By James Manning
Last October Screen Queensland appointed Kylie Munnich to take over the state funded business. Munnich arrived in Brisbane from Seven Studios in Sydney which was the latest position she held in a career that included time in London with Sky Vision and Sony Pictures Television International.
Screen Queensland has been helping support the production sector through the COVID-19 impact and is ready to come out the other side and resume working to grow the industry.
“Being originally from Queensland, this was a great opportunity to move back to my home state after a long time away,” Munnich told Mediaweek. “I have a varied and long career in film and television both in the UK and Australia covering distribution, acquisition and development and it felt like a good way to bring all my commercial discipline to a state agency that has a very good reputation.”
Munnich said Screen Queensland works to support the creation of film, television and games in the state. “We are there to support and grow the business both locally and internationally. We support local creators to begin their careers and maintain those careers in Queensland. We attract international productions we know bring a lot of investment into the state and create many, many jobs for local cast and crew. We are also attracting productions from around Australia into Queensland because we have two amazing facilities – Village Roadshow and Screen Queensland studios – and we have locations that are world beaters.
“My job is to make sure all of that runs smoothly, that we grow the state as a destination for production and that we encourage creatives wherever they are in the state to produce their best work and give them the opportunity to stay in Queensland and work in the industry.”
While attracting major movie projects to the state – Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok and Pirates of the Caribbean and others – makes lot of headlines, Munnich noted there are plenty of other initiatives taking place.
The restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 have presented immediate problems for Queensland producers, crew and cast. It also meant that production suspension would impact development and the creatives who were waiting for those productions.
“We released we need to react quickly to support the industry where we could. That is why we announced the $3.3m support package in early April, to support areas we could while production was halted.”
The organisation didn’t waste any time allocating those funds with Munnich noting most of it has been distributed. “It is all committed, going to a number of initiatives, and we tried to make sure we got it out the door quickly. The allocations were designed to ensure that when production starts again that people have been able to advance their projects during the shutdown as much as possible.”
Regarding a sector restart, Munnich and Screen Queensland has been working with producers who have been on hiatus. Those projects include Harrow season 3 (Hoodlum), The Bureau of Magical Things season 2 (Jonathan M. Shiff) and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis feature film. “We have worked with the Queensland Government and Queensland Health to enable people to start production again. There will be an announcement quite soon about the first production to roll in Queensland.” As to which projects will return when production is permitted again, Munnich said: “I am confident everything will be back. A lot of those people didn’t qualify for JobKeeper due to the nature of their work so it is really critical that crew and cast can get back to work.”
Once production starts in the state again, Screen Queensland can also get back to its 2020 to-do list. “We have had some real momentum about international productions wanting to come to Queensland and we have the reputation of being able to host those big productions. When the industry restarts we are really keen to demonstrate that Queensland and Australia is a safe destination for international producers. We are having conversations every week with US and some UK producers who are looking to Australia to bring productions here later in 2020 or 2021.
“When international producers saw how Australia and Queensland managed the public health issue of COVID-19 they saw it as a safe destination.”
Although there is competition between the various state film and TV bodies to secure productions for their states, Munnich said she speaks with the other state bodies regularly as to how the give the country the best chance to get rolling again. “There are huge amounts of co-operation. Of course we compete with each other because we try to attract productions to our own states and we all feel our states are best.”
Screen Queensland in action
• In the 2018–19 financial year Screen Queensland invested in 32 film and television screen productions and games, which generated an estimated $262 million in direct Queensland Production Expenditure (QPE) and more than 2,600 employment opportunities for Queenslanders.
• More than 340 film and video production and post-production businesses and digital game businesses operate in Queensland, employing up to 3017 people.
• In 2016–17, Queensland’s screen industry contributed an estimated $981 million to the Queensland economy. In this same period, it is estimated the Queensland screen industry supported 7180 full-time equivalent positions across the sector from content creation to final audience consumption.
Top Photos:Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich (Photo: Jade Ellis)
National Geographic Australia & New Zealand this week launches a six-part documentary series from Essential Media and Beyond International, titled Nature’s Fury, which examines the devastating impact mother nature can have on us all.
The new series will premiere on National Geographic from Thursday June 11 2020 at 8.30pm AEST.
Nature’s Fury will examine how Australasia’s weather is evolving and mutating by reviewing some of the worst natural disasters over the past decade.
Nature’s Fury will also examine why events that were previously considered “once in a generation” have now become so commonplace.
