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The vocational education system for all industries is undergoing massive reform right now. It’s come at a time when the New Zealand screen industry has been suffering from a lack of experienced workers due to the high levels of domestic and international production going on in the country.

It has also brought to the fore concerns about the lack of real-world preparation of students by film schools and media courses at tertiary education facilities. The industry needs workers to hit the ground running and that’s just not happening with the current levels of haphazard training that’s going on.

In 2018, the Government launched the Education Work Programme. One of the four reviews undertaken was the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) tasked with undertaking structural change.

Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were established to assist with the structural change. The Screen Industry falls under Toi Mai, the WDC for Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology.

A small number of guilds including DEGNZ have together with WeCreate (former Copyright Council), the Council of Trade Unions and others been working to ensure that our WDC is getting the right input so that the resulting vocational education is fit-for-purpose for the screen industry. Recent appointments to Toi Mai reflect our efforts to have people with screen industry knowledge and experience involved:

  • Alice Shearman of the New Zealand Writers Guild as a screen union rep
  • Aliesha Staples, founder and CEO of Staples VR and a TVNZ board member
  • Annie Murray, Head of Sky Originals at Sky
  • Jana Rangooni, former General Manager Radio Live and Newsroom and Group Programme Director at Mediaworks
  • Rhonda Kite, previously owner of Kiwa Productions and audio post house Native Audio
  • Victoria Spackman, ex CEO of the Gibson Group

Right now, guilds and associations are mapping out career pathways to identify the skills needed for each individual role. Determinations will be made as to whether or not apprenticeships are suited to certain roles, while others may require trainees.

We will be involved in creating Skill Standards building to micro-credentials for new entrants coming into the industry. The overall outcome is to have a simple, efficient and appropriate vocational education delivered via the various educational providers. At the same time we seek an administration system that suits the very unique nature of project-based work that happens in the screen industry.

DEGNZ board member Annie Collins is now leading the work on behalf of DEGNZ, SPADA, SIGANZ, SMSG and NZWG, all of whom have been active in this space for the last two years or so. We are now going out to everyone in the screen industry to bring them up to speed with what’s happening.

RoVE is a massive undertaking that will impact on every industry in New Zealand. For the screen industry, we have undertaken this work so that it can develop and grow its capacity and capability to service productions well into the future with skilled workers who have the right education and training to make a positive contribution from Day One.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Know Your Rights nationwide tour of workshops have added two new dates to the tour!

HAMILTON – Saturday 3 July 2021
Book here

AUCKLAND in conjunction with Ngā Aho Whakaari – Saturday 7 August 2021
Book here

The Know Your Rights Workshop is a ‘must-do’ for any actor, director, editor or writer who seeks a successful career in the New Zealand screen industry, arming you with the knowledge, information and resources you need to negotiate and collaborate successfully and work sustainably.

The next three workshops will be held in Auckland on Friday 25 June, Wellington Friday 30 July and Rotorua Saturday 31 July, with spaces still available! Book your free ticket & lunch here.

Joining the three Executive Directors of the guilds to present on topics will be legal firm Hudson Gavin Martin (experts in media and IP law) and production accountant Natalie Doherty.

Each workshop will be run from 9.30AM to 4.30PM, with lunch provided, in a series of joint and breakout sessions, and will also cover off on topics including:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Copyright
  • The difference between employer and contractor
  • Breakout sessions with specific rights, contracting and career information for Writers, Directors and Editors, and Performers
  • At the Auckland Workshop on August 7, an additional breakout option is available for Māori screen practitioners with Ngā Aho Whakaari Executive Director Hineani Melbourne.
  • Tips and advice on company structures, how to handle taxes, GST, per diems and expenses and more

Tour Dates 2021:

Auckland – Friday 12 March | COMPLETED
Dunedin – Friday 26 March | COMPLETED
Christchurch – Friday 30 April | COMPLETED
Wellington – Friday 21 May | COMPLETED
Nelson – Friday 22 May | COMPLETED
Auckland – Friday 25 June
Hamilton – Saturday 3 July
Wellington – Friday 30 July
Rotorua – Saturday 31 July
Auckland – Saturday 7 August

NB: Venues confirmed closer to the dates

Book HERE for any of the upcoming workshops.

 

These workshops are brought to you with the financial support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  

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I was listening to a podcast this morning in which Eliza Hittman, the director of the feature film Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always was being interviewed. It very clearly highlighted to me that she is a talented filmmaker, although I have yet to see this film or any of her others. She just talked like one, both in terms of her writing and her directing. But something caught my ear as she was discussing her work, and that was the praise that she had for her editor.

Now I’d have to say it was brief, and understandably so. The interviewer was pressing her on her approach to filmmaking and she was trying to respond succinctly to his questions.

But in pondering what to write about this week it made me want to highlight the craft of editing that can so often go unacknowledged, whether it be in features, drama, or any other genre. Sure, we have awards that bestow upon the editor some recognition, but in general conversation both within and outside of the industry you rarely hear someone say that the editing was amazing.

Of course it’s not that easy to single out editing, in big part because the best editing is invisible according to many of the greats who practise the craft at the highest levels.

