Anyone who thinks that change will, or even needs to happen within the bureaucracy, is setting him/herself up for one hell of a disappointment. Perhaps the point is that this is happening to the Hollywood industry too, not only Australia. I should say from the outset that I’m a screenwriting graduate from last year’s AFTRS class. They’re trying to shift from intimate personal drama to genre as a patch to get people into the seats. (The focus is on special-needs persons.) For our own stories, for the industry in Oz. the next wave of this industry (if u can call it that) will only come when people who actually know how to write screenplays here in australia pick up a camera and shoot it themselves… which kinda sucks because I never wanted to be a director but, im so annoyed at the rubbish that’s being produced here I’m left with little other option…, someone with some weight/name needs to stand up and speak out about how much of a farse the goverment funded body (whatever the fuck they call themselves these days is) it’s the biggest joke i’ve ever come across… what they need to do is shut it down completley or maybe just hire some people who actually know a thing or two about cinema… it’s such a joke… the people who work at the AFC or whatever it is these days should hang there heads in shame…, Oh… and I went to UNI – one of the biggest ones in aus… and I was studying film… in my first week i went to a screenwriting lecture… the lecturer had written one (that’s right ONE) feature length script (not to mention un-produced) and a couple of shorts.. and he was teaching the class!!!! How can more writers access the industry (without having to pay exorbitant fees)? No 90 page second act where nothing happens, no blurred lines between Act 1 and Act 2 or 3, no payoff. of story arcs, of the big picture. Instead we are getting personal dramas in the guise of genre. I’m quite happy there aren’t too many like me out there. Didn’t we all have a good laugh when a few years back the AFC paid for Christine Vachon to come over. Network. All are written following the worldwide proven conventions of storytelling for the BIG screen. What is the politics of the decision? Some of these people have been circulating within the system for many many years. And there are many more examples, from micro finance models via swarms of angels, through co-operative studio production, to using the net for viral marketing. Either way, using the Social Networking phenomenon – the wisdom and the power of the crowd – to make, promote and distribute films, is the way of the future. LIke everyone else I’m nobody special I just don’t like being told by a funding body whether I’m worthy of a shot or not. *stands and applauds* Well said, Sir and spot on the money! For an industry our size should we expect more than that? Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As I said above, the outcome almost doesn’t matter. The report stated that psi research deserved Congress’ attention because “general recognition of the degree of INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF MINDS could have far-reaching social and political implications for this nation and the world.”. Still, they were bending over backwards not to say the word “Hollywood” and they even openly denounced the Hero’s Journey. The future of filmmaking business is in your hands. One of those European friends of mine is a movie journalist in Belgium, a country with a relatively healthy exhibition situation and a high release volume, including obscure indies from all over the world. Both of the scripts in question were written in record time, one of them, wait for it… in 3 weeks!(?) Everyone Is Special by Nancy Parent, A. Just because we have a film fund, doesn’t mean you have to use it. The only way to change something as big and staid and narrow-minded as a government department, by whatever new name it goes by today, is to affect the change from without it. Never give in to the powers that be, who think they can tell the creative screenwriter his or her business. Like the other writer here, I’ve submitted scripts that haven’t got funding here ( one of the funds they were picking 5 scripts out of 30 entrants) and the exact same script made a top 10 out of over 1500 entrants in a Hollywood competitions… Most peopleI’ve met here who are “in this industry” have no idea about story… I go to LA often and I always run into australian writers there… the ones who are any good don’t bother with writing australian films… I even have an australian producer jump on board for a project i have in development overseas, first thing she does is give me notes on the script (which has already been polished so many times, I’m confident it needs no work on it) and her note is “Make the character more unlikable at the start”…. I disagree. To write for an audience you have to go beyond your own story and learn a thing or two. I asked him what Australian movies he had seen (and he sees EVERYTHING that’s being released). (LOL). What this country needs is an understanding It seems to me that though good scripts may be written, they are unlikely to make it through the bureaucratic hoops. Earlier this year I was hired by a producer to work with the writer on a second draft of a feature screenplay. As some of the other readers have said: it’s up to us to create change and I know that you are doing exactly that, with your continued integrity, professionalism and hard work. Everybody. Podcasting. Why don’t we have a more influential Indie film industry? Teaching kids about differences in people Table of Contents: 1. Some time later, that same script was picked up in the US, made, and did very well, thank you. See my comment above: investors are so scared, they want to see the government share the risk. But I guess it just depends if the film makers know what they’re doing… and if they’re getting bad advise from people, then that’s just crap. Kind of like those stories the kids write, where they contribute their own ending, except in this case, viewers