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Opportunity to be mentored by Screen’s best

Gina Fairley

A national Talent Camp targets diverse budding NSW creatives who want a career in screen, so practice your elevator pitch to be in the running.
Opportunity to be mentored by Screen’s best

Recent research alerted the screen sector to a fact it had long suspected. ‘The average employee in the screen sector is under 30, white, male and living in Bondi – and this hasn’t changed for decades,’ said Grainne Brunsdon, of the 2016 PWC Media Outlook data.

Brunsdon is Create NSW Director, Engagement, Partnerships & Development, and has been at the coalface of a new initiative being rolled out by the government funding body in partnership with the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS) and Screen Australia which seeks to change that imbalance.

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She said: ‘Obviously this picture does not reflect the communities we see on our streets. The lack of diversity in screen media is dragging down growth – simply it’s bad for business and it’s turning off audiences who do not see themselves reflected. It’s time for new voices and fresh content.’

Create NSW is calling on emerging content creators and storytellers from diverse backgrounds across the state to apply for up to 15 places at the NSW State TALENT CAMP.

Seeking original storytellers

The program stems from an interest in seeing stories that originate from somewhere other than the inner city, said Brunsdon.

‘We are not just talking about cultural and language diversity, but also diversity of experience,’ she said. ‘If you want to reflect audiences better, then the people making the programs need to better reflect those communities.’

Christina Alvarez, Engagement Manager at AFTRS added: ‘Screen Australia’s recent research into diversity reflects that we currently see only a small portion of Australian stories on our screens – with stories from women and diverse communities significantly under-represented.

‘This won’t change until a broader cross section of Australian society is active both behind and in front of the camera.’

She continued: ‘AFTRS is delighted to be playing a central role in TALENT CAMP, a screen sector-wide collaboration with partners Screen Australia and the state screen agencies, as we all share a commitment to provide skills development for emerging screen talent from diverse backgrounds.’

Brunsdon added: ‘The screen sector is very dynamic; it has changed utterly in the last decade and we anticipate that it will utterly change again in the next 10 years.

‘Today it’s all about games, on demand, projects that are internationally financed, projects that are crowd-sourced – there are so many different ways of getting an idea to an audience today. TALENT CAMP is about developing practices and skills that are flexible so that the industry is able to move with changing times,’ she said.

Michael Brealey, Create NSW CEO said: ‘From theatre to podcasting, photography to YouTube content creation, contemporary storytelling can capture an audience’s attention through a range of means. But it’s essential that our Australian industry is one that is as inclusive as possible, and offers opportunities and career pathways for people from all backgrounds.’

Featuring industry experts, the week-long TALENT CAMP will focus on story development, screen producing and career pathways, and will be held in Sydney between 18 – 22 September 2017.

Applications for NSW TALENT CAMP are now open.

Mentored by the best

The TALENT CAMP workshops have been designed to include two days focused on story development, two days on producing considerations, and one day on career pathways into the screen industry. At all points the group is lead by renowned producers in the sector:  Kath Shelper, known for her success with Black Comedy, Samson & Delilah and Ruben Guthrie, and story developer Brita McVeigh.

It is a golden opportunity for any keen creative content producer.

Alvarez said: ‘TALENT CAMP is about providing opportunities for future storytellers and creative practitioners to provide new perspectives and tell new screen stories. We know that these stories find strong audiences and are good for business both locally and internationally.’

She continued: ‘As the landscape for emerging talent is different in each state, it’s fantastic to be working with the state screen agencies to create the most appropriate program. A primary objective is to also work with local community cultural organisations to get the word out about the program, as many aspiring creatives start their journey with these organisations.’ 

‘Our aim is to create new opportunities and strengthen the pathways for emerging creatives in the screen industry.’

Applications for NSW Talent Camp are now open.

Do you fit the criteria?

You are encouraged to apply to TALENT CAMP if you:

  • Are passionate about storytelling and have something to say.
  • Have produced creative works. This can be any type of creative work including screen, theatre, spoken word, podcasting, photography, YouTube, etc.
  • Are interested in exploring a career in screen media.
  • Can clearly articulate how you will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive screen industry with reference to your cultural background, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic disadvantage and/or socio-economic status.
  • Can commit to attending all five days of the workshop as scheduled – for NSW candidates this is 18 – 22 September 2017.
  • Are 18 years plus.

Applicants from under-represented communities in the screen industry are encouraged to apply with specific reference to cultural background, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic disadvantage and socio-economic status. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives are strongly encouraged to apply.

Brunsdon said: ‘Professional development is hugely important to us and we want to turn out screen practitioners who are adaptable. We are not just interested in people who have gone to film school or are traditionally trained, that is not important here. We are interested in opening up, and altering the pathways into the industry. They are not always linear and it is vital to be flexible today.’

Create NSW has made funds available to contribute to flight and accommodation costs for participants from rural or regional locations, and other access costs will be met where required.

How to apply

Brunsdon and Alvarez said they are looking for people who want to make the most of this opportunity; people who want to try to make a career in this business.

‘We are also looking for team workers; this is a very collaborative industry – you can’t make a TV show by yourself,’ said Brunsdon.

Applicants must be able to attend the full five-day program. Workshop dates: Monday 18 – Friday 22 September, 9.30am – 5pm

A selection panel of three (an established filmmaker from a diverse background and a representative from both the state screen agency and AFTRS) will assess applications based on the following criteria:

  • The applicant generates excitement about their creative potential; and
  • The submitted story idea/s have the potential to generate fresh on-screen experiences for audiences.

Applicants have to present a pitch either via a short video or a document.

‘It is about being accessible and not put off by a lengthy application form. We are looking at whether people can summarise an idea – the stereotypical “elevator pitch”. And offering that via screen is recognising that people today are into selfies and social media and are more relaxed to have the camera turned on themselves,’ said Brunsdon.

‘What we ultimately want is a level playing field,’ she concluded.

The NSW deadline for applications is 9am Monday 17 July 2017.

For more information visit AFTRS

Got a question?  If you are a NSW applicant contact Create NSW via email: amelia.carew-reid@create.nsw.gov.au  

For other states, contact the TALENT CAMP office at talentcamp@aftrs.edu.au or 1300 065 281.

About the author

Gina Fairley covers the Visual Arts nationally for ArtsHub. Based in Sydney you can follow her on Twitter @ginafairley and Instagram at fairleygina.

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