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Backing new talent with Enterprise People

Ten emerging and talented screen practitioners will share in $1.35 million of funding for an industry placement scheme to work alongside the best and brightest in the sector.

Ten emerging and talented screen practitioners will share in $1.35 million of funding for an industry placement scheme to work alongside the best and brightest in the sector. Screen Australia’s Enterprise People provides individuals with a wage of up to $70,000 a year for full-time employment for one to two years.

At a time when full-time apprenticeships and cadetships have all but dried up in the screen sector, Enterprise People gives on-the-job training and a critical bridge to long-term and sustainable employment for a new generation of screen practitioners.

Enterprise People is part of Screen Australia’s three-year, $10 million suite of Enterprise programs that aims to facilitate screen businesses to invest in development, talent and innovation for the benefit of the sector.

The 2015 program attracted applicants with an exciting and diverse range of talent. While all were looking for hands-on opportunities in the screen sector, they had a variety of objectives, including: seeking to move from established online success to television drama and feature films; engaging with the international market; and advancing their creative producing skills when returning to work after maternity leave or a career break.

Placements include an attachment as a staff-writer for Alastair Newton Brown with John Collee (Tanna and Master and Commander) and producer Andrew Mason (The Water Diviner and The Matrix); Courtney Wise (Fragments of Friday) will work with leading  television drama producers Helen Bowden and Jason Stephens to develop her creative producing skills across a domestic and international television slate; and the RackaRacka partnership will build on their enormous online success (including 210 million views on their YouTube channel) and work with Triptych Pictures on their feature film and television slate, with the goal of achieving their first credits at this level.

These ten successful placements join the 12 writers, producers and writer/directors who came through the Enterprise People program in 2014. Alex White worked with industry powerhouse Jan Chapman in intensive script workshops and ongoing script and production-related discussions to get the screenplay for her feature film Babyteeth market-ready. The project attracted a casting agent and interest from local distributors and international sales agents at the MIFF 37º South Financing Market. Alex will be producing Babyteeth alongside Katherine Slattery, and Richard Roxburgh will direct.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “Alex’s placement last year is a great example of the benefits of Enterprise People. Screen Australia has always had a strong commitment to backing new talent and Enterprise People gives us the ongoing opportunity to do so. The currency of this industry is our ideas and our people. There are 7000 screen graduates from our educational institutions every year, innumerable creators for online platforms, and countless others in the early stages of their career. This is a competitive industry and its success is based on great creative talent and fresh ideas. These programs work to back new talent by giving them the practical skills, support and experience necessary to have a sustainable career.”

While Enterprise People is a response to the need for on-the-job training and acts as a vital bridge to employment in the sector, it is just one part of a broader suite of initiatives from Screen Australia. The objectives of this suite are to regenerate storytelling; nurture new and emerging talent through industry experience and targeted networking; and facilitate festival attendance, professional development and autonomous creative opportunities for emerging practitioners.

The 2015 Enterprise People placements are:

  • Alastair Newton Brown (Writer placement) with John Collee and Andrew Mason at DeWinter Snow
  • Jessica Carrera (Creative producer placement) with Robyn Kershaw at Robyn Kershaw Productions
  • Michael Drake (Writer placement) with Stuart Connolly at Sticky Pictures
  • Katherine Fry (Creative producer placement) with Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox at Every Cloud Productions
  • Fiona Lanyon (Creative producer placement) with Julie Ryan at Cyan Films
  • Helen ‘Nel’ Minchin (Creative producer placement) with Ivan O’Mahoney and Nial Fulton at In Films
  • Nick Musgrove (Writer-director placement) with Laura Waters and Natalie Bailey at Princess Pictures
  • Danny and Michael Philippou, RackaRacka (Writer-director placement) with Julie Byrne, Jennifer Jones and Kristian Moliere at Triptych Pictures
  • Keir Wilkins (Writer placement) with Anthony Ellis at FremantleMedia Australia
  • Courtney Wise (Creative producer placement) with Helen Bowden and Jason Stephens at Lingo Pictures Pty Ltd

Other Screen Australia programs focused on talent development include:

Enterprise Industry ($4.5 million in 2014)

Since 2009, Screen Australia has funded companies via its Enterprise program. The original scheme, which funded 29 companies over three years, tracked mentorships, internships and traineeships offered by Enterprise companies. A 2013 review found that these opportunities more than doubled (from 25 to 54 per year) at the first 16 Enterprise companies.

In 2014, Enterprise was restructured to support initiatives for broader industry benefit via Enterprise Growth, Stories and People. The restructure addressed industry gaps and created paid opportunities for emerging writers to participate in writers’ rooms.

