Screen Forever: An Emerging Producer’s Experience

The story of how I received a free pass to Screen Forever

In October, I was contacted by Film Victoria who asked a few questions about my background in producing videos and content as well as my future aspirations. It was a surprise to me but a staff member at Deakin had mentioned my name to Film Victoria as an alumni who was an industry producer – the most amazing of all though was that it was a student who had put my name forward to this staff member. Nevertheless, it was from this exchange that I was asked if I was interested in attending Screen Forever – a conference for screen industry professionals attended by The Who’s Who in Australian screen business. Of course I said “yes”!

A little over a week later, I received an email from Film Victoria to confirm that 20 emerging producers/writers (including myself) were the fortunate recipients of free passes to the event. *jaw drops* Truly this was a great honour – not only to receive a free pass to Screen Forever but also being recognised as an emerging producer by my state’s body for film and television. From here, we all met briefly at Film Victoria one afternoon to introduce ourselves as some friendly faces to look out for and to discuss how to make the most from the conference. There was a hint of nervousness in the room or maybe that was just me. Thanks to Jana, Cathy and Marcus for putting this together – this helped to establish friendships and foster support before we attended the great unknown.

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Emerging Producers and Writers at Film Victoria. Photography by Cathy Rodda, October 2017

 

Screen Forever 2017 Recap

The 3-day conference felt like a sensory and information overload (in the good way of course). There was plenty to take in from listening to incredible speakers to networking with people in the industry to checking out the latest in VR tech – so much to hear, see and do. Everyone who I was able to listen to on stage or meet in the foyer (and the Tonic Bar) were open, honest and willing to give me the time of day for industry discussions. Although, this should not be a surprise for an industry that is built on collaboration, support and understanding.

Like many conferences, it officially started with opening remarks from the organisers (except for those who attended the morning session by The Mischief Sisters about pitching). “It’s a time of opportunity and threat.” This was used to describe the evolving climate of Australia’s film and television as new platforms via the internet grow. Media is now being consumed in different ways: program scheduling is being diminished by binge watching, the TV screen at home is being replace by the screens of smart devices on the go, and the time format of 22 or 47 minute shows (dictated by commercial television) has been taken over by 10 by 10s and unconventional running times.

The Q&A that followed with Peter Khalil MPPallavi Sharda, Rose Troche, Fiona Eagger, Georgina Downer, Bob Campbell and hosted by Virginia Trioli was eventful. Topics covered by the panel included diversity, VR, content quotas and the infamous Weinstein controversy.

The way to survive in today’s environment is to produce unique content that can’t be found elsewhere.
Bob Campbell at Screen Forever

There were cheers and laughs, mostly supplied by the truth bombs from Rose Troche, as well as boos directed solely towards Liberal MP Georgina Downer from the crowd as discussions got heated.

More to come…

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