contribute the missing gaps all along the way. Many great films were duds at the box office. Three weeks later, after a few realisations, the depth of the statement hit me with a sledgehammer. The inhabitants of Wemmicksville spend their days placing stickers on each other. For a long time I was quite impressed with the impartiality of the system, until I understood exactly how these people exercise their power. There may well have been valid stories with strong protagonists (as the client with his second draft above) but once they go into the system of development with government support – as they all do – the TV editors come in. I don’t agree, however, that people are generally watching less movies everywhere – you only need to check box office takings around the world to see that that simply isn’t the case. 1 Lyrics 2 Barney Song Used In... 3 Trivia 4 Gallery In the last line of the chorus, each character uses their own pose, which is unique to them and is worked into the choreography of the song, as in the above picture. I call bullshit. “When structure monopolises the writer’s mind we find the stories ultimately resemble fairy-floss.”. What true Hollywood film would expect the Government to treat them like the disadvantaged ? Point being, whatever the investors’ motivations, options available to us are not mutually exclusive and yet we discuss them as if they were. “Everybody is special. I’ve never been to film school (I applied – they wouldn’t let me in), but I have written and directed many short films, and won several awards with one of them. But for how long? Everyone is special hello, my name is Hana. Storytelling is a lifelong learning process and all scriptwriters should be examining and exploring the (sometimes ancient) rules. :), Thank you for a great comment, worthy of it’s own headline! Be the first to ask a question about Everyone is Special. I for one gave up on this industry long ago when I found every piece I wrote and submitted to every funding body was rejected. The story is now very different and the writer is much happier.). They are only heavily promoted if they have major stars in them (in the case of the former) and remember the later had minimal promotion and a limited run. Guess what we don’t need them! It was passed to me by someone at Australia’s most successful film distribution company. The solution lies with us. The lecturer failed me, saying that was not a method one could ever employ in film. It was shredded to pieces. Never have, because stuff gets made everyday without their help! There are no discussion topics on this book yet. If we’re part of it, we’ll run the risk of dying with it. So where do you go when you feel you can’t trust any of the courses that are out there, or simply can’t afford them? A different version of this story appeared in Cutbank. Dew Drops. The answer: one movie. The comments here alone, confirm that. That said, you should have read Vogler/McKee/Snyder and have watched a few Michael Hauge DVDs before you sign up for any course, and use the course for networking, workshopping, analysis and pitching practice instead. You’ve guessed it: the first draft had been assessed by a TV editor. There are many ways to preserve these special moments so that we can cherish a story that’s our own. The beginning of this song resembles You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi. I’m glad we are in this position if we as an industry have to stay here for the next five years so be it, we deserve it for being so arrogant, there are rules and a structure to writing screenplays, we don’t know them and for that we are now paying the price in having the wider filmmaking world ignore us. Nal'ibali's multilingual audio stories for children. Anyway, who cares about the Oz film industry, let it die it puss ridden death then burn it’s pathetic corpse! So, from that experience, I learned to trust my instincts and my creative urges. On top of that, I have experience as a producer and a film buyer. They’ll have no other choice. An interesting point that comes to mind is United Artists original business model – it was set up in 1919 as a co-operative by its five founding members. I believe that’s where most business will be generated in years to come. It is all well and good to remind people that that his work sells – so does popcorn, bubble gum, fairy floss and opium (for the masses.) I agree wholeheartedly! I find it baffling that I get alumni from those rather expensive schools in my one-day courses who admit they were never properly taught the basics. The next thing you know, the writer is elaborating each and every character until they all have the same level of detail. ;). Rob is special 4. Here I could barely get a meeting with a Project Manager because, “I had no prior ‘on air’ credits”…(?). Most investors in Oz look to historical ‘proof’ for commercial potential, or at the very least, they seek to mitigate the risk, as Karel notes, by spreading it. You can combine indie with box office success as long as you consider audience expectations. So now they’re all heroes. I was only 20 at the time and I had written 15 features and had optioned one… needless to say i walked out and never went back to that uni… the whole situation here is a joke… neone thinking abotu going to film school? Why not simply encourage film production through the tax office as was initially done with 10BA? With digital tools anyone, and I mean ANYONE can go make a film, no excuses anymore. And people are generally watching less movies everywhere too. I was ‘stante pede’ kicked out – despite the fact that the writer and I had been a successful team on other projects – and an American editor was hired, whose credits were exclusively in TV. “People just need to shut up and start making films here.”