Producer/director and founder: Lucky Bean Media

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke is not waiting for the death of the 30-second advert. He is creating shows that integrate advertising and content in a way that “assists the narrative rather than negates it”. Vodacom Thumb Wars, a reality competition TV series developed by his company Lucky Bean Media, proved the success of the “branded content” model, having been acquired for the American market by Ben Silverman of Ugly Betty fame.

At 34, Clarke is not some young upstart. He cut his teeth on youth shows such as Get Real and X-Attitude. As series director on Survivor South Africa, Clarke proved he could localise an international format in a way that resonated with local audiences. Since then he has directed or produced most of the major international franchises, from So You Think You Can Dance to Big Brother and Project Fame, and is currently executive producer on MasterChef South Africa. Looks like Clarke is giving the local industry the reality check it needs.

— Cat Pritchard

Twitter: @TheDonClarke