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ONLINE Development

The Online Development Fund is aimed at emerging Australian screen creatives, allowing them to access funding to develop the creative materials of their scripted or documentary projects with a primary release via an online platform.

In most cases this fund applies to projects releasing on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, as well as Virtual Reality (and other Extended Reality) projects. Screen Australia recognises this part of the industry is fast-changing, so other release platforms may be eligible. 

The Online Development Fund should be considered as a potential step prior to applying for Online Production Funding. Applications may be made for up to $25,000 for a single stage of development. Funding for a proof of concept will be considered in addition to this, for any amount up to $30,000.

For larger budget projects aimed at a release on broadcasters or streaming platforms, applicants are advised to apply to the Screen Story Development Fund (Generate or Premium)


Applications for the Online Development Fund are open to anyone who:

  • meets all requirements and conditions in Screen Australia's Terms of Trade
  • is an Australian individual or team. Co-productions may also apply with an application from the Australian Company.
  • controls the rights whether they are the writer, director or producer.
  • is able to develop, finance and produce the project for the intended platform and audience.

There are no minimum credit requirements to apply.

The project must be an online series or one-off XR project intended for public release on a screen-based device. Short films are not eligible to apply.

Online Development is for lower budget series or one-off XR project projects. It is targeted towards emerging talent as well as experienced practitioners who want to take creative risks.  Applications can be made by individuals or creative teams; however individual applicants must demonstrate the ability to attract other team members at later stages of development and production.

Specific requirements apply where a project involves First Nations content, stories, characters or community participation. Please see the Indigenous content, collaboration and participation section below and our Pathways and Protocols guide for more detail.

If your project has been declined twice through the Online Development Fund or any Screen Australia development program, it is not eligible to apply again.


Funding available is for development costs for scripted or documentary projects. The Development budget can include funding for any of the scripted creative materials necessary for a project, including but not limited to; writing a treatment, draft scripts, bible, research, writers’ rooms and key creative fees, as well as a filmed Proof of Concept. 

Screen Australia will only fund Australian creatives and costs of the development budget, excluding international consultants, mentors or script editors. 

Funding cannot be retrospective.


Applications are open all year round and can be made through Screen Australia’s  online application portal with the following materials:

  • A completed online application form
  • An up to 3-minute downloadable video pitch to camera
  • A completed Development Plan template (no longer than 2 pages)
  • Story documents applicable to the current stage of development, i.e. story bible, draft scripts, episode outlines or anything else applicable

The Program Operations team will review each application to ensure eligibility and required application materials.  Once confirmed, the applicant will receive an email advising that their application has moved to assessment and an estimated timeframe of the outcome – generally around 6 weeks from receipt of email.


Screen Australia supports the telling of First Nations stories by First Nations creatives and storytellers and/or meaningful collaboration with the First Nations communities to which these stories belong.  

Whenever there is First Nations content and/or First Nation community participation in the project, or when there are First Nations members of the team who do not have the authority to speak for the people or place being represented in the story, you will need to follow the checklists from Pathways & Protocols: a film maker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts.

The checklists include a statement on how you are approaching the First Nations content, (even if you believe the content is not specific to a community or individual), evidence of your collaboration to date and where relevant, signed letters of consent confirming the community and/or individual’s willingness to collaborate.

Inclusive storytelling

Gender equity, diversity and inclusivity are priorities for Screen Australia. We therefore expect that the diversity of the story world and characters are reflected in the creative team and IP of the project and/or that integrated and meaningful collaboration occurs from early stages of development. Also, consider whether your team has the right to tell the story and whether your telling of it will be authentic.


Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists against the following criteria:

  • Story and development plan: is the story strong and distinctive, and suited to the proposed release platform? Does the development plan outline creative challenges and propose appropriate solutions?
  • Audience and budget: does the application consider the project’s audience and the pathway to building this audience in a way that is appropriate to its budget size and platform
  • Team:  How does the previous experience of the team position them to succeed with this project? What relevant experience do they have in this role? What about the creative potential of the team generates excitement? 
  • Culture and diversity: Do elements of the project reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia?

All projects involving First Nations content or participation will be assessed with First Nations Assessors.

Applicants will be advised of the outcome approximately six weeks after email receipt of their project’s eligibility.


If you are successful, you will need to enter into an agreement issued by Screen Australia and the production company / screen industry provider whose initiative you are applying to, and you will be required to provide two (2) reports on your progress to Screen Australia.

If you have any questions after reviewing these guidelines, application form, and the FAQs, please contact Program Operations on 1800 507 901 or via email.  Please note that we are unable to provide creative advice or suggestions to strengthen your application.