Kirsty Galliard

Owner, General Post

Popular TV shows such as Masterchef, Survivor and local soap operas rely heavily on freelancer technicians during the post-production process.

When they need an editor, a sound engineer or scriptwriters, there’s a good chance they find them through General Post, an agency specialising in film and TV professionals.

It’s owned by Kirsty Galliard (35) who bought the company in 2008 and quadrupled its turnover within three months.

“The film industry uses a lot of freelancers and it’s easier to find them through an agency because there’s the security of knowing they have been reference checked by someone who knows their skills,” she says. “I grew it by adding more services and getting in touch with more clients.”

Galliard studied drama and film at the University of the Witwatersrand and planned a career in the theatre. But she fell in love with film during a Kodak Film Workshop when she volunteered to produce a five-minute video of the workshop’s highlights.

It took her six weeks to wade through more than 40 hours of footage. “I was quite captivated by the whole process. I’d never seen an editing suite before and it was so satisfying to put everything together. That was when I thought wow, this is fun,” she says.

She had been the head of production at Mann Made Media for five years when she realised how valuable a team of freelance post-production experts could be, and took over General Post.

Last year Galliard launched Five Star Media as a sister company producing film and television material.

“We have access to this amazing pool of talent that we hire out, so now we use them to do our own productions as well,” she says. “We know their skills so it’s easy for us to put together the perfect team for a job.”

Galliard is one of only 300 female entrepreneurs in South Africa chosen for the 10 000 Women initiative sponsored by Goldman Sachs and the Gordon Institute of Business School.

The graduates received business and management training to help grow their businesses. “Although I knew a lot about the film industry I realised I needed to increase my business skills on the tax and legal and strategic planning sides if I wanted to be successful.”  — Tamsin Oxford