It was wonderful to see so many Screenworks members at Screen Connections and Directions on May 30 and from the feedback we received, it seems it was valued and enjoyed by all who attended. We are excited to see interesting opportunities and developments happening for some of our members and look forward to seeing the long term results.

The guest speakers were very generous with their sharing of information and it was encouraging to see their interest in the ideas and concepts that were presented to them from Screenworks members and the content creators in our region. Congratulations to all the Screenworks members who have received positive feedback and follow up opportunities from Goalpost Pictures, Matchbox Pictures and WildBear Entertainment.

For those of you who weren’t able to get along, or for those of you who did and would like a refresher on what was covered, following is an overview and soon we will have archival footage taken at the event available for viewing.

Julie Eckersley Matchbox Pictures

Multiplatform Production

Julie presented on how to use multiple platforms to add value to a production. She used 3 examples of television productions that she had worked on; The Slap, The Straits and Nowhere Boys and explained the importance of using other platforms to attract an audience, create a conversation or develop a story element around a television program.

Multiple platform means engaging your audience on more than 1 platform. It adds value to your production and gives the opportunity to go deeper into the story.

In determining multi-platform suitablility you need to consider:

Who is your audience?
What will they respond to about the project?
What online and social platforms are they currently on?
What value would you add?
The Slap – TV drama screened on ABC 1

In assessing the potential and audience for this program Matchbox Pictures determined that it was a show that was going to create a conversation – the book had already started that.

Matchbox Pictures created and curated content in their social media campaign posting 19 YouTube clips, images from each episode, quotes from the characters and the book. They used the ABC Blog, set up live tweeting using key cast, directors and fans. Sent out Facebook reminders, value adds and questions. They set up live chatting on Facebook with directors Robert Connolly and Tony Ayres.

Facebook posts reached nearly 200,000 (this was before boosted posts and advertising was available). They had access to around 2 million through friends and friends connections. #theslap trended at no. 1 during transmission period.

Twitter had nearly 2,000 followers and engagement with key influencers including Mia Feedman, Pete Hellar and Wil Anderson.

The Straits – TV drama screened on ABC 1

Matchbox Pictures wanted to build audience numbers and reach an audience that would not normally go to the ABC. When they started their Facebook campaign they had approximately 4,000 likes, From day one this began to grow by approximately 200 people a day, reaching nearly 17,000 direct likes and a social network of over 3.5 million.

The campaign successfully attracted the younger demographic with the under 24s moving from 17% of total likes to 40%.

Nowhere Boys – Children’s TV drama screened on ABC 3

With a key audience of males aged 8 – 12, this project felt like a feat fit for an online game. Matchbox Pictures set out to extend the story world through an interactive online game, to increase audience engagement and enrich the story world.

Matchbox Pictures developed an online game as a unique immersive experience. Players entered through the broaqdcasters online site to discover a 5th character who was lost in a strange world like the Nowhere Boys and had to find their way home. The TV series can stand alone without the site, but the games is designed to greatly enhance a viewer/participants engagement in the series.

Matchbox Pictures developed a vision for the Nowhere Boys multiplatform strategy, engaged the broadcaster in the vision, secured extra finance alongside the production budget and sourced a production partner.

The 6 part game unlocked at key points in the broadcast schedule, the players are integral in helping the 5th Nowhere Boy character get home.

Matchbox Pictures had created an additional asset with a unique story that crossed over with the TV series.

The Nowhere Boys game was the top game on ABC3 for 5 months.

In Summary

Multiplatform offers increased and endless opportunities for a TV production
The key is to match the project content, platform and approach
The story is king
For more details on Julie’s presentation, a video of her session will be available soon.

Veronica Fury WildBear Productions

As a documentary producer, Veronica Fury presented on what she sees as the key success factors of documentary production and how she has set up a signficant and successful documentary production company.

For many years Veronica was working as an independent documentary producer, creating up to 3 documentaries a year. She was finding it hard to grow her business, but following discussions with Screen Australia she explored new strategies and sourced business partners to compliment and grow her business. As a result Veronica has partnered with Tina Dalton’s Absolutely Wild Productions and then Michael Tear’s Bear Cage productions to create WildBear Entertainment. Her documentary production output has grown 100 fold, with Wild Bear Entertainment now having an extensive footage library and production expertise in wild life, history and human interest.

Veronica explained how she got started and gave advice from her successes and experience; she studied pathways for success, looked at what the successful documentary producers were making, met with successful documentary producers. She joined up the mailing lists for all the relevant organisations including Screen Queensland, Screen NSW, Screen Australia. She went to industry events and took advantage of the round table sessions, one on ones, pitch dating sessions etc.

Veronica established the success factors for getting a documentary into production and gave the following advice:

A documentary has to be more than just a good idea, it needs to have an audience.
Is your concept a documentary or a current affairs or news story?
Is there a context, with something at stake.
Is it a visual story?
Veronica studies and knows all the documentary slots that national and international broadcasters have and creates content to fill their schedules. She knows what the broadcasters are looking for.

To find out what opportunities exist in the national market Veronica recommends that you study the TV guide – how many Australia documentary slots do you see that would be appropriate for your production idea? She also suggested that you should attend as many industry conferences as possible.

In her presentation, Veronica took us through an example of how she executive produced for an emerging producer through the Opening Shot program run through the ABC. Veronica explained how the program got up, how it was financed and what was involved in producing Cracked Up.

For more details on Veronica’s presentation, a video of her session will be available soon.

Lauren Edwards Goalpost Pictures

Lauren explained how Goalpost pictures develops a concept for film and television. They are constantly looking for good material that fits a broadcast need or a strong idea for a feature.

Lauren explained the key points that Goalpost Pictures considers when looking at concepts:

The idea must appeal on an instinctual and emotional level.
Need to care about the characters and what happens to them
Maintain a distinct vision
Lauren also point out how it is important to identify audience early – who is the film for, be specific about age groups and genders and to look for thematic or tonal comparisions but dont rely on them.

Lauren then explained how she became involved as an associate producer for the Sapphires and the funding model for the film.

For more details on Lauren’s presentation, a video of her session will be available soon.

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