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Digital Originals

Screen Australia and SBS are teaming up to present Digital Originals, a brand new initiative aimed at developing exciting and innovative online projects for SBS OnDemand.

Screen Australia and SBS aim to support practitioners and projects that reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia, all of which are important culturally, creatively and economically. This initiative aims to support work from writers who are currently under-represented on screen, and for the purposes of these guidelines this includes those who identify as First Nations Australians, are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, those who are living with a disability; and/or are female or trans/gender diverse; identify as LGBTQIA+; and those who are located in regional and remote areas. 

Up to ten writers (or teams of two key creatives which includes one writer) will be selected to attend an exclusive workshop series run by Screen Australia and SBS. This will focus on short form narrative writing skills, as well as developing the projects to align with the SBS charter and OnDemand platform.

From these ten teams, up to three will be chosen to take their projects into further development and eventually production with SBS and Screen Australia.

WHAT?

The successful applicants will be invited to attend a series of workshops run by Screen Australia and SBS. These workshops will be an exclusive opportunity to learn from both organisations, and will also feature Australian and international guest presenters.

The first workshop is 25h – 26th November 2019, with the second scheduled for February 2020 (dates TBC). All applicants must be available for these workshops.

Projects must be of a scale suitable for online audiences – immediately compelling, creatively outstanding and risk-taking in their nature. They can be of any scripted narrative genre, and cannot be documentary, factual or reality.

Specifically, we are looking for:

  • Scripted narrative projects suitable for the SBS OnDemand platfom

  • An awareness of who the project is for and why that audience will keep returning to watch it

  • Unique stories that add to the cultural landscape of Australian content, for a global audience

Teams outside of Sydney will receive flights and accommodation for up to two team members to attend the workshops. Teams can be larger than two members, however travel support will only be extended to a maximum of two members.

WHO?

Digital Originals is targeted at emerging creators working on lower-budget, exciting and risk-taking projects. Following on from the success of HOMECOMING QUEENS and ROBBIE HOOD, this opportunity is aimed at episodic narrative series designed for SBS OnDemand.

Applicant teams must consist of at least one writer, however experience in writing for screen is not necessary.  In recognition of the barriers that have faced under-represented communities finding professional pathways into the screen industry, applicants who do not have screen industry experience but who can evidence the relevant skills and potential in order to take advantage of screen industry career opportunities will also be considered. Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

HOW?

Applications close midnight Friday, 13th September 2019 and can be made through the application portal.

Applications consist of:

  • An up to 3 minute pitch video or up to 3 page pitch document, consisting of:
  • Information on the series format (how many episodes, length of episode)
  • Genre, characters, story arc and brief plot summary
  • Themes and tone of the project
  • The target audience, including demographics and viewing habits
  • The team and their past experience creating content
  • What is unique and exciting about the project
  • An up-to 10 page script sample of previous work (note: the script sample must not be part of the current project that is being applied with)

  • Up to 1 page statement articulating how the writer can contribute to a more diverse and inclusive storytelling on screen with reference to their  cultural or socio economic background, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or First Nations status

SBS First and Last Right:

In applying for the Screen Australia / SBS ‘Digital Originals’ writing initiative the APPLICANT (S) agree and acknowledge that a condition of being selected for the initiative and the workshops is that Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS) has an Exclusive First and Last Right to acquire on standard terms all Free Communication Rights in Australia in respect of their project continuing until 30 June 2020.

Assessment criteria

Each pitch will be assessed taking into consideration the below criteria:

  • The creative strength of the project, and its ability to successfully engage an online audience

  • The track record of the key team members and the likelihood that this program will develop their skills in made-for-web content production

  • The standard of the supplied writing sample, and its demonstration of the abilities and skills of the writer

  • The alignment of the team and project with the diversity and inclusion aims of the initiative and with the SBS Charter, SBS Codes of Practice and Editorial Guidelines

Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia and SBS, with successful workshop participants notified by Friday 18 October, 2019.

Screen Australia and SBS acknowledge and appreciate the effort that goes into applications, but given the anticipated volume of applications will not be able to provide individual feedback on each application.

Enquiries:  For any enquiries, please contact the Program Operations team on 1800 507 901 or [email protected].