WRAP Fund can inspire a new generation of storytellers

I often think that the best inspiration for doing something creative is to drag yourself out to a bit of wilderness and let a chunk of nature put ideas into your head. Out here with just the wind and the rain and the waves and the hills and the greenness to act as your creative palate, it is amazing how soon things start to make sense and stories start to be created in your head.

Out here, you can howl like a dog, talk to yourself, sing your crazy songs, work on mad concepts that come into your head without the fear of letting anyone else see your oddness.

I know a songwriter who brings himself off on long walks into the heart of the ferns and the valleys, deep in where the birdsong is the only sound, where the notes from the beaks get the heart strumming and soon, he is making notes of notes in his notebook, and travels home inspired by the sounds, relishing the moment he will transfer them to piano keys and garnish them with lyrics.

With that in mind, you would think that we are blessed to then live where we do, here perched on a rock facing out to sea on one side of the Atlantic, often mistaking our creativity for madness, and sometimes mistaking our madness for creativity. With the link between creativity and the natural environment you would ask what’s stopping us?

Today in Galway we see the start of what could be a new cultural revolution in the west. An artist’s lot is a hard one, yet we need people like this to create the pictures, to conjure up the stories, to make the magic with which we make the rest of our lives bearable. We need this creativity to distract us from the humdrum.

This morning Thursday, Minister Sean Kyne will address the Fis conference in the city and announce a new fund worth a few million that will be spread out among a whole new layer of creatives. Storytellers in the visual world, animators, games engineers, writers, actors, a whole generation of new artists will be inspired by this, and tempted to produce culture in order to benefit from it.

The objective of the new WRAP Fund is to facilitate the development of, and investment in, film, television, gaming, and animation projects in the Western Region.

The WRAP Fund is aiming to support 15 development projects, with an expectation that at least 20 per cent of these would secure resources to go into full production. Around another 10 internationally funded co-productions will be supported in the region.

It is a scheme that will not make every artist and creative a millionaire, nor should it because comfort is the killer of honest creativity. Eventually, just this 15 and maybe another 20 will be ultimate beneficiaries, but it is in the encouragement of getting people to dream and to imagine that will be the biggest legacy of this.

It is estimated that 100 jobs can be created, but with the unorthodox way in which culture treats the multiplier effect, many more could be conceived though the process of hope.

Galway has a history of filmmaking and TV production, of storytelling and innovation. It now has a burgeoning sector of start-ups, small companies of one or two people following a dream. Just look at the Portersheds and the Startlab. It would be worth it if you could all see and feel the enthusiasm for the projects that are being developed there.

When you extend this to the creative industries, you can see that there is massive potential for the synergies of the culture, the corporate, the economic and the creative to combine to make this region the most hospitable one there is for our artists and filmmakers and storytellers.

The success of TG4 has shown that innovation can conquer all geographic boundaries. The intention is to invest in projects that will yield commercial returns strong enough to create a legacy fund for future projects within the region.

So to everyone out there who wants to play a part in this revolution, to have your voice heard. Get working on your story, get out into nature and let the birds and the rain help you create this new episode of Ireland’s story.

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