It can be easy to think that editing is a technical craft, particularly since digital technology took over the edit suite. Yes, button pushing, technical wizardry and digital manipulation have replaced scissors and tape. Editing operates though at both a conscious and an unconscious level—feel, mood, pace, tension—these and all the other elements of filmmaking are as much the realm of the editor as they are of the director.

As in Eliza’s case, the person most likely to complement the editor is the director, particularly in features. They generally are true collaborators crafting the work together: Scorsese with Schumacher, Caro with Coulson, Pooley with Woodhouse. You don’t have to dig deep to see where the director – editor bond exists, and stays when the connection is found.

In television, it’s more often the producer who appoints the editor or editors to a project. And most producers know a good editor can save their bacon. Smart directors quickly figure this out as well.

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have a lot of good editors. On the DEGNZ board, Annie Collins, Francis Glenday, Margot Francis. Peter Roberts, former President of DEGNZ, another. Current President Howard Taylor, who now firmly sits in the director seat, started out and worked for many years as an editor. And we have many other current and past members who have made their mark as editors on both New Zealand and international features and shows. As well, we see in our workshops and through the work we are exposed to new generations of editors who are grasping both the craft and the art that makes great editing.

Next time you watch something great on the big or small screen, take some time to find out who the editor was if it’s not something you do already, and look them up. They will have made a big a contribution to your enjoyment most likely because you didn’t notice it.

So let’s move that rarely said acknowledgement to sometimes or always, making editors and editing a little more real to everyone.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

The three screen unions being the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ, Equity New Zealand and the New Zealand Writers Guild are pleased to announce the launch of a series of ‘Know Your Rights’ workshops at nine locations around New Zealand.

The workshops are for members and non-members of the guilds and intended to:

  • demystify contracts,
  • improve business management skills for contractors,
  • provide insight into the Screen Industry Worker Bill,
  • and allow each of the guilds to speak directly to specifics related to the careers of actors, writers, directors and editors.

Joining the three executive directors of the guilds to present on topics will be legal firm Hudson Gavin Martin (experts in media and IP law) and production accountant Natalie Doherty. Each workshop will be run from 9AM to 5PM in a series of joint and breakout sessions, and will also cover off on topics including:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Copyright
  • The difference between employer and contractor
  • Tips and advice on company structures, how to handle taxes, GST, per diems and expenses and more

Nine workshops are planned with two each in Auckland and Wellington, and one each in Dunedin, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington, Nelson, and Rotorua. The date for the first workshop is 12 March in Auckland.

The ‘Know Your Rights’ Workshop is a ‘must-do’ for any actor, director, editor or writer who seeks a successful career in the New Zealand screen industry, arming you with the knowledge, information and resources you need to negotiate and collaborate successfully and work sustainably.

 

Know Your Rights Workshop – Auckland

Price: Free – Tickets/spaces limited. Preference given to members. Book your seat now on Eventbrite.
Date: Workshop 1 – 12th March 2021
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm (9am arrival for a 9:30am start)
Venue: Click Studios – 145 Carrington Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland

 

Tour Dates 2021:

Auckland – Friday 12 March | Friday 25 June
Dunedin – Friday 26 March
Christchurch – Friday 30 April
Queenstown – Saturday 1 May
Wellington – Friday 21 May | Friday 30 July
Nelson – Friday 22 May
Rotorua – Saturday 31 July

Book your seat on Eventbrite

NB: Venues confirmed closer to the dates

 

These workshops are brought to you with the financial support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  

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With the vaccine within sight and just when we thought all we had to worry about was who was going to win the America’s Cup… here we go again.

It’s only through the news, our friends and other sources do we comprehend the horror of what COVID has perpetrated on many parts of the world. Our experience has been minor in comparison. The low numbers of check-ins using the COVID app has highlighted the nonchalance with which many Kiwis have treated the threat. And now here it is amongst us once more.

Fortunately, many productions schooled through our last lockdowns have maintained their vigilance and practices. A visit to Amazon’s Lord of the Rings studio locations highlighted that. Screensafe’s and SIGANZ’s considerable effort, with all the guilds and associations pitching in, means we have the resources and now the experience to provide the safest environment possible for production amidst a pandemic. Let’s hope we don’t have to rely on these for too long.

The fund NZFC and NZ On Air operates for COVID-hit productions has already been used by a large number of projects. How much money is still available has suddenly become a pressing issue. As will the availability of more if we are faced with a longer time in lockdown.

We got away almost unscathed from the Pullman outbreak. This looks much more serious with the UK variant of the virus confirmed in the community cases.

In the meantime, DEGNZ will continue to operate as we did through Levels 2, 3, and 4. We are all working from home, so office hours are essentially the same as usual. Once more we have to adjust our events to cope with the situation. We will be communicating with you about any workshop or event that was already on our calendar and that may be affected.

As always, the guild will be available to our director and editor members with advice or assistance, so do not hesitate to reach out. Hopefully, we will not have to take on a bigger picture role because of a prolonged lockdown period—having done a lot of work already, the screen sector is in a lot better shape than it was the first time around.

As I sit in front of my computer at home listening to the rain falling on a vege garden and property that welcomes it with open arms, and another sunny weekend just gone, I sincerely wish that all is over by midnight Wednesday. I will then be able to look forward to the coming weekend, which will hopefully deliver good surf so that I can try out my new surfboard lying untested in its bag in the carport.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director