Continuing our partnership with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), we recently presented a two-day intensive workshop in Parramatta called Story Plotting for TV drama/comedy series. Eight emerging screenwriters from Western Sydney, who are currently developing scripts for these genres and formats, were selected to get expert support and guidance to take their work to the next stage. The workshop was facilitated by one of Australian TV’s most experienced screenwriters and story producers, Sarah Walker (Winners & Losers, A Place to Call Home, Home & Away, Wonderland).
As a girl who grew up in Western Sydney, I was really delighted to be invited to engage with students in this program and offer them help in taking their ideas to the next stage. I think it’s an excellent initiative and hope it will produce a new generation of skilled, diverse voices in our industry.
While it’s always rewarding to pass on knowledge and industry skills, it’s particularly enjoyable when you feel there’s new territory being covered. Teaching the I.C.E. course was such a positive experience – hearing the diverse, clever and unique voices of talented people – knowing there are up and coming writers with something fresh to say – makes me feel excited about the future of the industry.
Screenwriter / Workshop facilitator
The weekend writing workshops with Sarah Walker was so helpful and incredibly practical. It was so good to hear from an experienced professional and she gave us lots of tips and tricks as a TV writer which we could apply to our own show ideas. Even though there were 8 of us in the room, she still gave us individual feedback and helped us with plotting our own shows which was amazing!
Being selected to participate in the workshop created new opportunities to meet and explore ideas with other writers from Western Sydney and explore ways of bringing diverse stories about such a vibrant part of our world to the screen. Sarah was generous with her experience and the practical aspects of development and writing for TV. The workshop was a great balance of wisdom and working – we had the chance to experience the tasks and processes of the writing team.
Through the I.C.E./AFTRS Open Story Plotting for TV drama/comedy series workshop I gained the confidence to prepare material for pitching and taking to the next stage of development. It was the closest thing to being in a writer’s room we could experience without being in production.
One of the best film courses I have attended so far. Sarah’s teaching approach makes the course content easy to understand and practical.
The Story Plotting workshop was an amazing opportunity to refine my own ideas in a creative environment where we worked just like a writers’ room, giving me invaluable professional experience which has equipped me with the necessary skills and industry know-how to pursue my web series into production next year. Learning from Sarah Walker’s anecdotal expertise was an eye-opening chance to hear how the Australian and International Film Industries work, and the importance of refining your own personal voice and creative vision in telling rich, local and diverse screen stories in Western Sydney. It was a pleasure to be mentored by someone from the area, who could see the potential in all our stories, and really inspired us to seek out more professional opportunities as emerging filmmakers.
It’s exciting to see the array of ideas and the great depth of talent that is being displayed at these workshops. Both AFTRS and I.C.E. are committed to helping young Australians from diverse backgrounds hone their filmmaking skills via these industry focused training initiatives.
I.C.E. is thrilled to be working in partnership with AFTRS. Importantly, this partnership is proof positive of AFTRS ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for the development of screen stories and storytellers from Western Sydney through projects such as the I.C.E. Screen Cultures Program.
I.C.E. Executive Director
Images by Barry Gamba.