Next-gen writers and directors set to make their mark on Neighbours

Career-boosting opportunity for early-mid career Victorian directors and writers

Six early-mid career Victorian directors and writers are set to receive a career-boosting opportunity through placements on Australia’s longest-running drama series, Neighbours, thanks to Film Victoria and Fremantle.

The placements will offer hands-on experience in either the script department or on set being mentored by a director on the iconic Melbourne-based series, which reaches more than 60 countries around the world.

This is the second time Film Victoria has offered Neighbours director and writer placements, with the first round in 2018 resulting in ongoing roles for four candidates. Directors Tenika Smith and Guy Strachan, and writers Beth King and Eugénie Muggleton will join the Neighbours team in early 2019.

The placements are part of a four-year skills and talent development package, which also includes attachments for technical crew on the Neighbours set, thanks to Film Victoria in collaboration with Fremantle.

Film Victoria’s commitment to upskilling Victorian practitioners spans numerous programs and initiatives, resulting in 16 domestic and international professional placements in the last six months alone.

Film Victoria CEO, Caroline Pitcher, said that partnering with industry is a key priority in delivering career-boosting opportunities for Victorian practitioners.

“Film Victoria’s partnership with Fremantle has included placements on a slate of Australia’s top dramas, including Neighbours, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Wentworth, sharing the work of our next-gen screen making talent with audiences at home and around the world.

“Gaining hands-on writing and directing experience on such a prolific series like Neighbours is invaluable in terms of skills development and career progression. Already the results of this program attest to its success, so far generating jobs for four early-career writers and directors. We look forward to providing more opportunities for up-and-coming Victorian practitioners thanks to our diverse range of programs and industry partnerships in 2019,” Ms Pitcher said.

Neighbours’ Executive Producer, Jason Herbison said: “This initiative from Film Victoria has been a resounding success with all of last year’s candidates not only gleaning vital knowledge from our seasoned behind-the-scenes team but also providing their own creative input in the writers’ room and on-set with the directors which has been invaluable – it’s a win-win for everyone involved and I look forward to welcoming our next round of placements.”

Speaking of her 2018 director placement, which has since resulted in an ongoing role with Neighbours, Tenika Smith said: “It’s almost unheard of to have the opportunity to direct a full episode of television as part of a placement program. The director’s placement at Neighbours has been the highlight of my career and is a huge stepping stone towards further TV credits. It’s more than I could have imagined.”

Applications for the director and writer placements are now open, with applications for director placements closing 6 March, and writer placements closing 3 April. Placements are currently scheduled to commence in May 2019, with the director placements offered in five week stages and the writer placements running for six week periods.

 

For more information about the placements on Neighbours, see the Director Placements and Writer Placements pages on the Film Victoria website. 

Film Victoria is also calling for early-career practitioners to apply to be considered for technical attachments across a slate of Film Victoria-supported productions, including Neighbours. For more information, see Film Victoria’s Professional Attachments Register on the Film Victoria website.

 

Image: Directors Guy Strachan and Tenika Smith on the set of Neighbours