From the dusty mining town of Krugersdorpon the West Rand, Garth Holmes would gaze longingly at the bright lights ofJoburg as they twinkled in the distance. He moved there straight after schooland qualified as a teacher, a career choice that forced him to work part-time atrestaurants to make up for the shortfall in his salary. The experience gainedthere led him to start his own successful restaurant. His yearning to be partof the creative world, however, made him sell the business, a decision he calls“naïve and impetuous”, but it saw him team up with controversialwriter-director Deon Opperman, with whom he co-wrote several successful plays.“For the first time I was recognised for my creative talents,” says Holmes.
It was then that he met Bata Passchier, hiscurrent business partner and CEO of AFDA, the film and acting school theylaunched in 1994, a time when the future of the country was uncertain andconfidence was low. AFDA’s origins lie in the failure of aprivate art school owned by a close friend of Holmes’s. “She was an amazinglecturer, but a terrible businesswoman,” says Holmes. “She taught me one of themost important lessons about owning a private university. It’s one hell of aresponsibility; you have everyone’s hopes, futures and dreams locked up in the institution– so collect the fees or close.” The bankrupt school, at which Holmes hadlectured in design and film, provided him with his first six students. “I wasdown and out, but the Design Centre in Greenside took me and the students in.Armed with a rented TV, a VCR and free lectures provided by friends in theindustry, I put the word out that the best film school in South Africa was openfor business.”
Holmes and his partners soon realised thatthey needed premises if they wanted to develop a great university. They set upa campus in a derelict Lever Brothers warehouse in Milpark which cost themR6,00 a square metre. They now own it and it accommodates 650 students. Another600-odd are at the Cape Town campus. The curriculum, and teaching and managementsystems were forged by Passchier. A student of martial arts and Japanesepainting, he developed a passion for ancient training philosophy, theories andpractice, before he turned to creating training videos for a number of bluechip companies. That’s where he was exposed to management methods that he wouldlater fuse with the training theories of the ancients to develop AFDA’s systems.The school was funded with student fees,and post-production facilities were provided by The Video Lab. Holmes says it wasbuilt on the generosity of many people who offered their services. “Three SouthAfricans who were eking out an existence in Hollywood at the time, and a localIT entrepreneur, gave us the original R30 000. We used that, with anamortisation on renovations, to get us going.”
The first formal management controls wereput in place in June 2003 by Passchier. “We had run the company without anyreal management structures until then,” Holmes recalls. “Each partner trustedthat the other would fulfil their responsibilities, but this could only workwhile we were a small company.”AFDA’s early challenges included oppositionfrom within the industry, achieving accreditation and the ever-present threatof bankruptcy. “We had cash flow problems stemming from the fact that we had toconstantly develop the school to deal with the demands of the marketplace. Theearly days were all about growth which meant more staff, more space, moreequipment, more facilities – all of which had to be bought without any supportfrom the state or any other resource.”
Ask Holmes what sets the school apart andhe talks about contributing to building a sustainable and vibrant filmindustry. “We have always been convinced that we are making a difference andthat we will leave a legacy of film practitioners, artists and performers whohave genuine ability to excel and to help create a unique and inspirationalcultural identity for all South Africans.” The school’s achievements include winningan Oscar for best student film, having a film in the finals at Cannes 2006,making the feature film Soldiers of the Rock, and achieving Mastersaccreditation.What AFDA’s success has proved, is theongoing relevance of drama and film in education. “The nature of today’sconsumers coupled with our technologically driven society has placed greateremphasis than ever before on the development of entertainment and mediapractitioners; they are responsible for reflecting society, creating meaning,and capturing the beauty of the human spirit.” Contact: +27 11 482 8345; www.filmdramaschool.co.za
How Nic Haralambous Launched His 6 Year In The Making, Overnight Success
Nic Haralambous launched 8 failing businesses. He used the lessons learnt from that failure to ensure the success of his new business Nic Harry.
Nic Haralambous, the founder and CEO of Nic Harry who started off selling bamboo socks online and now has brick and mortar stores with a larger product range around the country. Nic has also written a book titled Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. which is a brutally honest look at entrepreneurship and follows Nic’s entrepreneurial journey. Learn from his failures and how he used them as the foundation of his success.
Related: (Podcast) Speak More Honestly
Vuyo Tofile Of EntBanc Group Talks About Finding Solutions And Partnering To Offer The Most Value
Vuyo Tofile offers his advice on how to know if you’re ready to scale and how to get it right the first time.
Vuyo Tofile, CEO of EntBanc Group (Pty) Ltd, which is a privately held enterprise and financial technology group. They empower small businesses with the right tools including products such as mySMEtools, which is used by over 46 000 small businesses. Learn about partnering for success, develop tools and resources that your customer base needs, and how can you scale?
Eben Uys Shares His Concept Behind Mad Giant Brewery And How You Can Make Your Business Stand Out In A Crowd
“You just need to start” says Eben Uys, don’t make up excuses why you aren’t ready. Just start.
Eben Uys, Co-founder and CEO of Mad Giant, a Brewery in the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa. Eben brings new life to craft beer and has made his brewery and restaurant Urbanologi, a destination hub. His advice: “You can do things that give you short-term gains, but it might not benefit you in the long term. Try a lot of things over a long period of time and build a reputation and a network.”
Celebrity Businesses4 days ago
11 Celebrities That Are Profiting From Their Investments In The Lucrative Pot Industry
Increase Profitability6 days ago
Leon Meyer GM At Westin Cape Town Shares 4 Experience-Driven Tips On How To Keep Your Team Productive
Cool Offices1 week ago
6 Companies With Amazing Office Layouts To Inspire Your Office Redesign
Company Posts8 hours ago
Don’t Tread On Toes – Why Investing In A HIQ Franchise Will Offer You More Opportunities
Entrepreneur Today2 weeks ago
How Are South Africans Feeling About The Work Environment?
Self Development2 weeks ago
(Infographic) How 9 Creative Minds Got Their Ideas
Venture Capital7 days ago
3 Mistakes To Avoid When Running A Crowdfunding Campaign
Personal Finance2 weeks ago
(Infographic) The Financial Advice Millennials And Gen Zers Want To Know