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Old 03-08-2012, 01:54 AM   #1
Mac H.
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Default Screen Australia

There is discussion in another thread about how film funders in some area (eg: USA) rely on the idea of making a 'profit' from the film, but others (such as national funding bodies) have very different criteria.

The new draft guidelines for Screen Australia funding came out today - so I thought I'd see what their requirements for investing in a project are.

Quote:
Screen Australia will take the following criteria into account when considering projects for production investment or completion funding:

• Script:
The readiness of the script to move into production in relation to:
(i) the quality of the writing and cinematic storytelling;
(ii) the strength and distinctiveness of the idea within its own genre;
(iii) the reader’s emotional engagement with the story and characters.

• Creative team:
The producer and director according to:
(i) evidence of skills, relevant experience and achievements which demonstrate either an established successful track record or exciting new talent; and
(ii) their demonstrated creative, technical and managerial capacity to deliver the project.

• Project:
The project’s potential in relation to:
(i) the team’s demonstrated understanding of the film’s intended audience;
(ii) the director’s vision for the film
(iii) the quality of any cast attached or proposed;
(iv) the quality of any proposed heads of department;
(v) the potential for the film to be selected for an A-list festival;
(vi) the potential for the film to appeal to a significant audience in Australia.

• Viability:
The likelihood that the project can be realised with reference to
(i) its budget size relative to its intentions
(ii) its budget size relative to its potential audience
(iii) the strength and quality of the deals proposed in the finance plan
(iv) the proposed recoupment position for equity investors.

• Market strength:
The project’s potential to reach its Australian audience and sell internationally according to:
(i) the strength of the domestic distributor's strategy for the film
(ii) the track record of the distributor and its suitability to the project
(iii) the international distribution strategy and sales estimates
(iv) the track record of the sales agent and its suitability to the project.
It's particularly interesting what is not in this list of considerations.

Not one of those requirements relate to Australian content - in neither filming in Australia with Australians nor setting it in Australia.

Taken literally it means that someone could submit a project to be filmed entirely in the US with US actors ... and Screen Australia would not be able to take the lack of any Australian link (apart from the Aussie producer) as a reason against it!

Is that interpretation correct? I understand that QAPE (basically amount of budget spent locally) would apply when calculating the producer offset (the 40% budget rebate) .. but there seems to be no reason from this list of considerations why an entirely foreign project with an Australian producer could be denied development funding from Screen Australia!

Is that a reaction to Screen Australia missing out on holding an Oscar for 'The Kings Speech' - despite it having Aussie producers and actors in it?

Note: I may (or am probably) entirely wrong here - but that's from my quick reading.

Mac
(PS: One thing that is very good news for us Screenwriters is how little they care about who the writer of the script is. That's because for this round of funding the script has already been written - and so they are judging by the quality of the script rather than the resume of the writer. That means that you can be a total nobody and they don't care - whereas the producer, director and sales agent need a long resume of successes.)


Full details here: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/ab...t_06032012.pdf)
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:12 AM   #2
nic.h
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Default Re: Screen Australia

I'm sure in the eligibility section, it will stipulate that the creative talent will need to be Australian. After that, I have no idea, but the key creatives will need to be at least predominantly Australian. (Two of three, I'd guess.)
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:02 AM   #3
Mac H.
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Default Re: Screen Australia

For coproduction they have a points systems .. you need to have a certain number of points, but you can allocate the points from what you regard as the 'key' creatives (as long as you can justify it).

So if is a musical you can count the score composer as a 'key creative' and if it is a 'John Carter of Mars' type project you can argue that FX supervisor and art director are 'key'.

Mac
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:06 AM   #4
one seven spectrum
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac H. View Post
There is discussion in another thread about how film funders in some area (eg: USA) rely on the idea of making a 'profit' from the film, but others (such as national funding bodies) have very different criteria.

The new draft guidelines for Screen Australia funding came out today - so I thought I'd see what their requirements for investing in a project are.


It's particularly interesting what is not in this list of considerations.

Not one of those requirements relate to Australian content - in neither filming in Australia with Australians nor setting it in Australia.

Taken literally it means that someone could submit a project to be filmed entirely in the US with US actors ... and Screen Australia would not be able to take the lack of any Australian link (apart from the Aussie producer) as a reason against it!

Is that interpretation correct? I understand that QAPE (basically amount of budget spent locally) would apply when calculating the producer offset (the 40% budget rebate) .. but there seems to be no reason from this list of considerations why an entirely foreign project with an Australian producer could be denied development funding from Screen Australia!

Is that a reaction to Screen Australia missing out on holding an Oscar for 'The Kings Speech' - despite it having Aussie producers and actors in it?

