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Review of programs and guidelines
Draft Program Guidelines
Industry comments

Comments received Monday 3 November

From Tamra Palmer

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing with an individual writer’s response to the Screen Australia Guidelines pertaining to Development funding. It feels a bit like to responding to the chicken and egg scenario, but I’ll give it a go.

As I am a mere children’s scriptwriter, my voice is not very loud. Despite that, and knowing lots of people in the industry at various levels of entry, I felt it important to add a point or two to the discussion. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get your ideas up with many of the larger and ‘recognised’ producers and production companies. Whilst I believe there is definite room for continuing to support legitimate and prolific producers, there must be room for developing good ideas from writers who do not enjoy a long and comfy relationship with ‘recognised’ producers or directors. There is so little opportunity for writers out there (in a long form sense) that when you are offered work you take it like a chimney sweep and mind your manners. When you have a scorcher of an idea or want to develop one that might become a scorcher, it is enervating to find that unless you have ‘great’ people attached you don’t get a look in. Coupled with this is the missile that gets launched in your direction at every dinner party you attend – ‘we just don’t have the depth of writing here, do we?’ Agh! There’s a reason. It’s called time and money and screen time.

I therefore strongly believe there must be some development finance for writers working on an original programme idea that can be either: taken to networks with some funding attached or made available to Producers or Directors in a forum of someone else’s choosing other than mine. After several years of trying to ‘get things up’ with ABC (and their minimal slate) or another vaguely interested network, the effect on good writers is not good. Can we not support good works, good ideas and develop them a lot further despite their lack of association with others and not simply rely on the too few who have had good fortune, in many cases, to make connections with recognisable producers/directors.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to comment.


Tamra Palmer
Outlook Productions

From Richard Lowenstein

Comments submitted via Word document