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seeing ourselves - developing the developer: A focus on diversity

To nurture exceptional ideas into well-developed stories that resonate with audiences takes significant skill, emotional insight and craft.

Screen Australia recognises that in order to contribute to our story development capacity and culture we need to continue to identify, nurture and develop new generations of fiction developers across story platforms and formats to utilise great processes and arrive at exceptional content outcomes.

Australia has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world. More than one in ten Australians now identify with diverse sexual orientation or gender identity; and just under one in five people report having a disability. For the purpose of these guidelines, diversity encompasses cultural background, disability status, sexual orientation and identity.

Acknowledging the barriers which may exist to professionalisation in the field of screen story development, it is Screen Australia’s intent through Developing the Developers: A Focus on Diversity to increase the diversity of practitioners who work in screen story development to create a pool of developers more broadly reflective of Australian society. This will give import to, enhance and enliven our storytelling culture ultimately impacting the decisions made through programs such as Screen Australia’s story development fund to deeply shape narrative, point of view, representation, authenticity and relevance to community and audience. Inclusivity of wide-ranging perspectives provides an enriched environment of inclusion and has the potential to deeply impact on what stories are told and by whom.

In addition to current practicing fiction developers working in screen, we also welcome and encourage applications from story development practitioners working in sister art-forms including live performance (theatre, musical, opera, dance, music), literary, and non-fiction narrative forms (documentary). We will prioritise applications from practitioners that reflect diverse cultural background, disability status, sexual orientation and identity.

10-12 participants will be selected for the three-day workshop to be hosted in Sydney from Friday 31 March, Saturday 1 April and Sunday 2 April 2017. For interstate practitioners, Screen Australia will support and arrange only the domestic travel, ground transport and accommodation for the duration of the workshop.

The Developing the Developers: A Focus on Diversity workshop will focus on development philosophies, development methodologies and tools across fiction story platforms as well as market context. The workshop will be practice-led and experiential and require participants to prepare work prior to, and during, attendance. The workshop will also provide the opportunity to mix with and meet senior and leading industry practitioners.

The workshop structure includes:

Pre-Workshop: set project reading and analysis tasks
Day One: building craft, analysis skills and adding to your development toolkit across early to late stage projects
Day Two: understanding development from active industry practitioners across all platforms
Day Three: putting your toolkit into practice in mock meetings, observation of development meetings, and reflecting on our individual methods and practice
Post-Workshop: exit ‘interview’ to discuss areas of interest and next steps

After the workshop, Screen Australia will engage with each selected participant to discuss their goals and work with them to unlock support opportunities for participants to continue their practice in the story development field.

Who can apply?

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate some track record in story or new work development from any genre, platform or narrative art-form (for example, theatre, screen, fiction in other formats such as a novel, or documentary). Please note: The demonstrable track-record of applicants can be professional, community cultural development, semi-professional, independent or fringe work but work history must involve either fiction or factual narrative work of any length. The applicant must have some history of practice as at least one of the following, a:
  • development executive
  • produced writer (fiction / factual in any genre/platform)
  • creative producer / associate producer / story producer / editor
  • script editor / script consultant / script mentor
  • script assistant / writer room note-taker
  • creative who has contributed to devising new work (for example, an actor, director, choreographer in professional, semi-professional,
  • independent, fringe or community driven productions)
  • dramaturg
  • literary manager / dramaturg in residence
  • a track record working in a related creative role that contributes to the development of new work. For example: assistant to a producer of new work or in a production company; former executive in a network; associate director in a live performance company; or, reader / assessor for an agent, distributor, sales agent, network, or script services organisation.
  • Only individuals may apply.
  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade. Regretfully we will not be able to receive applications from people who are enrolled full time at a tertiary education institution, or who are a current employee of a broadcaster or government agency. Please ring 1800 507 901 to discuss other opportunities with the Sr. Development Executive at Screen Australia.
  • Applicants must be able to attend the workshop on the specified dates.

What materials do you need to apply?

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) highlighting evidence and track-record in story development in new work for screen or sister art-forms, noting the cultural and geographic contexts of that work- maximum 2 pages
  • Personal Objectives Statement a written personal statement^ - maximum 2 pages^ from the applicant outlining:
  • where you have worked,
  • who you have worked with
  • how your practice contributes to a diversity in screen content and practice;
  • the barriers faced and/or overcome in your work;
  • your commitment and motivation to new work development and what types of stories are of interest;
  • why participation in the Workshop is of interest to you; and,
  • your hoped for outcomes through participating in Developing the Developers: A Focus on Diversity
  • Personal Process Statement a written outline^ of a development process you have participated in, outlining your role, function, your process and the project’s context and outcome– maximum 1 page^
  • A support reference letter from a professional industry practitioner or producing organisation, or development or community organization. For example, a theatre company, community arts or community cultural development organisation, production company, broadcaster, festival, publisher, agent, distributor. The reference letter should come from someone who has worked or collaborated with you in a development or related creative role capacity. We ask that the letter outline what they perceive as the strengths and future potential of your story and development skills and your potential contribution and impact on story development culture in Australia overall – maximum 1 page

^Please note if you would prefer to provide your Personal Objectives Statement and Personal Process Statement verbally, you can submit a 4 minute (maximum) video via password protected link.

What is the assessment process?

Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists/peers as required. We will advise applicants in writing of the success or otherwise of their application.

Assessment criteria

When assessing applications for this program, we will take the following equally weighted criteria into account:

  • Demonstrable experience and track record in a development or related creative role in a narrative work on any platform or art-form
  • Depth of awareness and reflection on development process and objective for participation
  • Calibre, quality and strength of peer recommendation
  • The applicant’s capacity and demonstrated commitment to contribute to a development culture reflective of Australian society.

What is the application timing?

Applications must be submitted by 2 February 2017 through the Online Application Portal and must include all necessary and relevant additional supporting material. Short listed applicants will be notified and may be required for an interview and/or to undertake a reading/analysis task as part of the application process. Final selections will be made by the Head of Production and Screen Australia executives as required. Maximum turnaround time for application decisions is six weeks.

Contact us

If you’d like to speak with one of our Development Executives or our Program Operations team regarding your application call 1800 507 901 or email development@screenaustralia.gov.au