Timothy Lee on location in ‘Mystery Road.’
After serving as a script editor on three seasons of House Husbands and writing episodes of Rush and Serangoon Road, Timothy Lee’s career has gone up a couple of gears.
Lee, who graduated from AFTRS in 2006, modestly credits his progression in part to the talent drain which has resulted in numerous Aussie writers plying their trade in the US and the UK.
“That has created opportunities for the next generation of writers,” says Lee, who got his start as a script assistant/researcher on Rescue Special Ops after securing an Australian Writers’ Guild internship with Southern Star, mentored by Sarah Smith.
That led to writing episodes of the Nine Network drama and the fourth season of Network Ten’s cop show Rush. Working on Playmaker Media’s House Husbands, he reflects, “was good for my craft but not so good for my profile.”
That profile has since grown appreciably with writing credits on Easy Tiger’s Doctor Doctor, Aquarius Films’ The Unlisted, Bunya Productions’ Mystery Road and Jungle Entertainment’s Bad Mothers.
“It’s taken me a long time to get here,” reflects Lee, the son of eminent screenwriter Christopher Lee, whose credits include Les Norton, Friday on My Mind, Gallipoli and Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.
Justine Flynn created The Unlisted, an action sci-fi thriller which follows two 13-year-old identical twins who team up with a group of underground vigilante to stop a powerful corporation from imposing control over the world’s youth, for the ABC and Netflix.
Flynn suggested hiring Lee after they collaborated on a children’s series at Flying Bark. “The Unlisted has a great, cross-cultural premise: I can’t wait to see it,” he says.
One of the joys of writing for Doctor Doctor is watching the cast led by Rodger Corser, Nicole da Silva, Ryan Johnson, Tina Bursill, Matt Castley, Charles Wu and Miranda Tapsell who, he says, “really lift the scripts and take them to another level.”
He wrote one episode of the third series of Nine’s medical drama and is penning two eps of season four, working for script producer Keith Thompson.
Among the projects he is attached to is Scrublands, based on a Chris Hammer novel which follows a journalist’s investigation into why a priest shot five members of his congregation a year earlier in a fictional NSW Riverina town.
Lee and Felicity Packard (Pine Gap) are writing the adaptation for Ian Collie’s Easy Tiger as a six-hour miniseries, with development funding from Screen Australia.
With CJZ and One Stone Pictures’ Nathan Earl he is developing The Fairway, a comedy murder/mystery set during a PGA tournament, with story development funding from Screen Australia.
Another is Me, Antman & Fleabag, which he is adapting from the Gayle Kennedy novel, a road trip involving an Indigenous woman, her partner Antman, their dog Fleabag and loads of country music.
He is grateful to Michaeley O’Brien for giving him the chance to write an episode of Mystery Road last year after they worked together on Serangoon Road. Blake Ayshford is the script producer and lead writer for the second season, which will shoot in Broome later this year. The writing team consists of Lee, Steven McGregor, Kodie Bedford and Danielle MacLean.
Often he finds himself in the same writers room as Mithila Gupta (Doctor Doctor, The Unlisted). Screen Australia’s head of Indigenous Penny Smallacombe has been a consistent supporter.
He has long wanted to collaborate on a project with his dad, it hasn’t happened yet but he hopes it will.