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Brave New World: Screen Industry Debates the Impact of Politics Earthquake




Brave New World is an ironic term, used here to reflect hopes and fears about the future, and a core concern about corruption and hypocritical opportunism. Here, it is the title of a Screen Forever session that brought together a variety of forces with different institutional perspectives, discussed by Carl Quinn, the great cultural writer on The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald.

By listing the changes that have occurred in the past year or so, Quinn has painted an industry in turmoil.


Alaric McAusland, who was a former post-production pioneer and now CEO of the Australian Directors Guild, has been scathing about the government’s new strategy. “It appears to be well informed, but poorly executed,” he said. He believes the consensus to support Australian stories is waning.

Reform is necessary, but all measures so far have been in the interest of commercial broadcasters. In general, it just creates instability and insecurity. We prefer a comprehensive and phased view rather than the mixture of our reforms.

Michael Ter is President of Screen Producers Australia and CEO of a diversified and growing production company, Wildbear. “I’m a little more optimistic than Alaric,” he said.

“It won’t affect all companies in the same way and I think it will be a little more difficult for small businesses.” He sees the increase in offset to 30% for television is an increase for the entire sector, and the growth is taking where the audience wants to go.

But he said: “ There is potential for a gap, and the worst thing for the producers who run the production companies is the lack of continuity around the projects. You need certainty in the future. The earlier we can secure this, the better, and then the industry can adapt to the new environment.

Kylie Munich, CEO of Screen Queensland, is a pragmatist in the sector that sees unity rather than alternatives. I think we can support everything. We are all in the same industry and Screen Queensland is already there to support local practitioners, national practitioners and international projects, so we can build the entire screen ecosystem.

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia, likes to incorporate this ecosystem approach around an audience focus. “There’s a huge opportunity and most of our screen community is doing very well,” he said. The key to this is the emergence of broad-based companies that have abandoned specialization.

He cited the current example of The Dry, which had succeeded in attracting a variety of audiences beyond expectations. Distributor Roadshow created a campaign using the younger character’s story and campaigned for TikTok to appeal to this young audience. I’m not saying you have to make everything for everyone because that’s funny, but you do have to know who you’re making it, and work with different styles.

Australian Children’s Television CEO Jenny Buckland is responsible for an additional $ 20 million in funding as commercial networks exit children’s programming. All this, as I explain, is when the sector thrives and confirms its global reputation as one of the best in the world.

I don’t consider that the funding that was made for ACTF for these two years is intended to fund those shows that the Commercial Broadcasting Commission missed. Hopefully, we can convince these broadcasters to look at children’s content in a different way, and you’ll notice that Channel 10 said last week that it will focus on children’s drama.

I think we need to stop thinking how we can put a deal together for as cheap as possible commercial broadcasts, and show up the premium content that works really well for us. So we’re going to put in a lot of money to help producers develop really strong concepts.

Fiona Cameron, an authority member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority and former director of operations for Screen Australia, acknowledged that the requirements for commercial television content are now easy to fulfill, the SPA argued. However, there are still many details, often around the legal definition of the terms.

At least you think that some of the vulnerabilities have closed. Now, the earned programs are not eligible, except for feature films, so you can no longer buy an entire New Zealand TV drama and get VIP points for it. This door is closed. You have to cost. Commission is defined as meaningful and monetary, and unfortunately ACMA has a mission to define what that is. I guess we’ll have for a little while to suck and see.

The industry’s situation is tougher on the issue of content tax, as broadcast companies will allocate a portion of the revenue to production. Foxtel is already operating this way, but the government has lowered the percentage from 10% to 5%.

It looks like 5% could be the number applied to broadcast companies. Although estimates of Netflix’s income range from $ 500 million to $ 1 billion, the tax comes to less than $ 50 million a year, which is less than what the company actually spends. Moreover, she is building her war chest and playing the role of a good citizen. Is this enough to offset the potential loss of local content, including Foxtel?

Veteran producer Michael Terre said, “I think 5% isn’t enough.” ‘It is not enough. Our forecast is closer to 20%.

Kylie Munich added her agency’s point of view. “Five percent is a very polite number. That’s not really enough. It’s not enough to stimulate the industry. If you’re going to put in the regulations, you have to stimulate the industry, not stifle it, so I think we need to be more ambitious with that goal.”

If this is the case, all the punches, blows and pretends to get a deal with the streamers will still bring a bucket to the forest fire.

There is another problem with the signage. As Terre said, “It’s really important to have a lot of work out there on what they’re actually buying and for how long.” Right now the producers are focusing on the big deal that Netflix buys all the rights forever outside of Australia and there is no other opportunity for revenue.

Yes, we want shows like that, but we also want smaller shows with smaller budgets, higher stakes, new players and new voices. And I think if we get the policy mechanisms right, that will be allowed to flourish. Only then can the producers truly benefit from the global market, and reclaim some of the rights that are detrimental to other creative professionals.

Graeme Mason reiterated Screen Australia’s core commitment to emerging careers and form evolution. “It is imperative that we have new voices, diverse voices, inclusive voices and new people. It is imperative that we have the second and third projects because it is really difficult to advance this profession and you also have to make sure that we do not turn into an age group and block the seasoned side as well.

Alaric McAusland found the true point of tension. Historically, fertile ground for innovation, new faces, and new talents have been feature-length films, themed by the producer. Change the threshold [with some other details] It kills it alive.

Mason replied, “This is simply not true.”

McAusland kept going. “We talk about the huge success of movies like The Dry, Penguin Bloom, High Ground, and Long Story Short, but speaking to the filmmakers, it is clear that they are advising against 30% financing these films.”

Mason kept his position. It is simply not true. I run an offset committee, and that’s simply not true.

It’s a trickier question than it sounds. Screen Australia and government agencies will try to compensate, and the financial environment is rapidly evolving. Instead of putting it to the Senate, the government may cautiously back off. But everyone in the sector will likely agree that the changes are ludicrous and devastating and not worth the first aid bill.

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