This month, in our commitment to help you get to know Screenworks Board Members a bit better, we talk to Screenworks Chairperson, Deb McBride.  Deb brings a wealth of screen industry experience and connections to the organisation.  From her role as a publicist with Ronin Films in the 90’s to Conference Director for the Screen Producers Australia in the last decade, Deb has worked with an extensive range of industry professionals and Screenworks really values the extensive knowledge of the Australian screen industry that she brings.

SW: How long have you been a Screenworks board member?

DM: I sat on the board for a short while in 2004 but this time around I think I have been on the board since 2013. We tend to love our work and don’t know when to leave !

SW: Why did you join Screenworks board?

DM: I have been involved with Screenworks on and off since late 2001. I feel the organisation brings a much needed focal point as a representative body for the regional screen industry . Our Australian industry is small and competitive when it comes to financing, so maintaining regional voices as an important part of our culture as well as having a strong advocate representing our regional talent is always going to benefit regional filmmakers when it comes to developing projects.

SW: What Screenworks initiative have you been most proud of supporting/driving and why?

DM: Oh wow, how long is a piece of string? On a business level I feel that developing a relationship with a corporate company such as Feros Care to support a project creating short films is a defining moment in terms of where the industry is at and of the future direction of financing.  Also one of my personal favourites is the annual seminar ‘The Business of Producing’ as I love seeing people in the early stages of their career being supported to better understand the machinations of the industry and being offered the opportunity to meet great people who will go on to become part of their colleague network – these sorts of opportunities can become the foundation for entire careers.

SW: Tell us a bit about what you do in the Screen Industry and how you got involved.

DM:I first got involved with the industry as a publicist with the independent distributors, Premium and Ronin Films at the Academy Twin Cinema in Paddington in the 90’s. I currently run a Media, PR and Communications business – McBride Communications out of Lismore. Basically, after a 28 year career, I have an enormous contact list that makes this possible !!

SW: What have you most enjoyed working on, and why?

DM: I have enjoyed all my jobs and contracts over the years, but I guess if I had to choose, it would be my job as Director, SPA Conference. SPA Conference is a large and diverse event that requires a lot of creativity and collaboration to pull together. On one hand, you get to dream about who you would like to be a Keynote Speaker …any producer from any country! Then you spend your days liaising and meeting with all the key industry players about current topics and issues relevant to Australian screen producers. These meetings form the backbone that will support the conference theme to be delivered. My most favourite part however was collaboratively coming up with all the markets and side events that were specifically designed to support Australian producers with their projects and careers. Of course there was also the fun social aspect of the conference…I have traipsed many a venue to ensure that the perfect networking backdrop is found!

SW: What is important to you in running a successful and creative regional business/ working regionally?

DM: First of all I make my business about people which is key for me in terms of how I work, ie people first. I represent people from all over, regional and city, so staying in touch with the industry on a wider level than just local is important. My job is quite diverse in terms of what I am contracted to do – online communications, social media, marketing strategies, personal support etc. And often those lines of communication are reaching international audiences, so I like to have an overall view of what is going on and not only in terms of audience and financing. I have to say that I have always loved the good old face to face meetings though as they reveal so much more.. so I travel a bit as well.

SW: Tell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently?

DM: I have recently created a website for the documentary, The Scribe. I am currently working on another website for a distribution company and I am organising a couple of workshops for creatives living locally about the creative process and how to work in a way that supports us to access the never ending inspirations available without exhausting ourselves.

SW: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about you and your work?

DM: I find that at this stage of my career I am still doing a lot of volunteer work and I wanted to say how satisfying that is.   I no longer work on short films for free… but I contribute a weekly Arts segment on ABC radio and I sit on the board of Screenworks and I help out with marketing for a local charity. My paid work representing a number of amazing people who work either in the industry or alongside it, is equally as satisfying, but the fact that in our industry, we have many opportunities to contribute via both paths in a meaningful way is something that I really value.


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