackling inequality is reflected in the work we do, and in particular within our training plans. 

Cultural Impact

We strongly believe that support for our industry should remain under the purview of the economic development portfolio, rather than be seen as a cultural organisation, competing for funding with fine arts organisations. Our global industry is entrepreneurial and of a scale that requires a strong commercial focus. As the Welsh Government reviews and reforms its specialist sectoral support, we strongly believe that the team responsible will continue to require specialist focus in the commercial industry. That said, the creativity expressed in our industry adds to the rich cultural heritage of Wales. 

 

Bad Wolf produced the Welsh-medium short film, Beddgelert which premiered in November 2017. Written and directed by internationally acclaimed director Medeni Griffiths, it was part of S4C’s Chwedlau season. 

It was shot on location in Snowdonia, and was commissioned for the Beacons scheme for emerging filmmakers, funded in part by Ffilm Cymru Wales and the BFI Network, and won Best British Film at Manchester Kinofilm Festival 2017. 

Industry Skills in Wales

Since starting Bad Wolf, we have had a major focus on training and skills as a shortage of skilled workforce would be a serious risk to the development of the industry here. The Board of Bad Wolf made an early decision that at least £95,000 of every production using our facilities will be spent on training and apprenticeships, delivered through Screen Alliance Wales.

Along with our apprenticeships, we also have an on-site education centre to introduce children to the possibility of working in the industry. We want children to come to the studios and look at our productions and dare to dream, as they are tomorrow’s trainees. It is also about widening opportunities – letting young people know that you can come from any background, not know anyone in the industry, and still get a job in a creative, global industry.

We are currently working with Sgil Cymru to strengthen our apprenticeship programme, ensuring that there are placements within Bad Wolf and at Wolf Studios Wales. We look forward to working with the Welsh Government and local providers of work-based learning to build on the skills and training agenda over time.