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NZ On Air, DEGNZ and Greenstone TV logos

DEGNZ invites applications from directors for two TV Drama Director Attachments with Greenstone TV on the TVNZ 2 drama series Vegas.

Vegas will be produced by Greenstone TV Ltd in collaboration with 10,000 Company and Steambox Film Collective with support from NZ On Air. An action thriller, Vegas follows a young, untested leader who wants to free his people from the curse of methamphetamine, but finds he can’t do it on his own. The story is based on the novel Inside The Black Horse, and will be filmed in Rotorua.

The aim of the attachment programme is to:

  • develop and upskill new television drama directors,
  • contribute to the ongoing production of quality future television drama and
  • provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available.

These attachments are for New Zealand directors who want to move into directing drama for television and already have significant directing experience.

Greenstone TV will train a first step director and a second step director. Each attachment will be present for the duration of the director’s block. Both attachments will attend HOD meetings, will be present for the whole of the director’s prep, receive training on preparation for the shoot, script mark-ups and rehearsals. Each attachment will have time in the edit suite with the director, and will be present for some of the on-line, including the grade and sound mix.

The prep and shoot for both directors will take place in Rotorua. Both attachments will be paid and their accommodation and per diems covered.

First Step Attachment

The successful candidate will attach to lead director Kiel McNaughton and needs to be available for prep and shoot from 21 September to 2 November 2020.

At the full discretion of the director and producer(s), the First Step attachment may be offered the opportunity to direct some scenes within the block.

Second Step Attachment

This Second Step attachment is intended for those directors with significant narrative experience who are ready to make the move into fast-turnaround TV drama, including those who have already done a First Step attachment under the DEGNZ TV Drama Attachment Scheme. The successful candidate will attach to director Mike Smith and needs to be available for prep and shoot from 12 October to 22 November 2020.

At the full discretion of the director and producer(s), the Second Step attachment may be offered the opportunity to direct a full episode within the block.

Eligibility

Applicants must have past dramatic narrative directing experience and a keen interest in television drama.

To be eligible, you MUST:

  1. Be a FULL member of DEGNZ, and
  2. Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and
  3. Have either:
    • Two short film credits publicly screened to a paying audience at an NZFC recommended short film festival*, OR
    • Held a position as the first assistant director of a publicly distributed and released feature film or TV drama series, OR
    • Significant experience directing scripted short-form narrative content (short film, webseries or commercials), OR
    • Won an award for a short film at an NZFC recommended film festival*.

*NZFC recommended film festivals

To apply

Please download the application cover sheet and checklist (PDF 126KB), and submit the following in a single PDF by 5PM, Wednesday 26 August 2020 to admin@degnz.co.nz with ‘Vegas Attachment’ in the subject line:

  1. Completed Application Cover Sheet with links to examples of your directing work. You may provide excerpts from longer-form work. NO showreels.
  2. A CV with a bio and filmography
  3. A reference (from a senior screen industry practitioner)
  4. A maximum 1-page letter that tells us why you think you are suitable for the attachment and what you hope to gain from it.

We will ask you to indicate on the cover sheet which attachment you are most interested in applying for. Shortlists will be developed from applicants. An interview may or may not be required.

DEGNZ will notify you as to whether or not your application has been successful at the latest by 7 September, but no further correspondence will be entered into regarding your application and the decision will be final.

Questions?

Please contact us if you have any questions about the attachments or application requirements.


This initiative is made possible with the support of NZ On Air and Greenstone TV Ltd.

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.

 

2018DEGNZ Best DirectorSummer Agnew – The Brother
DEGNZ Best EditorBetsy Bauer – Cleaver
2017DEGNZ Best DirectorZoe McIntosh – The World in Your Window
DEGNZ Best EditorTom Eagles – Do No Harm
2016DEGNZ Best DirectorNed Wenlock – Spring Jam
DEGNZ Best EditorBryan Shaw – Shout at the Ground
2015DEGNZ Best DirectorAlyx Duncan – The Tide Keeper
DEGNZ Best EditorJames Cunningham – Accidents, Blunders and Calamities
2014DEGNZ Best DirectorHamish Bennett – Ross & Beth
2013SDGNZ Best DirectorJoe Lonie – Honk If You’re Horny
SDGNZ Best EditorThomas Gleeson – Home
2012SDGNZ Best DirectorSam Kelly – Lambs
SDGNZ Best EditorJeff Hurrell – Lambs
2011SDGNZ Best DirectorJack Woon – The Great Barrier
SDGNZ Best EditorLewis Albrow – 3 Hours
2010SDGNZ Best DirectorMark Albiston & Louis Sutherland – The Six Dollar Fifty Man
SDGNZ Best EditorHayley Lake – Make Me
2009SDGNZ Best DirectorJames Cunningham – Poppy
SDGNZ Best EditorPaul Swadel and James Cunningham – Poppy

Photos courtesy of Show Me Shorts.

