Lights, career advice and action for aspiring North Coast film and media creators

There’s no place like home to pursue a career in film or digital media thanks to a thriving Australian industry, Kristi Pritchard-Owens reports.

People in  panel sitting on chairs in front of television cameras People in  panel sitting on chairs in front of television cameras
Image: Veteran Australian screenwriter Deb Cox joined a Q&A panel that mimicked a television show at Screen Futures

More than 25 years after making a splash with SeaChange, co-creator and writer Deb Cox knows exactly how to hold an audience.

Two hundred high school students from across the Northern Rivers were riveted to their seats as she and other industry experts answered questions and offered advice at the Screen Futures – Pathways to Careers in Film and Digital Media industry day at Lennox Head on Bundjalung land on the NSW north coast.

“I began in the 1980’s and women were only then having roles in television where they were professionals, where they were doctors, they were lawyers; you know it’s hard to imagine now,” Ms Cox told the Year 10, 11 and 12 students.

”Looking back and making sense of the story now, I was fired up about why women weren’t represented in the ways women were in the world.”

A proud supporter of Australia’s film and television industry, the co-creator and co-producer of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries also ran workshops delving into the secrets of screenwriting.

“Screen Futures is a wonderful way to connect North Coast students with a broad range of screen professionals, to inform and inspire them to become part of the next generation of an exciting growth industry and a great opportunity in turn to learn about their aspirations,” Ms Cox said. “I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.”

While screenwriting was popular, so too were workshops in auditioning for screen, special effects, filming with a drone, working with multicams, podcasting, digital marketing and many others.

Students watching two actors audtioning Students watching two actors audtioning
Image: The screen auditioning workshops with ‘Teen Beach Movie’ star Maia Mitchell was very popular.

Talon Keogh was one of the students making the most of what the day had to offer.

“Media’s become one of the more modern ways of expressing yourself, especially amongst all of us younger creators,” the Tweed River High School student said

“I really think it’s important and I’m glad we’ve had a convention like this to learn from.

“I’ve learned there’s a lot more to the camera angles, the amount of cameras you can have in a scene and ways to use that.”

Teachers and careers advisors were also able to participate in a roundtable, ensuring they could continue to provide the best advice to their students as they continue along their career pathways.

Training Services NSW Manager Partnerships, Nick Minto, said it was about inspiring students and providing them with the opportunity to explore different careers in film and media.

“It’s really important to provide place-based, region-specific events,” Mr Minto said.

“There’s a big TV and film industry here on the North Coast and we want to support that.”

Screen Futures is an initiative of the Regional Industry Education Partnerships (RIEP) program which connects schools with employers and industry across New South Wales.

Portraint of four high school students and one woman actor Portraint of four high school students and one woman actor
Image: Networking: these Year 10 Tweed River High students made sure to snap a selfie with singer/actor Maia Mitchell.
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