Turning tales in to Storyworlds


Star Wars will always be part of popular culture because fans will continue to expand the storyworld universe. Once upon a time (pun intended) stories were told simply, they moved from the campfire to stages, cinema screens and then beamed out of our TVs, and that was that. Now with the abundance of devices and global connectivity, entire story universes can be told across time, platforms and across the world.

Star Wars was one of the first truly epic storyworlds unleashed in 1977, which continues to reverberate today. Described as an ‘epic space opera franchise’ (LOL!) on Wikipedia, the original film series has expanded to death star proportions through merchandise, side stories, back stories, comics, animation, and 5 stand-alone films including Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) and Lego Star Wars: The Quest for R2-D2 (2009). In fact there are so many associated side stories, back stories and character developments outside of the feature films, Star Wars fans have coined all this ‘extra’ material as theStar Wars Expanded Universe. Like a parallel universe to the official one, huge volumes of fan generated content, videos, comics, photos and artwork are revealed with a quick google search.

Creating a world for characters to inhabit has always sat comfortably within science fiction and fantasy based genres. Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter are two very obvious recent examples. But storyworlds extend beyond fiction. Deep levels of engagement can be achieved with all sorts of content, characters and themes from documentaries through to alternate reality games. In fact last year there was an entire conference dedicated to bringing writers, filmmakers and transmedia experts together in LA to discuss the latest trends and developments in this growing field.

“The interactive multi-platform space is rapidly expanding but, more importantly, it is also maturing. This means great opportunities to generate rich, engaging, narratively complex experiences. There’s never been a better time to be a storyteller because there’s never been more screens and media forms to tell stories on.” Mike Jones, Australian multiplatform expert and winner of the UK ICTommorow Digital Innovation award for Film & TV last year.

Technology doesn’t change what a story is, but technologies and platforms do change audience experience and the process by which writers develop ideas. For today’s content makers, this means seeing storyworld building as central to storyteller’s craft; storyworlds that can generate multiple stories across multiple media and envelop audiences in role-play and immersion.

In an Australian first, Metro Screen in collaboration with Mike Jones has launched an intensive development program for interactive multiplatform stories – The Storyworld Studio, subsidised by Screen NSW.

The rigorous program is an engaging and structured process for the development of meaningful, dramatic and sustainable storytelling in the interactive multiplatform world. Participants will be guided through storyworld design, rules and pressures taking point of view in to account. Narrative adaption, journey mapping and process will be explored along with Author versus Agency, role play and game mechanics. Practical demonstrations and expert advice on presenting and pitching rich creative concepts will see participants completing the studio ready to develop fully-fledged projects.

Applications are due by close of business Tuesday 14 May 2013. 

Apply >

Written by Tiani Chillemi, Development Manager at Metro Screen

Image found at: http://weheartit.com/entry/12549978




Development and production funding for screen stories.

11 outstanding projects have been selected by Metro Screen to receive $115,000 in funding through the Breaks – Story to Screen program this month.

The comprehensive Breaks funding program is focused on getting stories from script to screen with a cash production budget, production facilities support and a craft skills development program including the Story Hothouse and the Directors Foundry.

Over the past three years, Metro Screen has been funding creative storytelling and emerging practitioners through the First Breaks, Break Out and Breakthrough programs.

The Breaks – Story to Screen program will produce eight short films and three web-based programs by early career film and content makers.  Cultural diversity is represented through the range of projects including content producers from Indigenous and multicultural backgrounds.

“These scripts were selected for their strong ideas and potential to develop into an exciting and diverse production slate for 2013.”
David Opitz Projects and Productions Manager, Metro Screen

Breaks- Story to Screen is proudly supported by Screen NSW and Screen Australia’s RAW NERVE program.