View from the Top banner

Almost a year ago, the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ membership voted to become a union. At this year’s AGM on Saturday 5 October, DEGNZ will adopt a new constitution that will allow the Guild to formalise its status as a union and affiliate with the Council of Trade Unions.

I thought it worthwhile to provide some background information that will help members to better understand what this change of status is all about.

In trawling the Interweb to find background material to write this op-ed, I came across a two-part article from US entertainment lawyer Christopher Shiller that has essentially done the job for me. Yes, it applies to the US situation for the screen industry but it’s very pertinent to us, particularly with the changes that will come about from the Film Industry Working Group recommendations to Government that DEGNZ was a part of.

Here are the links to that two-part series.

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Guild or Union, Part 1

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Guild or Union, Part 2

At our AGM, the NZ Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff will give an overview of the CTU and speak to the CTU’s perspective on the work being done by the Film Industry Working Group to address the inequities of the Hobbit Law.

I encourage you all to read the articles from the links, and to attend the AGM — this will be a momentous occasion for DEGNZ in regard to its work to ensure the creative, cultural and financial wellbeing of New Zealand directors and editors. Please RSVP to attend the AGM here.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive DIrector

View from the Top banner

It’s hard not to bang on about streaming services when they are continuing to upend the screen industry as we know it.

Media intelligence service FilmTake recently reported that Disney, WarnerMedia, and Apple are expected to spend between US$8 million to $20 million per episode on new drama series.

Amazon has supposedly set aside over a billion US dollars to bring a five-season Lord of the Rings series to Amazon Prime.

There are other epics planning to cash-in on the void left after the conclusion of Game of Thrones include WarnerMedia’s Dune series, Showtime’s Halo, and Apple’s fantasy series See.

Disney+ is also producing a Star Wars series, Mandalorian, which is costing $15 million per episode.

And these are just the TV blockbusters.

The Financial Times reported that in Europe, Netflix will make 221 projects in 2019, including 153 originals.

Netflix has launched its first European production hub in Madrid, targeting Spanish-language production and drama series, which have been a priority and a large source of success for the U.S. streaming giant.

In July of this year, it also announced that it is creating a dedicated production hub, featuring 14 sound stages, workshops and office space, at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom.

In the last year alone, over 25,000 cast, crew and extras have worked on almost 40 Netflix originals and co-productions across Britain.

New Zealand is certainly not missing out on service production for streamers as witnessed most recently by the noise about the Lord of The Rings TV Series potentially being shot here for Amazon. Netflix has already been here with Letter For the King and is currently shooting another.

But are we missing the boat with local IP to satisfy the booming global appetite for content, particularly drama?

Yes, local producers do continue to sell their NZ ON Air and TMP funded content internationally, but that’s been the case for many years now.

NZ formats for the international market have made headway, as most recently attested to by Filthy Productions’ sale of Filthy Rich to the Fox Network.

It’s easy to forget that Rob Tapert has been making TV shows here for the international market for over 25 years—everything from Hercules and Xena to Spartacus and Ash vs Evil Dead.

But there’s nothing new in all this, as it was happening prior to the advent of Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon.

While NZ On Air continues to do the best it can with limited funds for local drama, it’s essentially locked into a myopic approach by its adherence to the Broadcasting Act, and it doesn’t look like it will change that anytime soon.

But there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Screentime has forged into Scandi Noir with its Danish coproduction Straight Forward, now on TVNZ OnDemand, and its soon to be released copro The Gulf, with Paula Boock and Donna Malane’s Lippy Pictures and a German partner.

And we have seen one Netflix Original in Auckland-based Razor Films’ Dark Tourist, while See-Saw Films and Jump TV are into their second series of The New Legends of Monkey for the ABC, TVNZ and Netflix. Almost going unnoticed is Pango Production’s 2018 production All Or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks for Amazon Prime.

