How to Build a Creative Economy in a Burgeoning City

We had a great weekend at the Seattle Film Summit, an annual gathering that brings the leading creatives to the PNW. The weekend with diverse programming and panels allowed everyone to learn and connect. The central, underlying theme at the back of organizers' and attendees’ minds was “what do we want the future of Seattle film to be?”.

The discussion revolved around the current state of Seattle as a destination film city and what precedent Seattle creators want to establish now to set a precedent for future generations. The collective goal was clear: how do we as creatives ignite our reputation as a filming destination and spur a thriving, sustainable creative economy? Here are our takeaways:

Allocate Space for New Perspectives

In shifting times, the creatives inform us. It is no secret that society is at a crossroads from an economic and social standpoint. In trying times, most people see entertainment as an escape from reality. Listen to the creatives; listen to the new voices; listen to the marginalized, and make space to include them in the conversation. Seattle has reached the pinnacle of new, excited, and fresh perspectives on the scene, and it would be a travesty not to embrace them. When prioritizing different viewpoints gives way to originality that will put Seattle on the map as a creative hub people should be getting excited about. By championing fellow Seattle creators and telling stories for storytelling (not chasing down a trend) it breeds brilliance that gives a city a noteworthy reputation.

Foster Community

The Seattle creators are here! They are doing unique projects and producing great content, yet at the moment, it is isolated to specific circles and fragmented across the Pacific Northwest. Community building and uplifting must happen at multiple levels within the city. At the essential point, networking must occur to connect people to people. To work together, a strong foundation of partnerships must be established. Bringing people together through film festivals, conferences, and conventions introduces various pockets of the Seattle film community and lead to more opportunities. Organized programming through industry leaders may unite people and determine a unified view of the Seattle creator economy. These leaders may also facilitate the necessary conversations to empower the creators powering the community and advocate government representatives to implement legislature to put Seattle entertainment first. The community drives change and accountability. We are all in this together to make a thriving community.

How can this all be done?

The crucial thing to know is that action must be taken now. Something like a creator economy takes time to build up, otherwise, opportunities will be missed if inaction takes hold. The first step is establishing infrastructure, which Seattle already has. There is prospering talent and labor, combined with technology, money, and the gorgeous landscape - Seattle is the epicenter of opportunity. From there, industry standards can be established, a concise legislature can be drawn up, and funds can be designated to the right areas.

This is a unique opportunity to do something different. The conversation started at the summit, and the ball is now rolling. We must keep it going. We at Symbonic are dedicated to building the creative economy to accelerate a thriving scene. Change is in the power of those who take it. Ask yourself, do you want to be part of the next wave? The wave that is defining Seattle entertainment and media, changing the course of the city?

Get involved in the Seattle Creative Economy: 

Office of Film and Music

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