The successful Breaks projects for 2013 are;

Il Taglialegna (The Woodcutter) by Thomas McSweeney and Ross Hubbard
Horror short film

Pink by Lynne Vincent MCCarthy
Psychological-drama short fil

Showboy by Samuel Leighton-Dore
Drama short film

Latte e Miele (Milk and Honey) by Louisa Mignone and Andrea Demetriades
Dramedy short film

Bad Daddy by Elizabeth Taddic, writer Adam Szudrich
Drama short film

Touch by Adrian Chiarella
Horror short film

Dawney Slack by Elizabeth Wymarra
Comedy short film

The Fight by Tom Avery
Comedy short film

Dry Fire by Ngaire Oleary and Alex Williams
Drama web series

Love Bytes by Tonnette Stanford
GLBT dramatic/comedy web series

Defendant 5: The Fall of the House of Gunns by Heidi Douglas
Documentary web series

The Dark & The Light Side of the Internet

An Australian viral sensation is underway thanks to the stunning visual effects work of Duncan Elms and the down to earth explanation by Marc Fennell titled Bitcoin Explained, a decentralized digital currency. The video has racked up 196,000 views since Sunday! It is now the Vimeo staff pick and is being promoted across global tech site Digg. This short video is a wildly successful combination of stunning visual graphics and an incredible subject matter too big to ignore. Its also online video at its best, not dumbed down for a TV audience or full of hype.

Continue reading

Ahhh Which Editing Software??!!?!?!


It’s hard to keep up. Taking the time to learn new software or upskill is a big undertaking, so how do you decide where to put your time and effort? The consensus seems to be that currently, independent filmmakers use Final Cut ProX, the professional Film and TV industries run on Avid and Adobe Premiere is used by a combination of both.

To make this decision you really need to ask yourself some questions – What do you want to achieve with your editing software? How much are you willing to spend? Are you Mac or PC? Do you need other tools like Photoshop or effects programs?

Every month Metro Screen flings open the doors to anyone interested in digital media, film or television projects or career pathways. The next Open House Info Session, Thursday 18 April will give you a full run down of the opportunities available at Metro Screen, plus a free introduction to editing in AVID by renowned Editor – Jas Shennan. This is a free event for people at all levels to peak behind the curtain, have a sticky beak at the facilities and ask all the questions you like.

“I choose to edit with Avid Media Composer because its trim tool makes cutting a dream. I can focus on the content, not the software. Media Composer is robust and handles long form drama with ease.”
Patrick McCabe, editor
Credits: Exit, First Contact, One Night Stand. Website.

“I have used FCP7 for years and can use it in my sleep, it has been my editing application of choice. But with the future looking shaky in terms of support from Apple, the move to Avid seems the way to go for me.”
Craig Boreham, director
Credits:  Teenage Kicks.

“Metro Screen is currently moving away from teaching FCP7 and towards teaching AVID in our full-time courses.  This move is following recent industry trends, where the broadcast standard is the AVID platform.   We will also be teaching FCPX and bringing back courses in Premiere to support the independent filmmaking and multi-platform content-makers.  There is a place and a use for all the software platforms, and we will continue to tailor our courses and teaching to the industry demands.”
Rachel Fiddes, Learning & Development Manager

Buy in to the debate, take the Facebook Poll.

CONNECT EVENT | Thursday 18 April

6pm – 7pm Open House Info Session – What Metro Screen has to offer you.

7pm – 8pm AVID Editing Introduction workshop with Jass Shennan
at Metro Screen, Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington Sydney

Free entry.

Book >


Media Watch

Senator Conroy is proposing Australian media reforms that will have deep impacts on all of our working and personal lives across all media. Here are a few concerns raised by media analysts this week to bring you up to speed.

ABC TV program Media Watch available on iView does a sterling job of explaining the lay of the land and the major tensions at play. Well worth watching.

Watch >



An Open Letter to Andrew Stoner MP
NSW Minister for Trade and Investment

Dear Mr Stoner,

Motivated by Nic Watt’s recent open letter to you Metro Screen also requests that the Interactive Media Fund be continued beyond June 2013.

Metro Screen supports emerging screen practitioners in NSW. Our role is to provide a range of opportunities and activities that guide emerging talent through careers in the digital screen industries.

Until relatively recently there was a significant chasm between ‘heritage’ and ‘new’ screen media. These sectors didn’t often talk to each other, let alone work together. In the past three years, largely through the Interactive Media Fund, the gap has been closing at a good speed. Cross fertilization has begun and we’re starting to see the fruits of these initiatives.

Emerging screen practitioners are beginning to realize the opportunities of multi-skilling across screens, large and tiny, and to develop creative concepts that leverage new digital platforms along with new audiences.