. I loved how this story made the reader feel that he/she is special, no matter his/her differences. Is it a knee-jerk reaction to the inevitable? The writer and I had a terrific time and this was rewarded with a selection in a federal funding program. Karel, please name some Aussie TV shows/programs you think are good. a group dats makes u feel special It really doesn’t matter what the results are: it’s OK and quite understandable that even a majority of films fail. An article I came across today (although it appeared in the UK Guardian last year) illustrates just one opportunity – This blog is an example of another. Unfortunately the reality is far more complex. Excellent article Karel, will ponder and return with some more thoughts…. The Skit “Everyone is important and Special” is a story of how we are all different and special and yet all the same at the same time. Few think being famous… Webs of likeminded individuals span the globe. Oh brother! I suspect a lot of these people you talk of would fail miserably if pushed to draft up a decent hero’s journey script and they probably know it. But his classmates still tease him about the … The national film school AFTRS has announced an online feature film writing course, of which the presenter was “Script Producer with Neighbours from 2001 to 2007, he oversaw 1,500 episode scripts for the iconic soap, and has also written for Home & Away.” Let me clarify again that this is not a ‘screenwriting course’ but a ‘feature film’ writing course. That same AFTRS publication, Lumina, also contains a brilliant article by Dr. Karen Pearlman, from which an excerpt was published here at the Story Department. Australian films sometimes surprise us: Priscilla, The Truth about Cats and Dogs, etc. I know, I should be solving the technical issues that have been marring this blog rather than sitting here, ranting about the Australian film mess. Everyone Is Special This song is by Barney and appears on the album Barney's Favorites, Vol. Filmmaking is an expensive art form, so the package needs to be attractive to potential investors. Isolation is a huge enemy – a suffocator of creative momentum. The last thing this country needs is yet another wonderfully isolated, ultra dramatic SCENE. A number of speakers were people who are already doing just that, very successfully. Seems the circle has come all the way around. how do we get a whole lot of people to see our work? The Internet has opened it’s doors to so may untapped possibilities and is sitting there, waiting. All we now need is to piece the suggestions into a cohesive, broader context. As far as script-editing and other ‘Hollywood’ expertise goes, we’re in a bootstrap situation: we have too few commercially successful writers/editors/producers to guide the next generation of writers through story development. Even though there are cases when your opinion may be limited, everyone things differently … Once all the numbers from 1 to 9 were feeling proud as they thought that they had value of their own and were special. Get creative! Work out what those expectations are – they change for different genres. I guess it comes down to the fact that we all must just keep on keeping on, as creative writers, doing the right thing, and hoping to hell there is someone with money out there, who cares more about film than the fast buck, and who believes in us enough to take our stories to the people. In addition to memorizing the lyrics to Disney songs with his three boys, he plays the drums in the band Borrisokane and edits at SmokeLong Quarterly. Hybrid Model Survival 101 As the pandemic stretches on, many of us are hyper-aware of the long-term consequences to our educational system if we cannot find ways to get students back into buildings. And how can the funding system create parity between new and named writers on the basis of script merit rather than name alone (remember Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote a novel years after becoming successful and submitted it under a false name only to have it rejected as not being good enough to print and promote. 3. But I’m not going to go out into the cornfield and shoot myself. Thinking back about it now, I had only seen a handful of Australian films as a kid. Why? At the moment ‘genre’ is the buzzword but this has been reactionary. Reliable 24/7 radio streaming. Aint no use. Maybe ‘Milk’ was the last one. Because these are the people who are trying to tell cinema with our 22 million people and 200 year history that we know better, we are special, that our story about the lesbian couple who adopt an aboriginal child is unique, that it’s so unique it’s going to reach the world. Loved his article On Breaking Structure. There is a saying 'beauty is skin deep' , but it seems not many take note of that. I have had my moments when I agreed with you. But throughout the story his friends are there to remind him he's special just the way he is. These essential teachers have put enough educational material out there to make the learning of screenplay writing very accessible, and I’m sure there are Australian writers out there who are very familiar with their work writing excellent screenplays. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Yes, the 3D ‘movement’ is again making theatres appealing. Is it cheaper than film/processing, absolutely. Having then changed the dialogue to American and sent the same screenplays to US script competitions those said scripts would make the finals. They exist for us, not the other way around. Next we see the following quote printed across all the trade publications: “Take film subsidies away […] for five years […]. They know you’re right, they also know the mortgage is due every month and are terrified they’ll lose their job. Unless you really do only want to write for yourself, you have an audience and their expectations to consider. If you’re good at writing government tenders, you’re good at scoring the money. As long as the public is content to allow producers who may or may not be good storytellers, to fill their screens, (and in the case of film, actually pay them to continue in this vein), then we will continue to get low quality, if high budget films. Stop developing scripts, make yourself accessible and