(Top to bottom, L-R:) Tony Ayres, Rachel Okine, Michael McMahon, Jenevieve Chang, Laura Waters, Ian Collie, Katherine Slattery and Robert Connolly.

Cinespace has enlisted a group of industry heavy-hitters to deliver an initiative for emerging creatives from First Nations or culturally diverse background who have a pilot TV script ready to pitch.

The online masterclass, titled ‘Package to Pitch’, will build on each participant’s ability to read the market. In particular, it will look at:

  • A checklist and explanation of the necessary agreements and pitch materials
  • What elements packaged together make up the perfect project
  • How to pitch effectively to producers, production companies, networks and agencies
  • An insight into how producers and market buyers think when looking at projects

Facilitated by Egyptian-Australian producer John Kassab, speakers will include Tony Ayres, Laura Waters, Rachel Okine, Michael McMahon, Ian Collie, Jenevieve Chang, Robert Connolly and Katherine Slattery – with more to come. The initiative is backed by Screenrights’ Cultural Fund.

Kassab tells IF the initiative was devised after an observation that the industry says it wants to embrace more diversity in the stories it tells, but diverse communities often feel that they are not being heard or seen by the industry.

“We designed this program to help bring visibility to those who feel invisible. If a participant or two end up with a development deal as a result of this program, we will obviously be thrilled for them. But my target is to demystify the packaging and pitching process, help make the industry more accessible to our communities and give each participant an insight into the market landscape and methodologies. I would also like to showcase their talent to the industry,” he says.

“When putting this program together I worked diligently to include more influential speakers who are Indigenous or people of colour. However, the reality remains that we are grossly underrepresented at this level in the industry and those who I approached were unavailable. There are slots still open for the right speakers and I will continue to put in the work to find them.”

Up to 14 places are available in the program, which run in February and March 2021. The program is open to producers and writers Australia-wide who identify as First Nations or CALD. Participants will be selected by a culturally diverse panel. Whilst applications are open to individuals, preference will be given to teams of up to two people.

Applications close November 30, go here for more info.

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