Despite the recent signs of cross-pollination and entrepreneurialism, much of the interactive screen community is still in experimentation and start-up mode. There is still some way to go in defining best practice and creating the most effective skills development pathways. This experimentation is a positive and bodes well for the future health of the sector.

This year, with funding from the Interactive Media Fund, Metro Screen is managing the Digital Kitchen initiative. Digital Kitchen provides a cash grant (up to $5,000 each) for three to five emerging developers to mature their interactive projects beyond concept stage to a ‘ripe for investment’ or market ready level. The project specifically targets interactive content including games, transmedia narrative projects, virtual worlds and mobile content. At the end of the program participants pitch their project to a panel of industry investors and interactive companies with a view to fully realising the project.

Several of our past students have secured funding directly from the Interactive Media Fund for their projects including Hear Right Now, a game to identify potential hearing loss in pre-schoolers and Crime Plays a locative mobile game which places crime-based narrative in the palm of your hand. In the latter example the funding allowed the team to start their own games-based business rather than having to develop their interactive ideas as an addition to their day job. These same projects do not meet the eligibility criteria for interactive project funding available through Screen Australia.

Metro Screen supports Nic Watt’s observation that although Screen Australia’s newly announced Australia Interactive Games Fund is welcome, it is targeted at experienced and credentialed practitioners. The Interactive Media Fund, administered by Screen NSW, specifically supports new and emerging talent and provides a critical step in the development pathway for a sustainable interactive community in NSW.

It is not possible for the majority of organisations working in this space to self-fund interactive development initiatives therefore the future health of the sector in NSW relies upon ongoing support from the government in the form of the Interactive Media Fund.

Yours sincerely,
Christina Alvarez
CEO, Metro Screen

The Script Sessions


The Script Sessions is a program of intensive one-day script workshops with professional screen writing Editor and Analyst, Karel Segers slicing and dicing screenplays to bring out the best in each story.  Five writers will be chosen for each workshop to present their scripts for analysis, with 10 spots reserved for participants who want to learn from this process by observing the transformation.

Each script will be scrutinized for concept, story, character, theme, style and script presentation. The writers will walk away with in-depth notes and recommended steps for further development.

There are three sessions this year on Saturday 22 June, 7 September and 7 December 2013 with 5 writers and 10 participants at each workshop. Writers can revisit the process more than once and observers are encouraged to apply the knowledge gained through this unique process to their writing. Applicants must submit a logline, half page synopsis and the first ten pages of their screenplay for review. Observers don’t need to apply, just pre-book and bring your notebook.


“Karel Segers is Australia’s Robert McKee”
Stephen J De Jager, Creative Director at Roadshow Entertainment

Karel Segers is a story consultant, script editor and producer with 20 years of experience in international film rights acquisition, script development and production. His lectures on screenwriting have inspired and trained students in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and his clients include international award-winning filmmakers as well as three Academy Award nominees.

Karel founded Australia’s leading screenwriting web site The Story Department and ranks in the world’s Top 10 most influential ‘tweeters’ for screenwriting. In 2012 he launched “Logline It!”, the world’s only online resource exclusively dedicated to the craft of writing loglines.

Script Session One

Saturday 22 June 2013 from 9.00am – 5.00pm
Metro Screen Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington | Map
Writing Participants: 5 Places by application due by 1 June and $330
Observing Participants: 10 Places by booking $110

Eventbrite - Script Session One | OBSERVER

Script Session Two

Saturday 7 September 2013 from 9.00am – 5.00pm
Metro Screen Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington | Map
Writing Participants: 5 Places by application due by 16 August and $330
Observing Participants: 10 Places by booking $110

Eventbrite - Script Session Three | OBSERVER

Script Session Three

Saturday 7 December 2013 from 9.00am – 5.00pm
Metro Screen Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington | Map
Writing Participants: 5 Places by application due by 15 November and $330
Observing Participants: 10 Places by booking $110

Eventbrite - Script Session Two | OBSERVER

Writer Applications

To apply for one of five Scriptwriter participant places at each workshop, please submit a logline, half page synopsis and the first ten pages of their screenplay for review by via email by the due date. Once your application has been approved, you will be notified and your place will be reserved when payment is received.
Submit your application by the due date, along with your contact details and the date of the workshop you wish to attend to metro@metroscreen.org.au

If you have questions about the process please call (02) 9356 1818 for more information.