Posts

View from the Top banner

Considering the significant impact of COVID on the entertainment industry, it’s hard not to be pleased with the incredible amount of activity going on in the New Zealand screen industry right now.

New Zealand is being seen as a good, safe destination to shoot in, with a number of international productions happening and others wanting to come in. This means crews are busy and getting paid well, more New Zealand actors are getting cast in roles that at another time would have gone to internationals, and the economic impact of the spend is going around the country.

As well, New Zealand productions, whether domestic or coproduction, are also happening. Vegas in Rotorua, One Lane Bridge in Queenstown, Mystic’s going again, Head High has gotten another series, The Panthers is shooting. These are just some of the bigger ones, in addition to the many small and medium-sized productions that typically get made in any given year.

Producers are lining up with projects for the Premium Drama Fund. A number of these will shoot this year. Shortly, the development component of the PDF will come out. All this on top of the typical funding from our three content funding bodies.

What’s the problem? Well crew rates and budgets for a start.

Crew are putting their prices up because demand exceeds supply, making it very difficult for NZ productions to get highly experienced crew. So if you’ve got an inexperienced teenager, relative or friend who’s been longing to get into film and TV, there’s never been a better time.

Budgets from the funding bodies for regular production haven’t increased, which means NZ can’t compete with their international dollars. The Premium Fund projects have hopefully taken increased rates into account, but for right now this is a one-off fund. Now is the time to lobby Government for more money for the funding bodies. This is particularly the case for NZFC as filmmakers are essentially paying—not getting paid—to make their low-budget films. While independently-funded films often operate in this way, it shouldn’t be the case for films funded by NZFC.

On the big picture front, we’ve heard that the Screen Industry Workers Bill is walking at tortoise pace while the government puts the afterburner on Fair Pay Agreements. Movement is happening on the proposed pan-sector body The Copyright Act Review is stuck in limbo. Considerable effort is going into the shaping and establishment of the Workforce Development Councils, driven out of the Reform of Vocational Education. This is a real positive for the screen sector as it will hopefully provide pathways into screen sector work that will address the shortages we face on the crew side particularly, but also in other areas.

Frankly, though, we are in a pretty good place considering. Now we just have to pray like hell that those COVID variants don’t wreak havoc on what could be a very good year for us all.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

Director attachments on Vegas: Tim Worrall and Cian Elyse White

DEGNZ members Tim Worrall and Cian Elyse White have attached to new drama series Vegas with Greenstone TV under the Guild’s TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme.

Both attachments will get to follow their director from prep onwards, until the grade and sound mix.

Tim Worrall (Ngai Tūhoe, Te Arawa) is the successful Second Step attachment and will attach to director Mike Smith for his block, beginning in mid-October.

Cian Elyse White (Ngāti Pikiao, Tūhoe, Tainui, Te Whānau a Ruataupare) has been selected for the First Step attachment to Vegas lead director Kiel McNaughton. Cian is finishing the first week of her attachment, which goes until November 2.

We had an impressive response to our call for applications. DEGNZ warmly congratulates our newest attachments and thanks NZ On Air and Greenstone TV for supporting this initiative.


Tim Worrall

Tim has worked as a writer, director or consultant on a number of productions including: Pukana; Shortland Street; Jackson’s Wharf; Whalerider; Radiradirah; Kairakau; Only in Aotearoa; This is Piki; and Fresh. He is also a member of the Māori collective Steambox Films and has directed the award winning short films: The Road to Whakarae; Tits on a Bull; Meke; Koutuku Rerenga Rua; and Māori Time. Recently he has been a co-lead writer and director for the TV3 drama series Head High; writer of the feature film Whawhai Tonu – Struggle Without End (advanced development funding from NZFC); co-writer/director for anthology feature film Ngā Pouwhenua (scheduled for production February 2021); writer of the TVNZ documentary series Origins (currently screening on TV1); storyliner for TVNZ drama series Vegas; writer and director for Tappy, an episode of the new TVNZ supernatural drama series.

Tim Worrall

Cian Elyse White

Cian has had an extensive career in professional theatre, TV and film as an actress. In 2017, Cian wrote her Te Reo Māori short film Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro) which received the Fresh 30K grant in 2018 and won the 2020 NZIFF Best Shorts audience award. Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro) has also been selected for Show Me Shorts, ImagiNATIVE, Asinabka, Hawaiian International Film Festival and was the first NZ film to be selected for Geena Davis Bentonville Film Festival in August this year. In March 2020, Cian was one of eight selected to partake in FilmUP run by Script to Screen. Cian is currently in pre-production for her next short film PUHI.


Cian Elyse White

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.