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Tim Pye talks Aussie screenwriters

Former Scripted Ink Head of Development Tim Pye on screenwriting in 2019 – thinking internationally, practical tips, and the pros and cons of SVODs.

Find this episode on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocket Casts.

When Tim Pye started out on A Country Practice as a stage hand in the mid-1980s, there was a clear pathway for him as a screenwriter.

Tim Pye Tim Pye

He moved to the production office as a trainee script editor, then script editor, than a writer, and has since worked on a multitude of series including Love Child, GP and Water Rats.

He recognises that it’s become much harder for writers to break in and progress as he was able to.

“Writers are facing a certain number of challenges that are the direct result of these SVOD, or Video on Demand, disruptors,” he says.

One is being able to come up with a fresh idea that can ‘cut-through’ the swathe of content being produced around the world.

“You’re competing in a much more crowded market now if you come up with an idea for a TV show,” he says. Pye adds that this has particular impact when you’re pitching to Australian broadcasters, who know the series they commission will be vying for audiences that also have Netflix and Stan’s library catalogues at their fingertips.

On this episode of the Screen Australia podcast, Pye looks at this and other hurdles facing Australian writers, as well as the positives that have emerged. He explains

  • how the showrunner of NCIS: LA Shane Brennan is helping change and educate the local industry;
  • how he believes the term ‘showrunner’ in Australia differs to the US;
  • and even breaks down the difference between a ‘story by’ and ‘written by’ credit.

He also demystifies the organisations that represent and work with writers – the Australian Writers’ Guild, AWGACS, and Scripted Ink – and how they can help. Pye was previously President of the Australian Writers’ Guild, chair of the board of Authorship Collection Society AWGACS and Head of Development for Scripted Ink.

Note: At the time of recording, Tim Pye was Head of Development for Scripted Ink and chair of the board of AWGACS, but has since moved on from these roles. Read more about it on the AWG website

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