Supported by Screenrights Cultural Fund

Screenworks’ Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy is an exciting three-stage program designed to train undiscovered, diverse and talented writers living in regional, rural and remote Australia with specific skills, and then place the final selected participant or project team with Hoodlum Entertainment for a month to develop a new romantic comedy project.

Through this initiative, Hoodlum is seeking original rom com concepts from regional Australians for development and production. The team at Hoodlum are a romantic bunch who love a good laugh and a great cry. They also LOVE stories that have something to say, especially from a perspective that we may not get to see on screens.

Combine all that with a Friday night, paired up with your significant other, or besties and maybe a glass of wine with dinner, and what you have is a rom-com that is sure to make you happy-cry, blush and sigh with glee.

And that’s what we’re looking for! Romantic stories for features and television series that have underrepresented leads and/or come at story from a unique perspective and that have something to say.

Films we love include Love, Simon, The Half of It and The Lovebirds as well as Crazy Rich Asians and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We want your love letter to the rom-com genre – send us a treatment (and script sample, if you have one), and tell us about the story you will create and why you want to tell this story.  What is it that sets your rom-com apart and why should it be made now?

What you need to apply:

Essential Criteria 

  • Applicants must be over 18 years of age
  • Applicants must be a current Screenworks member (Regional Professional or Regional Associate Members) – click here to become a member
  • Be an Australian citizen or resident living in Regional Australia for a minimum of the past 6 months (please refer to the definition of Regional Australia on this page)

Submission materials

You will need to have ready:

  • A detailed treatment (up to 10 pages including format, logline, synopsis and character information)
  • Statement (250 words) about the story you want to tell and why.
  • Script sample of up to 5 pages (optional)

The Process:

First up: Submit your application to get selected for the program. You can apply as an individual or as a team. If applying as a team, we recommend submitting an application for each person so that we get to know each person in the team. (You can preview the application form before applying here).

Selected participants will then have the opportunity to go through the following stages:

Stage 1: A one-day online workshop on writing romantic comedy.  This workshop will be delivered via Zoom by Alexa Wyatt on Thursday 16 December 2021. Based on the quality and relevance of their applications, up to 20 participants will be selected to attend the online workshop. At the conclusion of Stage 1, based on the quality of their work, up to 10 participants will then be selected for Stage 2.

Stage 2: A series of one-on-one development consultations with Hoodlum Entertainment executives. At the conclusion of Stage 2, based on the relevance and quality of their work, at least one person or team will then be selected to continue working with Hoodlum for up to a month to either develop their rom com project further or work on another project. The selected person will be paid a storyliner Award Wage Rate plus travel and accommodation costs.

Assessment Process:

The applications will be assessed initially by Screenworks to ensure all applicants meet the basic selection criteria, including:

  • Proof of residence in regional Australia
  • Confirmation of Screenworks membership
  • Fully completed application with all supporting documentation submitted

Then a team at Hoodlum will assess the eligible applications and will be looking for:

  • A strong and original romantic comedy concept that:
    • Demonstrates talent and potential
    • Can sustain a feature-length duration or ongoing series
    • Appeal to a global rom com audience
    • Is funny and told from a unique point of view

Application Deadline

Applications close at 5pm AEDT (NSW time) on Friday 5 November 2021.

Late applications will not be accepted.

Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy is presented by Screenworks in partnership with Hoodlum Entertainment and supported by the Screenrights Cultural Fund.

Hoodlum is an Emmy® and BAFTA Award-winning production company founded in 1999 by Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield and operating between Australia, the US and the UK. The company’s global slate runs across scripted and unscripted television and feature film with productions currently in development with partners including ABC Signature, Fox, Peacock, Netflix, Stan, CBS International and A&E amongst others.

Hoodlum’s latest production, the second season of FIVE BEDROOMS, starring Kat Stewart, Stephen Peacock, Doris Younane, Katie Robertson, Roy Joseph, Kate Jenkinson and Hugh Sheridan will premiere on Paramount Plus in Australia and Peacock in the US from mid 2021.

Hoodlum also recently completed the third season of HARROW, with ABC Australia and ABC Studios starring Ioan Gruffudd. Currently, Hoodlum is in production on two feature films for global SVODs; facilitating the second series of ABC Signature / Amazon series THE WILDS and in post-production on the ABC cutting edge series ALL MY FRIENDS ARE RACIST. Hoodlum is working with ABC Australia and Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment to develop SHAKESPEARE NOW, reinterpreting the work of Shakespeare using all-female writers and directors. Also announced is the feature film NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS based on the award-winning book from Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani who chronicled his harrowing experiences in the tome No Friend But The Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.

In 2018, Hoodlum produced TIDELANDS, the first original drama series for Netflix in Australia which launched globally in December 2018. In 2014, Hoodlum produced the thriller SECRETS & LIES, starring Martin Henderson, as the flagship TV drama for Network Ten Australia. SECRETS & LIES was then remade in the US for ABC starring Juliette Lewis and Ryan Phillippe. Season 2 aired on ABC in 2016. Hoodlum then set up their LA office going on to produce a remake of THE STRANGE CALLS with NBC and 20th Century Fox.

By submitting an application to the Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy initiative, applicants will be bound to the following terms and conditions:

1.  I understand that I need to have been living in regional Australia for more than the past 6 months, and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

2. I understand that I must be a current Screenworks member to apply to this program.

3. If selected for Screenworks Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy I understand and agree to be interviewed, photographed or recorded during any part of the program. Any such recording, photograph or interview may be used across any media format for promotional and/or reporting purposes.

4. I agree that, if successful with this application, I will be available (or will make myself available) to take part in Screenworks  Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy workshop and consultations.

5. I understand that applying to the Screenworks Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy does not guarantee that I will be accepted into the program.

6. I acknowledge that Northern Rivers Screenworks Inc. has the right to withdraw any offer to participate in Screenworks Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy program if it is discovered that any statement made by me in this application is incorrect, incomplete or misleading, in a way that may have affected the application assessment process.

Please note: Screenworks Discovering New Voices – Romantic Comedy assessment committee, including Screenworks and Hoodlum Entertainment staff, will assess all eligible applications against a set of guidelines and assessment criteria. The Assessment Committee is under no obligation to read all content provided.

Screenworks and the Assessment Committee will not redress errors in applications. If an application is deemed ineligible, it will not be assessed. Screenworks will make the ultimate decision regarding the successful applicants. This decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.