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Nicholas

Nicholas Verso

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Victoria Multimedia > Television And Film
To learn the process of leading television showrunners - USA, UK
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Highlights

As every Churchill Fellow probably says, the whole trip is one big highlight and it feels incredibly difficult to single it down to just one or two moments.

But being able to see how an incredibly ambitious high concept show like Z NATION is plotted and produced was particularly invaluable, especially as they’re working on budgets not far off those of Australian productions. It was fascinating to watch how they make their dollar go further and how they keep their team motivated and aiming high.

Having one-on-one masterclasses (at least that’s how it felt) with great minds like Andy Harries and Sam Hoyle were also incredibly beneficial as they worked in very different ways but had similar intentions - how to create a great environment for a writer to do their best work.

Major lessons

  • The best writing comes from empowered writers. Are we doing everything we can to encourage writers to be involved in the production process and encourage autonomy?
  • Training through experience. In the USA, writers expect to be promoted and advance through their work. This involves being given opportunities to actually write (not just shadow, note-take or observe) and then learning more producing duties so their writing can become more effective.
  • Quality of life. Are we creating an environment that keeps the cast and crew working at their best for as long as possible?
  • Clarity of vision. What systems are in place so that different members of the production all know exactly what show they’re making. Is there complete clarity and communication over who has ultimate management and creative control of a show. 

How to disseminate & implement information in Australia

I’ll be sharing this report with the Australian Writers Guild, Film Victoria, Screen Australia, VCA, RMIT, as well as implementing what I’ve learned in my first show as creator, CRAZY FUN PARK, later this year. More conversation and discussion should be encouraged with the people in Australia who are show-runners (Tony Ayres, Louise Fox, Vicki Madden to name three notable trail blazers) as well as their international counterparts (evidenced by the Writers Guild recent conversations with Alexa Jung and Shane Brennan).

 

Keywords: Television, showrunner practices, cable TV, network TV, streaming TV

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