An Answer to NZ’s Broadcasting Industry Dilemma?

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As Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi gets set to decide the New Zealand broadcasting industry’s future with hopefully sound advice that includes a note that the industry is more than just News and Current Affairs, I postulate further on possible answers to our dilemma to stimulate further debate and discussion.

Countries with strong public broadcasters are those with compulsory broadcast licence fees. In Denmark, with a population of just over five million, the licence fee of €332 (NZ$579) generates €4.4 billion (NZ$7,671,308,423). Danish public broadcaster DR operates six TV channels and eight radio channels with this revenue. Norway, which has a similar population to Denmark, has a licence fee of €315. Its public broadaster NRK runs three national TV channels and three national radio channels. Countries that still have licence fees include the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands and South Korea.

A licence fee in New Zealand of just NZ$125 applied to the estimated 1,765,100 households in the country would generate nearly $220 million dollars annually. This would cover the costs to fund Radio NZ ($35 million) and Māori Television ($45 million), administer the licence fee (est. $20 million) and leave $120 million.

If the $120 million were combined with Radio NZ’s $35 mil., a newly created public broadcaster would have $155 million of muscle. This entity could deliver quality News and Current Affairs (est. $50 mil.) and would have $105 million—almost the same level of funding NZ On Air has after the ring-fenced Radio NZ funding is deducted—to create a Public Broadcaster Fund to make great factual and scripted programming for both domestic use and international sales. To help secure the independent production sector’s future, this broadcaster could be required to outsource for factual and scripted ideas and their production. Sales revenue could go back to the broadcaster and the independents to contribute towards their sustainability.

In an added approach, the Government could continue to fund NZ On Air the annual $115 million it now receives. This NZ On Air Fund could be contestable and exclusively for the commercial channels and platforms, both Free-to-Air and those with paywalls. Once again, independent producers could pitch on this contestable fund with a percentage, say 75%, being ring-fenced for the independent sector.

The commercial channels and platforms could be required to pay a commercially appropriate licence fee for this content that acknowledges the real value that local NZ content would bring to them. After all, they are commercial with the Free-to-Airs able to scoop up any advertising revenue going, while the SVODs would get the subscription revenues. Funding levels would be determined by the quality of the idea, the scale of the proposed production and the audience size.

A means to extract revenues from streamers and international serviced productions coming here would need to be found to decrease and hopefully eventually eliminate Government funding in the NZ On Air Fund.

The Public Broadcaster Fund and the NZ On Air Fund should allow for access to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) so that producers can more easily pitch and finance shows that have truly global potential. The NZ On Air Fund should retain the current NZSPG requirements of 25% or more of non-NZ production funding and a minimum of 10% market money to ensure the shows have real international appeal. And while we are at it, the NZSPG’s Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE) minimum should be reduced from $2.5 million to $500k so that films with lower budgets can access NZSPG. Some thought may well have to be given to the QNZPE for TV as well.

The above could potentially solve a number of issues:

  1. Give us a well funded public broadcaster.
  2. Ensure that the independent production community would still exist and be able to make the most of opportunities both domestically and internationally.
  3. Allow the commercial broadcasters and platforms to live to fight another day with all the advertising revenue available while giving them valuable local content.
  4. Make the streamers and international productions contribute to the growth of local IP and production.

All that’s needed for this to occur would be for the NZ public to buy into the need to pay a licence fee.

I would.

Would you and everyone else?

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Auckland – Rehearsal & Performance with Actor/Director Ian Hughes

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Rehearsal & Performance logo

The Rehearsal & Performance series provides regular opportunities for directors and actors to practise their craft. Each workshop brings in an experienced moderator to guide participants as they explore a workshop scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment.

Be part of our last workshop of the year with director/actor Ian Hughes in Auckland.

Moderator

Ian Hughes

Ian Hughes’ breakthrough role was in acclaimed TV series and movie Topless Women Talk About Their Lives. Topless was followed by multiple TV guest parts (Xena, Bliss, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Go Girls) and film roles (He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, Memory and Desire). He wrote, starred and directed in his own Kafkaesque short, The Waiting Room, and toured his acclaimed one-man play Ship Songs.

Ian has worked with many of New Zealand’s top directors including Niki Caro, Peter Jackson and Michael Hurst, and is now primarily a TV and commercials director himself, with work on Step Dave and nearly 300 episodes of Shortland Street.

Preparation

Selected directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand. DEGNZ will provide the scene at least one week in advance.

Cost:
DEGNZ / Equity NZ member – Free
Ngā Aho Whakaari Full member – Free
Non-member – $69

(Includes lunch and tea/coffee)

Register your interest

Registrations close Thursday 14 November, 1PM.

Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If your name is selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

Auckland

When: Sat 30 November, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland

 

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The Rehearsal & Performance series is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ with the support of Equity New Zealand and funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Screenlink: Inside the Engine of Mortal Engines

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Screenlink: Inside the Engine of Mortal Engines

Join 1st Assistant Editor/VFX Editor Dan Best for the rare chance to have an informal look inside the engine room of a multi million dollar VFX heavy feature. Dan will share on handling the logistics involved, the big editorial team required, media walkabout, the skills, the deadlines. The highs and lows of big projects, and surviving a long, long timeframe.

