Mike Preece




НазваниеMike Preece
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Jon Povey



Hi,


I would just like to offer my feedback on the NZFC review, from the perspective of an aspiring screenwriter.


I think in general there should be more initiatives and contests like the First Screenwriters Initiative (which is a great scheme). As far as I'm aware, that is really the only NZFC program for writers. I understand why there is no funding for first time writers, but it would be great if there was something an aspiring writer could work towards. In Hollywood people become script readers, have endless contests to enter, numerous coverage services and opportunities to gain agents. But there is little like this in NZ.


I think that perhaps having a high profile funding contest with a good stipend would be a great start. There are numerous awards & fellowships for NZ novelists, and if you want to make an artistic short you can apply for funding from Creative NZ. But if you want to write a solid commercial screenplay, with a universal story, there isn't much to aim for, aside from shopping it around to small number of NZ producers.


In other filmmaking fields in NZ, there are now options for camera operators, artists, costume designers, or sound technicians to at follow a possible career path. It's not quite so clear for screenwriters.


I am not asking for an easy ride – it will never, and should never be easy - but I like to think that if a script is great, then a little more investment could be made in fostering the talents of that script's writer.

I also think that NZFC's brief should not just be about telling New Zealand's stories. A good story is universal, and if the writer is a New Zealander, but the story is not, that shouldn't be an impediment to providing funding for that writer. A mixture of obviously NZ stories, and opportunities for writers to tell their own stories (NZ or not) is very important. Scoring 'New Zealand Content' by points seems bizarre to me. If the only NZ thing on a project in it' writer, or director, for example, why shouldn't NZFC money be used to support that person? The more we support these people, the more likely they are to stay in NZ and maintain a career.


I also think it would be great if first time writers could approach the NZFC first, and if the script is good enough, the NZFC could then help that writer find a producer, and not the other way around. The NZFC could employ lowly script readers (which would offer a job for aspiring writers) and could even create income by providing commercial script coverage services. This would be good for identifying talent as well.


Thanks for your time, Jon

Peter Parnham



Background

As the Review may be aware I am the deputy chair of Film Auckland but this submission is made as a private film industry individual.


For the sake of clarity I have kept this submission short. I would be happy to elaborate for the review on any points.


Submission


Rationale


  1. The central rationale for the existence of the NZFC remains valid. Films form an important part of our New Zealand cultural landscape yet most films are imported. As a matter of cultural balance and cultural integrity as a nation it is important that New Zealanders see their own stories on film screens.




  1. It is important that New Zealand has a cultural interchange with other countries and New Zealand films have an important role to play.




  1. This is worth reasonable government financial support.




  1. Important economic benefits are a spin-off from good quality New Zealand films. Commercial and cultural success are not incompatible




  1. Films cannot really be said to helping New Zealander see their stories on screen if hardly anyone goes to them. The NZFC should not claim a film to be success unless it has a reasonable audience.




  1. It is not the prime role of the NZFC to support the industry in the sense of market intervention and support of purely commercial activity in the screen production industry. That’s what the LBSG and SPIF are there for. (NZFC may be a convenient administrator of those schemes).


NZFC operation


  1. The NZFC should be a model of impeccable transparency and fairness, from board selections right down to day to day decisions.




  1. The appearance of cronyism should be avoided (as well as real cronyism), from board selections right down to day to day decisions.




  1. The NZFC should be a model of efficiency.


Location


  1. According to Statistics New Zealand around 70% of screen production activity take places in Auckland. Furthermore a good deal of the Wellington activity at this point is past needing NZFC support.




  1. Ultimately the NZFC should be near the industry it is part of. It should be located in Auckland with perhaps a small office in Wellington to be near funders and the Wellington industry.




  1. In the meantime and as part of a transition an Auckland office should be opened, this would increase efficiency and effectiveness.


Name


  1. The New Zealand Film Commission is a name that causes confusion overseas because around the world Film Commissions are usually location offices like Film Auckland or Film New Zealand. The name should be changed. The name Screen New Zealand should be avoided because it can cause similar confusion (In Australia Screen Australia is a funder and Screen NSW a locations office.)


Business and Art


  1. The Screen Production Industry is a unique blend of creative activity and business. Both are required for success. Criticism that the NZCF has been too producer led may have some validity but there must be caution to avoid over-reacting and swinging too much the other way; a balance must be struck.


Challenges


  1. One of the biggest challenges to film making in this country is the volatility and strength of the New Zealand dollar. The NZFC may not be able to do anything about it directly but should lend support to any proposal that would introduce stability and sustainability to this risk.



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