By Siyabonga Mkholo

pocketstudio is a freelance marketplace that matches brands and production companies to the next wave of African content creators.

This platform started off as an idea that aimed to place film school graduates into various roles within the audio-visual industry by vetting and matching them with production companies working across various formats such as film, television, animation as well as online content. At the time, my co-founder and I were fresh out of varsity with no place to go and after trying to pursue various roles within the audio-visual industry, we soon realised that the only way we can sustain ourselves was to start our own company — and that is when our first start-up, Outré, was born. Since 2015, we have been producing independent content whilst providing services to various clients who required our video solutions. What set us apart at the time was our ability to produce quality content with fast turn-around times at competitive rates. Over time, the demand far exceeded our capacity and the idea of the freelance marketplace began to surface as a way to secure more clients by providing access to more freelancers who had the technical abilities to deliver on our value proposition.

It wasn’t until 2018 when we started investigating the nuanced intricacies of the production value chain. As we sought to solve one problem, we found more gaps within the value chain that spoke to numerous pains we experienced as an independent production company. We soon realised that these pains were shared experiences for many audio-visual companies & practitioners and since no one was actively trying to solve it, we decided that we would step up to the plate and bring pocketstudio to life.

We have spent the last two years researching and refining our idea with the help of a number of accelerator programmes — more recently, through jamlab. We’re now at the stage where we are testing our key assumptions so that we can better understand our user’s needs and with the support of jamlab, we have access to key resources that will allow us to rigorously refine our platform in preparation for our launch later this year. Moreover, we have began engaging with the Department of Arts & Culture in South Africa who have offered their support in developing this platform and providing access to funding.

At the core of our platform, we want to #openuptheindustry for audio-visual practitioners so that creatives can do what they do best — create. Our goal is to leave the industry in a better state than how we found it; meaning that the exploitation of talent and crew will be a thing of the past and we can start looking at how we can ensure that the audio-visual industry is a viable career path for all practitioners and our properties are able to enjoy the benefits of being exported across international territories. For the time being, we’re focussed on developing and testing our platform and gaining valuable partners who will support our vision and help us realise our highest ambitions for the future of audio-visual industry. It is time for the industry to open and for creatives to create — it is time, for pocketstudio.

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