Welcome to Firebreak Studios.
We are a communications consultancy based in Cape Town, South Africa, and offer a suite of expert services to clients across southern Africa and beyond. These services encompass writing, editing, research, training and media production. If you need to get a message out and you’re looking for excellence of delivery, Firebreak Studios has a creative solution custom-built for you.
Specifically, we provide the following communication services:
Firebreak Studios provides the following communication services:
Independent journalism – Our writers supply accurate, entertaining and well-crafted journalistic reports, features and columns to clients in the publishing sector. If you want high-quality content for your print or digital magazine, we can deliver.
Organisational writing – We write annual reports, company profiles, chairperson statements, training manuals, formal submissions, concept notes, funding proposals, and conference and workshop summaries. If you want your staff-written content sewn up into an elegant final product, we can assist; if there is no in-house content and the source material has to be created from scratch, we can do this starting-point research as well – and then use it to write the master document. Organisational writing includes writing and editing training manuals and materials.
Marketing and advocacy – We copywrite as well as design brochures, newsletters and full-length member magazines. In addition, we write brand copy, media editorials and press releases. If you have a product to market or a cause to advocate, Firebreak Studios can help you get the words just right. Our specialist division Advocacy Aid caters specifically for the needs of the civil society sector.
Book and document editing – We offer two broad editing services: surface and depth editing. Surface editing entails proofreading and copyediting, while depth editing involves reworking, and even rewriting, texts from the ground upwards. If you are busy writing a fiction or nonfiction book, or if you’re about to submit it for publication, let us help you get your house in order. If you’re producing an academic dissertation, we can proofread and copyedit it for you. Our editing service applies to short as well as long-form texts, and to corporate as well as private clients. You write it – we improve it.
Plain-language editing – We can assist you in popularising your work by converting difficult, technical documents into plain English that your audience can understand … and appreciate.
Media training – We provide training in writing and editing for the media. If you want your staff equipped with the skill to write for company publications or regularly update your website, we offer intensive staff training along with attentive follow-up support. Through our partner GetSmarter – an accredited online-education provider affiliated with the University of Cape Town – Firebreak Studios offers a course on feature journalism.
Website development – We specialise in designing, architecting and implementing Joomla! content management systems, an open-source technology suitable for content portals, online libraries, academic journals, promotional websites and intranets. In addition, we provide website management, content updating and staff training in website operation.
Legal and policy research – Through our division Advocacy Aid, we offer a specialist research service for clients in the civil society and NPO sector who are advocating for social change and want all the facts, figures and ammunition they can muster in support of their case. If the message you want to get out is “social change”, Firebreak Studios can help you ensure your message packs a punch.
We cater to a range of clients: media and publishing houses; companies and corporates; civil society organisations; and education and training institutions.
In the media and publishing sector, our clients include Marie Claire, Private Edition, Art South Africa, BBQ Scorecard and Obrigado magazines.
Our company and corporate clients include Southern Sun Lifestyle Resorts, SunSwop, Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort, Bruce Dundas Master Builders and MTNterprise (via The Publishing Partnership).
Clients in the civil society and non-governmental sector include Unicef, Oxfam, the Open Democracy Advice Centre, the Children's Institute and many others.
Our clients in the education and training sector include the Faculty of Law at the University of the Western Cape, the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, and the online education-provider GetSmarter.
Firebreak Studios operates as an association of partnered skills and expertise.
Collaboration, in other words, is our key philosophy. Depending on the requirements of specific projects, we draw on the talents of a retinue of external associates from South Africa or further afield, be they individuals, groups or organisations. In this way we can ensure that we always field the best team to do the best job.
The core members of Firebreak Studios are André Wiesner and Patricia Martin.
André Wiesner is a seasoned communications professional with many arrows to his quiver, given that he is an editor, writer and educator as well as researcher and digital media developer. As an editor, he devotes painstaking attention to both the surface mechanics and deep structures of a text. He is particularly good at rising to the challenge of reworking dull, jumbled manuscripts from the ground up and breathing life and light into them.
He has long been active as a feature journalist, as a practitioner and teacher alike, and has received awards for his work. He was a PICA Consumer Journalist of the Year; in 2001 he won a Mondi award for Best Feature. André has freelanced for countless magazines and newspapers, all-terrain work that has seen him investigate an eclectic mix of subjects and interview people ranging from garbage collectors and deep-sea divers to filmmakers, trade unionists, billionaires and provincial premiers.
In addition to his wide-ranging background in radio, television and the Internet, André has lengthy experience in corporate, academic and organisational communications. He has crafted publications such as brochures, newsletters, interactive PDFs, annual reports, member magazines, international-treaty submissions and content-management websites.
André was educated at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he majored with distinction in English and Political Studies and read a Master's degree in English under the supervision of J.M. Coetzee. After having served as news editor at the web portal World Online, he took up a tenured lectureship for several years at UCT's Centre for Film and Media Studies. André lectured, presented seminars and was the convenor of numerous courses, one of them being the Centre's prestigious competitive-entry elective on Print Journalism; he also was also a supervisor in the university's M.A. in Creative Writing programme. André resigned in 2008, but continues to teach occasionally at UCT as well as represent it at an online-education initiative with which the university is affiliated.
Patricia Martin is an advocacy specialist with high-level experience as a consultant to civil society organisations working to promote social change. She was the national director of an alliance of more than a thousand civil society organisations in the children's sector in South Africa. Today Patricia continues to work to improve the comprehensive well-being of vulnerable children through policy and legislative research, review and advocacy.
An admitted attorney with a Master of Law degree in Public Law, she has focused her energies on addressing the holistic needs of children living in poverty, children affected by HIV and AIDS, and young children (0-9 years) in South Africa and the SADC region at large.
In this regard, Patricia has managed, as well as participated in, numerous projects that involved research, policy reviews, monitoring the implementation of policies and laws, developing submissions and commentaries, and facilitating dialogue between role players in both government and civil society.
Her principal skills and experience lie in policy analysis, research and monitoring, knowledge transfer, capacity-building, and developing training material.
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