pay for the best completed scripts, then cradle that precious egg until it becomes a movie. If you look at the recent examples of people who make the trip overseas and end up making it as directors and writers it’s because their inspiration has usually been popular Hollywood fare. Now what’s the solution? But I think the problem of feature scripts not being fabulous, lies in many of the other regions the replies to your blog have outlined. (LOL), At McKee’s seminar in Sydney last year he said he doesn’t understand why we are so down on our films in Australia because every year the world expects one or two good Australian films to come out, and we deliver one or two good films every year. What their back-story is (as well as their expectations and anticipations) and how it is brought out within the script as well as how it affects their behaviour. Too many points of view, no clear protagonist, the usual issues. I love you just the way you are. As to structure – yes it is important as is the character’s arc (which is why they tend to employ soapie writers to teach it, as both are fore-grounded strongly in the soapie writing.) The industry in Australia is “closed” and littered with conflicting myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about film industry standards and expectations in Australia and overseas. For someone wanting to produce documentaries, I would assume there is even lesser scope to get funding and maybe as suggested by Wayne, we just have to get out there and make what we want. forget it… just go to the writers store and drop a couple of grand on some books and dvd’s and take a year off to write and you’ll know more than most people in the aus “industry”……, Although I’ve never used any of Karel’s services he seems to know what’s really going on in this industry and what the problem is… wish there was more people like him out there…. I don’t have a problem with that, however, what about viewing audiences, distribution etc? That’s over a year of waiting not to mention they actually haven’t started writing or re drafting the damn script yet because they are still waiting on the notes. Well I guess we’re lucky he’s not charging McKee’s rates. We can do television, we do it rather well. Or simply, an interim measure? One highly successful teacher travels around Australia hammering about how “It is the characters, stupid!” Australian writers can create characters. Your days are numbered. People just need to shut up and start making films here. My best friends Chris, Jean-Claude and Pat in my home country of Belgium have been doing exactly this for many years, churning out one successful film after the other. Yeah I agree. I can’t remember the last time i watched a movie made me really feel something. Nor does it produce a unique product. All options must be equally considered and ALL that work, utilised to get the momentum going. Australian film students are so caught up in being unique and different that they never learn the most basic fundamentals of telling a story. And I disagree with Karel when he says that we do television rather well. You can’t make the art if you have no money or a rich benefactor. Mix genres, but make sure you know the ins and outs of the genres and storytelling before you try to resculpt them. Terry's Tips. Thank you Karel for your honesty and insighful post – I must admit while studying at TAFE Film School, I did come to some of these conclusions myself. It reminded me of the anecdote Joseph Campbell told about the radio DJ who didn’t understand the notion of myth. Just ask the Stoneking. Sure the film industry is dying in the aa……… but we have no alternative but to keep beating on the door of producers with quality work, even if it doesn’t meet with their expectations, even if it is not going to break box office. I feel that children could relate to this story because of wanting to change themselves for being "different". So glad I decided to start reading at this topic. Create a bit of a mind-map…. But guess what we’ll make crap like that again and again. Welcome back. Why wait for someone who gets a yearly wage to tell you what’s wrong with your script, either way he/she is getting paid so chances are they don’t care what advice they dish out. And like they say in all those screenwriting seminars; if the story is good enough and if you have a good producer then investors can be found. It’s all about the scripts. Seriously? Didn’t get made, but still. Advertising. Google, read blogs, take your own scripts to people who’s opinions you trust, read the popular books on screenwriting – if you don’t know what they are, google for them! Hopefully some of you have kids or grandkids who need not only entertaining, but educating. It has nothing, nothing at all, to do with market potential. But this story portrays that our differences are what make us unique! Writers need to shape their own careers, decide who they trust and understand the reasons why they’re trustworthy. “The funding bodies are a dead hand with a bleak house style and a nepotistic rewards structure. Thank you Pamela, I’m grateful you can back up my statements from your own experience. That was my film school. $12,000 later the script was offered for reading to a big local production company. What you’d get is a cinema you can’t even dream of, because people would be forced to be that inventive.”. In one, a support actor was an Oscar nominee. Through My Window Sill. Everyone is special because everyone has an unique mindset. And all I did was pay the requisite 30 bucks at Borders and got my structure out of a damn book. We try to clone American movies as they have a ready market or we in our vanity search for a piece of art or even worse, a single representational image which doesn’t take into account the true complexity and nature of modern Australia (with more women than men and a very high multi-cultural base and a lot of first generation Australian’s which are neither traditionally Australian nor fully part of their parent community either.)