Multiplatform ($4.0 million p.a.)

New creative teams are supported through multiplatform funding for content on non-traditional platforms – from dramedy like Noirhouse from Tasmania to comedy like The Katering Show.  Teams must include a producer or a director with one comparable credit to be eligible for funding. Multiplatform also includes:

  • Skip Ahead ($300,000 p.a.)

    In a partnership with Google, Screen Australia has supported ten teams of online content creators to extend their creative skills into areas such as longer-form narrative storytelling. The teams have been provided with funding and professional development opportunities, including a trip to the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, to build on their professional capacities and offer new and original content to their online audiences.

  • Fresh Blood ($200,000 p.a.)

    Fresh Blood initially supported 24 new comedy teams through a matched fund with ABC iView. Five were selected to go on to make pilot projects, of which two have been chosen to go to full 6 x half hour series. The winning teams are Skit Box, on the back of their popular Active Wear clip, and Fancy Boy.

Indigenous ($2.0 million p.a.)

Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department offers ongoing support mechanisms for new talent in the industry, with a proven track record of successful long-term outcomes. These include:

  • The Indigenous Producers Initiative

  • This initiative offers 10 Indigenous producers from around Australia the opportunity to undertake professional development to assist participants in extending their screen careers through intensive workshops, practical internships on large scale Australian screen productions and attendance at important industry events.
  • Songlines on Screen­

  • Songlines on Screen engages emerging Indigenous practitioners in creating films about traditional Songlines. The innovative series allows emerging remote and regional directors to record vulnerable Indigenous knowledge with a broadcast outcome on NITV.
  • Pitch Black Shorts

  • Pitch Black Shorts is a successful short drama initiative that focuses on emerging writers and directors. The 2015 shorts were selected by international film festivals and culminated in a sold-out showcase at the Sydney Film Festival.
  • Internships

  • Around $50,000 per year is spent on internships designed to assist the career development of talented film-makers across disciplines.

Development ($1.8 million p.a)

Our Development programs provide opportunities for professional development, short fiction films production funding, and delivery partnerships for screen industry events. Our Development programs include:

  • Talent Development Event Partnerships ($500,000 p.a.)

    Screen Australia partners with industry organisations, state agencies and guilds to deliver events that benefit career (and project) progression. These events support early career practitioners via targeted opportunities such as Open Channel’s Micro Budget Conference and Online Workshop, Wide Angle’s shorts Red Hands initiative, Screen Works on Demand industry events and the Directors Attachment Scheme with the Australian Directors Guild. They aim to develop the storytelling and craft skills of creative practitioners and foster new approaches to development, storytelling, audiences, distribution and finance.

  • Story Fund ($300,000 p.a.)

    Story Fund caters to many early career creatives who are made eligible through collaboration with an experienced producer or executive producer.  For teams who do not meet the eligibility criteria, the new ‘Wildcard Pitch’ opportunity provides an alternative avenue for Story Development feature film funding.

  • Creative Talent Suite ($270,000 p.a.)

    This tailored professional development offers placements, attachments, mentorships, or business plans for early career producers, writers, directors, animators, development executives, script editors and script consultants working in feature film, TV and online drama.

  • Ones to Watch ($30,000 p.a.)

    Screen Producers Australia’s ‘Ones to Watch’ is a professional development program that matches promising early career producers with experienced mentors. Screen Australia funds the program, helps select the participants and funds a placement awarded to a producer from the program.

Production Investment ($2.0 million p.a.)

Screen Australia supports a range of emerging talent through its production investment. First-time feature film-makers are working on projects are working on projects such as Emo: The Musical, Hounds of Love, and The Death and Life of Otto Bloom. Production investment also includes:

  • Opening Shot ($200,000 p.a.)

    Screen Australia partners with ABC to support up to six half-hour one-off documentaries directed by filmmakers aged 35 or under. The films premiere as an ABC2 prime time series.

  • Hot Shots ($1 million p.a.)

    Hot Shots funds the production and post-production of live action and animation short films. It helps to stimulate inventive and creative approaches to storytelling and production at lower budgets in short form. In addition, Hot Shots aims to identify and progress the skills and careers of emerging Australian talent, including through building relationships and networks with experienced professionals.

International Marketing and Australian distribution support
($250,000 p.a. allocated to first and second timers)

Screen Australia provides funding to enable emerging and first-time producers to attend and market their projects at major international festivals and markets, as well as enabling distribution in Australia.  Approximately $800,000 of additional value is provided in the form of access to umbrella facilities at key international markets, business networking opportunities, promotional support, workshops, and further Australian distribution support via distributors.