Note: I may (or am probably) entirely wrong here - but that's from my quick reading.

Mac
(PS: One thing that is very good news for us Screenwriters is how little they care about who the writer of the script is. That's because for this round of funding the script has already been written - and so they are judging by the quality of the script rather than the resume of the writer. That means that you can be a total nobody and they don't care - whereas the producer, director and sales agent need a long resume of successes.)


Full details here: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/ab...t_06032012.pdf)
"Screen Australia will take the following criteria into account when considering projects for production investment or completion funding:"

Nothing from that sentence says anything about development.

Plus, they might not care who you are as an unknown writer, but you'd be going into the pile with a bunch of writers whose previous works have been produced, or lord help me, have found success.

You should contact them directly with your query as they should be able to help you
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:33 AM   #5
Mac H.
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by one seven spectrum View Post
Nothing from that sentence says anything about development.
Oh - absolutely. I know it well - I was turned down for their talent escalator programme - despite the fact that I met their stated requirements.

But even for Feature Development funding - if the producer meets the 'experienced producer' criteria then they no longer care about the resume of the writer. (They only care if you don't have a producer)

That seems pretty reasonable.

Mac
(Ref: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/do...FeatureDev.doc)
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:36 AM   #6
one seven spectrum
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Default Re: Screen Australia

I agree.

Though keep in mind that even if you meet all the requirements of a scheme, you're still competing with other people based on your concept etc.
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:55 PM   #7
Rhodi
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Divorced from the context of the whole document you might make that interpretation, but I think these paragraphs are pretty critical:

Quote:
Australian screen stories are important to Australians, and Australia has a strong history of successful storytelling for the big screen. However, producing films for cinema release is a risky and highly competitive business in a market dominated by US studio films.

Screen Australia’s vision is for an environment where audiences demand more Australian content, where Australian screen content contributes positively to the cultural fabric of Australian society, and where a commercially sustainable and creative screen production industry can flourish.

In this context, Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program aims to assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.
To apply on the basis of a perceived technicality is a fool's errand and kinda unprofessional in my opinion.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:57 PM   #8
Mac H.
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Oh - I wasn't going to argue on technicalities .. but I was wondering if this indicates a shift.

That's because of two reasons:
  • There was a lot of discussion about need for clarification after Screen Australia changed their mind about whether the film 'Knowing' was Australian content (for the sake of the Offset calculation, admittedly). It was an American studio project conceived and written in the USA, set in the USA and featuring US stars.
  • In contrast - there was also a lot of criticism over Screen Australia not being able to fund 'The Kings Speech' .. despite it being about an Australian's role in world affairs, with Australian producers and starring Australian actors. (Even with an Australian actor playing the role of British royalty!)

Combining the two seems to indicate that there has been a bit of debate about whether this needs to be clarified - if the requirements actually are about acting 'positively to the cultural fabric of Australian society' - then it seems that a film like 'The Kings Speech' (about an Aussie's role overseas) should be a shoe-in compared to 'Knowing'.

I know - I'm comparing Apples and Oranges here. I'm very willing to admit that I really don't know .. I'm just musing and thinking 'out loud' here.

This sharing is just part of my quest to ask some people who are likely to know a bit more than me and see what their opinions are. (Especially since some people here used to work for funding bodies...)

Mac
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
one seven spectrum
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Think of it like this.

KNOWING was shot in Australia, so regardless of where it came from, it was helmed by an Aussie and shot with the hiring of local industry crew.

THE KINGS SPEECH wasn't shot here. If it was, it would have received the dough, even though you'd think it should have anyway as it was produced by Aussies and even starred our Aussie of the year.

At the end of the day, Screen Australia is providing financial assistance with Australian taxpayer's money.

If they sent it offshore, they would come under fire from lots of groups here and would probably be disbanded.
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Screen Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by one seven spectrum View Post
If they sent it offshore, they would come under fire from lots of groups here and would probably be disbanded.
100% agree.

However the script could come from overseas. The caveats being that (a) I'm sure Screen Australia would prefer to encourage 'home ground' writing talent, and (b) how does someone outside Oz contact someone within Oz who:

(1) is prepared to read your script, loves it and
(2) has the ability and contacts to put a package together to submit to Screen Australia for possible funding.

If you're serious about this: talk to Screen Australia directly, see if they will give you some producer contacts. Get IMDB Pro, look at every project produced by Screen Australia - find out the power players contact details.

Obviously ensure your script is damn good and prod ready. If it's set in the USA, I would switch it to Oz. Ensure you read plenty of good Oz scripts and that your script reflects Oz speech, not US speech.

I have seen a lot of Oz movies - most are very good indeed.

That's my 10 cents worth.
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