• Search Keywords

  • Year

  • Production Status

  • Genre

  • Co-production

  • SA Supported

  • First Nations Creative

  • Length

  • Technique

5. Find opportunities

This guide aims to provide useful industry insights, resources and advice that can help you get started in the screen industry.

There are regular opportunities offered that can help you develop relationships, deepen your skills and get noticed. The most common are attachments, placements, writers’ rooms and production funding. Initiative programs run by the screen agencies are also a great launching pad. Recent initiatives run by Screen Australia include Digital Originals, Skip Ahead and Out Here. If you subscribe to the newsletters of the agencies and organisations listed in Part 4 you will stay up to date on what’s available. It’s also worth staying across screen industry organisations’ social media accounts and industry Facebook groups to see what job opportunities are available. There are also ways you can create your own opportunities.

Apply for an Entry Level Job

Many in the screen industry start their career in entry level roles like being a runner on a film production or an office assistant in a production company. You can find these opportunities if you keep across job movements on Screenhub and industry newsletters or make direct outreaches to companies that are in pre-production.

Attachments, Placements and Writers’ Rooms

The opportunity to work on a production, to shadow an experienced screen professional or take notes in a writers’ room can be a career-changing experience. An attachment on a production is typically six weeks long and full-time. A placement with a production company can be part-time or full-time over a negotiated time frame. Writers’ rooms typically span a few days. These roles can be paid or unpaid.

Screen Australia and most state screen agencies require productions that receive a certain level of taxpayer funding to offer paid attachments and placements to emerging screen creatives. In an effort to make the screen industry more inclusive, screen agencies often prioritise new talent from diverse backgrounds, as demonstrated in our recent Inclusivity Attachments.

When seeking an opportunity, be sure to outline why you want to work with that person or on that particular project and why you would make a good addition to the team. To stay across current production activity, check out Upcoming Productions. To find the best contact point at a production company, do your own research or reach out to your state screen agency for advice.

You can also arrange your own unpaid work experiences by directly reaching out to production companies or professionals you admire (although be aware that companies often prefer to go through screen agency placements or education institutions where all insurances are covered). Note for projects that Screen Australia funds it is a requirement that everyone is paid award minimum.


As production technology becomes more affordable and distribution channels more accessible, it is now possible to make entry level content on much smaller budgets. The viral success of some online videos and films demonstrate that large audiences are drawn mainly to strong stories and characters, not only high production values. There are lots of ways you can keep production costs down - keep the team small, ask family and friends for favours (such as catering, free locations, transport, etc.) and keep the content short.

It is challenging to secure production funding. A lot of time is spent by industry professionals exploring and cultivating a range of funding sources. It’s a complicated and fast-changing space that good producers know intimately.

Screen Agency Funding

Screen Australia and state screen agencies generally fund four distinct stages of screen work:

  • Story Development
  • Production
  • Completion
  • Distribution

Some screen agencies also provide targeted funding for new talent to make short projects such as webisodes, short films or a proof of concept. For more information on how screen agency funding works see Screen Australia at a glance and check out your state screen agency funding information.

Screen agencies and broadcasters also often partner on a number of tailored funding initiatives. These opportunities are communicated via their industry newsletters. Recent initiatives include:

For Story Development, be strategic. Make sure your Development Plan clearly articulates the areas you feel need more work and how you will achieve this. Assessors are not in a position to call applicants and ask for more information or clarification - they can only go on what is in your submitted documents.

Be prepared for your funding applications to be unsuccessful. It’s highly competitive and there are always more applications than the funding can support, so you need to be persistent and continue to develop your voice, your craft and your team.

Be aware that some screen agencies require applicants to be over 18 years old and not enrolled as a full-time student in a tertiary film, television or interactive digital media course.

Independent Funding

Given the competitive nature of screen agency funding, you will need to explore other funding sources. Keep an eye on industry newsletters to hear about these opportunities:

  • Broadcasters such as the ABC and SBS sometimes call for short-form stories from new voices. Such opportunities often call for pre-determined themes or genre-based online content.
  • Film festivals, both in Australia and internationally, sometimes offer production funding for new voices, along with a festival screening of your work upon completion. Winning entries to festivals can also attract cash prizes.
  • Crowdfunding can secure cash in advance from your intended audience if you commit the necessary time and effort required to run an effective campaign.


Whether you are seeking an attachment, placement, funding or some other form of support, you will effectively be pitching either yourself or your project, or both. Pitching competitions have become popular in recent years, where the industry has the opportunity to identify new talent and stories. Your reward for a successful pitch is the support of a credited professional, which can increase your future chances of production experiences, employment and funding. There are many books, consultants and workshops that offer different approaches to pitching, whether that be a 15-second ‘elevator pitch’ or a formal 20-minute presentation. Some words of advice from US Showrunner Sheila Hanahan Taylor can be found here on the Screen Australia podcast. Senior Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia, Lee Naimo also shared his tips for pitching with ACMI which you can view here. Take the time to hone this craft and find a style that best represents you and your story.

Remember that many of your attempts to secure opportunities such as those outlined above may be unsuccessful. Your persistence in trying until you are successful is a key factor in forging a screen career.