But really! Can we survive the onslaught of service production work from streamers in New Zealand and get our own IP out there in more than an occasional way?

There are a number of factors holding us back and one of them is writers. We don’t have enough skilled writers with the experience required to get internationally-focused shows across the line. The NZFC/NZ On Air Raupapa Whakaari Series Drama Lab initiative is seeking to address this by bringing in international-calibre mentors to work on local show ideas with teams here. Hopefully this will bear fruit.

Another is lack of funding. NZ On Air production funding caps out at $6 million, and you can’t access the NZ Screen Production Grant and NZ On Air Funding for the same project. When even middle-of-the-road Aussie shows are being made for the international market at AUD $1.5 to 2 million or more per episode for 6 to 10 eps, you can see the problem. But before you get to production you have to go through development, and the cost for that is going to be anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000. Again, there’s not the funding here for that. Raupapa Whakaari’s matched funding is limited to NZ$50,000 per year.

You might well ask why do we need to create our own IP anyway, and not just be service providers for international productions?

For directors and editors there’s going to be more work on local shows than international ones. The post production is generally not done here for international shows, and there’s only a very small pool of Kiwi directors with the credits to get themselves hired on international productions. That will expand slowly over time, but local shows hire locals, and we are increasing the numbers of Kiwi directors working on NZ On Air dramas.

In the end though, it’s our distinctiveness as Kiwis with Kiwi stories to tell and landscapes to show that provides cut through in the international market. I’m paraphrasing Paula Boock of Lippy Pictures who participated on our Screenlink panel this week along with Mark McNeill of Razor Films and Steven Zanoski of Filthy Productions to discuss ‘Screen Content for the Global Market’. Locally owned IP also brings revenues back to New Zealand when it’s successful, long after production has finished.

I don’t think we are going to miss the boat entirely when it comes to creating our own shows for the streaming giants. But it does sometimes seem like we are standing at the end of the pier watching the ship sailing away and wondering how the hell we are going to get onboard.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

Animals

DEGNZ is excited to present a Directing Masterclass with Australian director/producer Sophie Hyde on Saturday 27 July in Auckland.

In this interactive Masterclass, Sophie will share on how she came to be making film and television and how her projects are able to develop and thrive within the film collective she works within. Participants will look at case studies on the making of feature films 52 Tuesdays and Animals, and series F*!#ing Adelaide and The Hunting

Sophie will discuss what the big challenges have been, about tackling doubts and keeping self-motivated and rigorous during development and through production. The Masterclass will get directors to think about what’s important to them and how this will help them navigate their own projects.

We invite directors to apply now.

About Sophie Hyde

Sophie’s debut fiction film 52 Tuesdays (director/producer/co-writer) won the directing award in World Cinema Dramatic at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale. Her second film Animals, based on Emma Jane Unsworth’s acclaimed novel, premiered at Sundance 2019. Her first episodic series F*!#ing Adelaide, created for ABC iView screened at Berlin Film Festival and Series Mania in 2018. She produced and co-directed acclaimed documentary Life in Movement, winner of the Australian Documentary Prize in 2011 and the Cinedans Jury and Audience prizes.

She also works as a Producer and believes strongly in nurturing new voices. She was recently mentor and executive producer on A Field Guide to Being A 12-year-old-girl, which won the short film Crystal Bear at Berlin last year. She produced Matt Bate’s feature documentaries Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure and Sam Klemke’s Time Machine, and Maya Newell’s In My Blood It Runs. She has just finished production as creator/director/producer of The Hunting, a 4×1 hour series for SBS.

Animals screens at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2019. Sophie will be attending Q+A screenings in Auckland.

Masterclass Details

Price: DEGNZ members/NAW Full members – Free, Non-members $95. Lunch and refreshments provided.

When: Sat 27 July, 9am – 5pm

Where: Saint Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, Auckland

After the masterclass, DEGNZ Full members attending from outside the Auckland region can apply for a travel allowance of up to $250.

How to Apply

Application Deadline: 9AM, Friday 19 July 2019

STEP 1: Complete the application form below.

STEP 2: Send your filmography OR CV with filmography in PDF to tema@degnz.co.nz.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

 

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This workshop is brought to you with the generous support of the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society and the New Zealand Film Commission.

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