20 March, 2023
Screen Australia and the Australian Writers’ Guild have today announced the six participants selected for The Creators, a dynamic career acceleration program for high-calibre Australian screenwriters to hone their skills and further develop a slate of premium Australian television.
Established to support the creative and professional growth of Australian writers in an increasingly global screen market, The Creators will see the group travel to Los Angeles in May 2023 to attend Content LA and to participate in tailored project and pitching development and networking opportunities to sell their stories in domestic and international markets.
The six participants in The Creators program are:
The cohort of experienced writers and creators will receive high-level training from international industry leader Jeff Melvoin (Killing Eve, Northern Exposure, Remington Steele), founder and Chair of the highly-competitive Writers Guild of America’s Showrunner Training Program, and pitching training from writer, director and executive producer Jeff Greenstein (Will and Grace, Friends, Desperate Housewives).
Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said, ‘These writers are at the top of their game and we’re pleased to support them in the creation of their own projects with the opportunity to hone their craft, learn from the US industry and bring their skills back to Australia. We know Australian stories travel well and this program will make sure these creatives are best placed to take their distinct homegrown projects to audiences here and around the world.’
AWG President Shane Brennan said, ‘The Australian Writers’ Guild is delighted to support these six outstanding writers in the next stage of their careers – developing their industry expertise and networks to create a slate of premium Australian stories for local and global audiences. We see this as a game-changer in the Australian industry, and with local content quotas on streamers coming soon, this program will ensure Australia has talented creators and showrunners ready to meet demand.’
Sam Meikle, co-showrunner on Wakefield and co-creator of MaveriX, said, ‘The Creators is next-level training for the next frontier in Australian television storytelling – showrunning. We’re just beginning to truly embrace the model here and I'm thrilled to have the chance to learn, expand my skills, and bring that knowledge home to share with other writers and creators. This program is opening the door to a massive leap forward for all of us.’
Suzie Miller, whose Olivier-nominated play Prima Facie opens on Broadway next month, said, ‘The AWG and Screen Australia have thoughtfully put together a thoroughly exciting program that allows writers to truly 'go global' and to have the opportunity to work alongside professionals who invented and refined showrunning as a writer model. The hope is that we can all bring in more of the incredible writing, directing and acting talent of the film and TV community in Australia to work on such projects.’
Kodie Bedford, award winning-playwright of Cursed! and series including Mystery Road, Firebite and All My Friends Are Racist, said, ‘I remember when I was 15 and told my mum that I was going to be a showrunner after being inspired by Buffy, so to be selected for this specialised program where I get to learn showrunning and pitching skills from Hollywood’s best is absolutely a dream come true. But also, to bring back and share the skills I learn to the Australian industry, where more writers are wanting to take ownership of their own ideas, is something I’m quite excited about.’
Judi McCrossin, co-creator of The Time of Our Lives, creator for television of The Wrong Girl and writer on The Secret Life of Us, said, ‘Showrunners aren’t just storytellers. They have both financial and creative authority over all departments. They keep the show running. Empowering Australian writers with showrunning skills gives them the ability to tell their stories the way they want them to be told. And Australian TV will be better for it.’
Tommy Murphy, creator of Significant Others and Holding the Man, said ‘I am humbled to be among the six chosen TV Creators who will learn from international industry leaders and from each other. We will be challenged to create ideas for television that are bold and new. For me, that means seeking out stories about queer characters in a rapidly changing world. I am fascinated to connect with collaborators and mentors who are answering that task abroad.’
Jane Allen, lead writer on Janet King and writer on Troppo and Cleverman, said, ‘It’s a unique opportunity to learn from such experienced American practitioners alongside this ridiculously talented group of fellow writers. I look forward to returning with pencils and skills sharpened, ready to put into practice all I’ve learned. What a word nerd fest this will be.’
The Creators is supported by industry partners Australians in Film and Scripted Ink.