For this Screenlink, DEGNZ will be partnering with our friends at WIFT. Morning tea will be served on arrival. Talk starts at 11am.

WHEN:  Sat 23 November, 10:30AM – 12:30PM
WHERE:  Department of Post, 19 Newton Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1010

RSVP Essential

This free event is open to DEGNZ and WIFT members only as spaces are limited.

DEGNZ members, RSVP to tema@degnz.co.nz (priority will be given to editors; directors are welcome to join our waitlist).

WIFT members, RSVP to office@wiftnz.org.nz.

DEGNZ Best Director and Best Editor Goes to…

Best Director Armagan Ballantyne with DEGNZ President Howard Taylor

Congratulations to our member Armağan Ballantyne for taking home the DEGNZ Best Director award for her short film Hush, presented at the Show Me Shorts 2019 Auckland Opening & Awards Night on October 5th. Hush tells the story of Ava, a young woman who surprises her brother and friends when she suddenly turns up in her small home town with a secret.

Congratulations to Annie Collins for winning DEGNZ Best Editor for 16-minute thriller . In the film, a pregnant woman finds herself alone and in a dangerous situation with a violent gang member.

Annie told the audience that she will be giving her space on stage to emerging editors from now on – short films should be cut by emerging editors. Annie continues to be a mentor to many and lead DEGNZ’s efforts for editors and assistant editors.

 

Annie Collins with DEGNZ President Howard Taylor

Past Winners:

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ has proudly supported excellence in directing and editing at Show Me Shorts since 2009.

 

2018 DEGNZ Best Director Summer Agnew – The Brother
DEGNZ Best Editor Betsy Bauer – Cleaver
2017 DEGNZ Best Director Zoe McIntosh – The World in Your Window
DEGNZ Best Editor Tom Eagles – Do No Harm
2016 DEGNZ Best Director Ned Wenlock – Spring Jam
DEGNZ Best Editor Bryan Shaw – Shout at the Ground
2015 DEGNZ Best Director Alyx Duncan – The Tide Keeper
DEGNZ Best Editor James Cunningham – Accidents, Blunders and Calamities
2014 DEGNZ Best Director Hamish Bennett – Ross & Beth
2013 SDGNZ Best Director Joe Lonie – Honk If You’re Horny
SDGNZ Best Editor Thomas Gleeson – Home
2012 SDGNZ Best Director Sam Kelly – Lambs
SDGNZ Best Editor Jeff Hurrell – Lambs
2011 SDGNZ Best Director Jack Woon – The Great Barrier
SDGNZ Best Editor Lewis Albrow – 3 Hours
2010 SDGNZ Best Director Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland – The Six Dollar Fifty Man
SDGNZ Best Editor Hayley Lake – Make Me
2009 SDGNZ Best Director James Cunningham – Poppy
SDGNZ Best Editor Paul Swadel and James Cunningham – Poppy

Photos courtesy of Show Me Shorts.

2019 Table Reads Round Four

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Guild Table Reads

Calling for actors and directors/writers with scripts for a Table Read on Saturday 30 November!

Round 4 opens on 21 October and closes 15 November, 3pm.

A core cast – max six actors – together with a writer+director team OR writer/director will collaborate on each script-in-development table read. The script must have a director attached and have been through a development process.

Four Table Reads per year on Saturdays @NZWG HQ in Grey Lynn.

Table Reads LogoHow to Submit a Script

DEGNZ and NZWG members are invited to apply for the script component.

Submit a full-length draft feature film script for your name to go into the draw for a day-long table read (names remain for subsequent draws).

WRITER + DIRECTOR* (OR WRITER/DIRECTOR) – Submit script via email to GuildHQ@nzwg.org.nz.

Eligibility:

Please check these details before you enter.

*Both must be a member(s) of NZWG and DEGNZ:

  • A solo Writer/Director must be a member of both NZWG and DEGNZ.
  • In a Writer-Director team, the Writer must be a member of NZWG, AND the Director must be a member of DEGNZ.

When you enter, please include this information:

  • name of writer, and if they belong to NZWG
  • name of director, and if they belong to DEGNZ

Call for Actors for Table Read #4

We are looking for actors to work together with writers and directors on a script-in-development table read. Actors must be members of Equity New Zealand.

Actors, please register your interest below and the NZWG will contact you if you are cast. You will receive a gift card as a nominal appreciation for your participation.

Actor registration has been extended to Monday 18 November, 9am.

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2019 Table Reads

Table Read #1

Open: 21 January
Close: 15 February
Table Read: Sat 23 February

Table Read #2

Open: 15 April
Close: 10 May
Table Read: Sat 18 May

Table Read #3

Open: 8 July
Close: 2 August
Table Read: Sat 10 August

Table Read #4

Open: 21 October
Close: 15 November
Table Read: Sat 30 November (New date)

A joint initiative brought to you by NZWG, DEGNZ & EQUITY Foundation
With warm thanks to the New Zealand Film Commission