The Processes of Production with Vonne Patiag - Information & Cultural Exchange

The Processes of Production with Vonne Patiag

Vonne Patiag was a participant in our first Sling Shot workshops in 2015, as well as the Story Plotting workshops in 2016, and most recently as an an emerging Producer in 2017 for Produce Perfect.  Vonne has just written and directed TOMGIRL, a short film that is part of Create NSW and SBS’s Generator Emerging Filmmaker Fund initiative. We’re delighted to have been one of the local community partners alongside Blacktown Arts and Penrith Performing & Visual Arts. Below, Vonne shares a little insight into the the world of film concept development and production.
What made you decide to create screen content?
I actually started as a writer in high school and had big ambitions to start a band – I would spend my lunch break writing songs – but I was always interested in films from a really early age. An English teacher actually encouraged me to develop a screenplay for a major English project, and I ended up getting top marks. Film school followed, and the rest is history!
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as you’ve grown as a producer?
To always trust your instinct – even though this is a common piece of advice, I really believe in it. When you develop work and watch other people’s works, you start to develop TASTE for what works and what doesn’t, and all of that will be zapped into your instinct. This leads to that maxim “Make what you want to see” cause when you have your taste you start to recognise gaps in the screen industry and I feel like I naturally gravitate towards projects that aren’t seen anywhere else.
Do you find it beneficial to work with other producers and creators when developing your concepts?
Of course! More eyes in the room is always going to help, but it’s definitely a process that needs to be refined as you need to understand what you need from your collaborators and what isn’t helpful.
What is your concept development process like?
I’m usually one to pitch a logline, and if that sparks interest I’ll go off and mull over an idea and come up with a one pager and see if that generates interest. Following this process, back and forth, until we get to a completed project. I stress the point that I always talk about an idea to see if it’s generating interest at every stage – I’m THAT creative who won’t stop talking about their work! – but in this way you know you’re making the best choices for your work.
Who is your favorite Australian producer?
Tony Ayres – I’m a big fan because he tends to work across genres, which I find is hard to do at times, and his development slate is varied.
If you had the opportunity to re-make any film, which would you re-make and why?
I’ve actually got my re-make in mind already, and plan to chase those rights in future! It’s a film called Pluto from South Korea, about a young man caught up in a violent uprising in his strict academically driven boarding school. It really caught my attention because it discussed Pluto’s down-grading to ‘non-planet’ which I thought was such an interesting parallel, and it said a lot about masculinity and societal pressure in such a nuanced way. I’d love to bring the story to Australia and inter-twine a race and class element into the story too.  (Some producers would dread sharing these ideas but I’m always a fan of bravery! And if someone else reads this and can make the film better, we’re all better off!)
Tell us about what projects you are currently working on.

I’ve just wrapped a short film, Tomgirl, which will premiere on SBS in early Feb, and am about to head into the production stage of our pilot for Boy (Space) Friends, an online series funded through Hot Shots. I’m also in the middle of developing my first full-length play, The Life Cycle of Blanco, examining the exhaustion caused by racism, which has been a fantastic experience in branching out to other mediums. Other than that, I’m in early development for two other shorts, one about racial tensions on a bus that (comically) explode, and another set on the Nepean River about a group of boys who play a dangerous game in the suburban backyards of strangers. I’m thinking about bigger projects too, and I’m definitely interested in developing longer form content (features) in the next few years. But one day at a time!

Image by Christina Mishell.

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