I want to write and tell stories.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

$100m showtime

$100m showtime
03-01-2006
From: The Daily Telegraph

The Matrix

A GROUP of actors, directors, producers and bankers is trying to set up a major Australian film studio that churns out big budget, internationally successful movies.

But it will require a lot of money, with the group assembled by investment company Mullis Capital Independent hoping to pull together up to $100 million worth of films in the next few years.

The names behind the project include American producer Barrie Osborne of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings fame, Australian actor Hugo Weaving, director Fred Schepisi and Richard Keddie, the Melbourne-based producer of Little Fish. Simon McKeon, executive chairman of Macquarie Bank's Melbourne office, is also involved.

Mullis hopes to draw on this pool of expertise after winning the right to establish a Film Licensed Investment Company (FLIC) by the Federal Government, which gives tax incentives for film financing.

The FLIC will receive a 100 per cent upfront tax deduction on up to $10 million raised in each of 2005/06 and 2006/07.

But the Mullis FLIC hopes to raise up to five times that amount. Mr McKeon said the FLIC hoped to come up with five to six films over the next few years, each with a budget of about $10-20 million.

"It's not just a one-film project. There's very much a focus on creating a business here which goes on and on," he said.

"A studio in the US is all about sustainability. We have never really done that in this country before."

Australian movies do not have a good record when it comes to returns, with most struggling to make an impact at the box office in competition with the deluge of Hollywood blockbusters.
Mr McKeon blamed this on the tendency for Australian films to be funded by government grants, which have been used to foster new or emerging filmmakers. So experienced directors such as Peter Weir and actors like Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman head overseas.

"We can't put our head in the sand and say this has been a fantastic industry," Mr McKeon said.
"We have a history here in Australia, particularly with these FLIC companies, of the low end of filmmaking.

"There has also been a strong history of encouraging first-time filmmakers.
"[The Mullis FLIC's] vision is about creating something that's long term, sustainable and very high quality - the term in the film world is 'high end'.

"Very good scripts, telling for the most part Australian stories - stories that lend themselves to international audiences.

"As much as anything, to provide hopefully enticing opportunities for all that creativity that we have ended up exporting, particularly to the US."
Interesting article, and one that would be very welcome. With Mac Bank behind them, it could get going. For overseas visitors, that is not a bank run by Ronald McDonald, that would be our Reserve Bank - think your Fed.
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This point:
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Australian movies do not have a good record when it comes to returns, with most struggling to make an impact at the box office in competition with the deluge of Hollywood blockbusters. Mr McKeon blamed this on the tendency for Australian films to be funded by government grants, which have been used to foster new or emerging filmmakers. So experienced directors such as Peter Weir and actors like Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman head overseas.
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is one I don't tend to agree with. They just don't seem to make movies that people outside (or sometimes inside of) Australia want to watch. It is fair enough having an Australian flavour in a film, IF it enhances it, if it is done for parochilism, then to me it is just an exercise in national self love. Maybe that's it? Perhaps it has already caused a form of blindness........there you go, your parents where right! :)
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Good to be home, MIL and I ended up saying virtually nothing to each other for the last few days. Stayed at their house, as the kids were enjoying their company and am not going to deny them that, so sucked it up and just wrote :) Good fun!
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My brother in law is interested in screenwriting, has read a few books, etc, so we had some good discussions. His interest was started without him knowing I was writing as well. Wonder what the future will hold there.
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Nice guy, will see if he takes it any further than a passing interest, which by the way it is far more than that for me.. Paul Guyot over at Inkslinger has a very good verbal kick in the butt for us spec monkeys.
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Anyone that may have come by here from Assistant Atlas (who surprisingly, and most graciously linked me, who'd have thought he would read me, makes me laugh) thinking that the virginscreenwriter might actually be a pro, who knows what the hell he is doing, and just used that title as a joke, and is looking for advice.....sorry to disappoint you, I know shit.
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Hey, I am making progress, I have that FADE IN: thing happening...got it down pat, I have read some pro's lscripts and they have used FADE IN ON:, but that is just too out there for me at the moment.
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I know that you no longer start the screenplay with
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WAIT 'TIL YOU READ THIS SHIT:
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or
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COMMENCE READING MY MASTERPIECE, PREPARE TO BE AWESTRUCK BY ITS BRILLIANCE:
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or
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READY, SET, GO!!!!!!!!!! (you only use one exclamation mark, yes, us silly newbies, mind you, it could work in a script about the Olympic Track Sprint Team, so just keep this one in mind).
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Best I can do, is try and make you laugh, if I accomplish that, then I am happy.
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I don't normally make New Year Resolutions.....I try to steer away from any sort of resolution whatsoever, however, in the spirit of the New Year, and the fact that nearly all NY Resolutions are broken, here are mine:
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1. I will not sleep with Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, or Eva Mendes.
2. I will not finish any screenplays this year.
3. I am going to enjoy my current job.
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Anymore than three, and you really have to chart the suckers :)
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Happy New Year to everyone, I hope it goes well for you all.
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cheers
Dave.

4 Comments:

At 10:58 am, Blogger writergurl said...

Welcome back!

I hope you (or better yet... me) breaks your #1 resolution this year!

 
At 2:16 pm, Blogger Konrad West said...

The Return of the Virgin. ;)

I think that Australian films tend to suck because everyone is worried about making a true "Australian" film, and forgets to worry about a story worth telling.

Muriel's Wedding is great because it is uniquely Australian, as is Strictly Ballroom. These work because they are strong stories combined with quality satire of parts of Australian culture.

Bad Boy Bubby, on the other hand, could be set in England or the US, and the story would still work perfectly.

I wish Aussie filmmakers would forget about making "Australian", and concentrate on making "good".

PS: Good luck with the resolutions. ;)

 
At 7:06 pm, Blogger Chris (UK Scriptwriter) said...

I hope it works.

The one thing I hate about the British film industry is that they push the 'British' thing too much. Why can't they just release the film and let it stand on it's own feet without pushing us into some patriotic guilt trip to get us to watch it. It's always:

"The best British film since X"

Where X happens to be the last British film.

Ohhh that sounded like I was on a soap box :)

 
At 1:10 am, Blogger Konrad West said...

That sounds like the Australian AFI awards, where essentially every Australian film gets nominated (all 5 of them), and then the least crap one gets picked.

I wish they'd just announce that "look, they're all crap, so no awards this year."

 

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