Brendan Dahill, general manager for Essential Media said: “We are delighted to be working with both National Geographic and Beyond International to create a series that could not be more timely nor relevant right now – considering the extreme weather conditions we have witnessed here in Australia in the past 12 months – from drought, to bush fires and catastrophic flooding.”
Mikael Borglund, CEO & managing director of Beyond International said: “We are really proud to have worked on this series with Essential Media. As well as co-producing the show, we are also launching it to international buyers for distribution worldwide. Having experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our country’s history, I’m sure this series will provoke further interest from international viewers as well as those here in Australia.”
Nicole Keeffe, content & program manager National Geographic Australia & New Zealand, said: “This series showcasing how amazing yet devastating the Australian environment can be is something that all viewers of National Geographic can relate to. Essential Media has a great history of telling Australian stories so we are looking forward to bringing Nature’s Fury to our viewers.”
ABC Commercial has announced the sale of the observational series Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian (HD 3×60’) to the UK public broadcaster BBC.
Produced by Southern Pictures, the series follows the celebrated film and television personality Miriam Margolyes on a two-month, 10,000 kilometre road trip as she digs deep under the skin of modern Australian life to reveal the complex reality of her recently adopted homeland. On this journey of a lifetime British born Margolyes explores the Australian dream, mateship and the idea of ‘the lucky country’.
ABC Commercial’s head of content sales & distribution Jessica Ellis said “Miriam brings such disarming candor and perception to this incredibly entertaining series. If anyone can get to the heart of the nation and bring together audiences of all ages it’s Miriam with her incredibly smart, inquisitive, naughty and honest personality.” Ellis added, “We’re thrilled to be working with the BBC to bring this wonderful series to UK audiences.”
Southern Pictures executive producer Laurie Critchley said: “Miriam is able to shine a light on things that other people miss. While she can have a kind of bull-in-a-china-shop energy, it’s always coupled with her incredible powers of empathy, insight, humour and an open mind. Miriam is upfront about being a new Australian with a lot to learn — and we were amazed how she connected with everyone she met. I’m extremely proud that our series will be part of the BBC’s line-up for 2020. Miriam and Australia are an irresistible combination.”
Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian is a Southern Pictures Production with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and Screen Territory. Series created by Southern Pictures, directed by Liz Allen and produced by Ross Wilson. Executive Produced by Laurie Critchley and Aline Jacques.
The Buzzsaw, an online tool that strips the buzzwords out of press releases, speeches and blog posts, has announced its awards for the worst jargon of 2020.
The 2020 winner’s list reflects this year’s most frequent submissions to www.thebuzzsaw.co.uk, now in its 10th year.
The top 15 list is based on frequency of submissions from editors and correspondents, principally in Australia, the UK and the US.
The Buzzsaw is compiled and maintained by PR strategist Hamish Thompson who has worked with more than 150 businesses worldwide to promote better communication.
Paste a press release or speech into the Buzzsaw and the document is checked against a database of thousands of buzzwords and clichés. The document is returned with all matches struck through in red.
The Buzzsaw is used by thousands of organisations worldwide.
The 2020 Buzzsaw Hall of Shame (Comments below are supplied by judges)
•‘Curated’. Judge’s comment: “A word that has been brutalised by Hipster culture. Google practically anything – potatoes, burgers, you name it – and there’ll be a curated list somewhere in the world. To make it worse, lists are often ‘carefully curated’, which is tautologous.”
• ‘Content’. Judge’s comment: “Second only to the vacuum of space as the emptiest thing in the universe. It’s like calling literature or journalism ‘words’. It’s the high watermark in the commoditisation of writing.”
• ‘Disambiguate’. Judge’s comment: “A word that rather cleverly obscures the thing it seeks to clarify. Like spraying mud on windows to clean them.”
• ‘Human Capital’. Judge’s comment: “The latest in the personnel department’s march towards balance sheet.”
• ‘The new normal’. Judge’s comment: “Unfortunately it is catching on. I get hundreds of emails a week that reference this phrase.”
• ‘In the time of Covid’. Judge’s comment: “Gabriel Garcia Marquez it ain’t.”
• ‘Reach out’. Judge’s comment: “My standard response is ‘back off’.”
• ‘Circle back’. Judge’s comment: “Sigh. Incoming Halley’s Comet press release.”
• ‘Ideation’. Judge’s comment: “A bold attempt to make a bad idea sound better than it is by diverting our attention.”
• ‘Bake’. Judge’s comment: “Please stop using this as a noun. It is a loaf or a cake. It is not a bake.”
• ‘Fake news’. Judge’s comment: “An oxymoron of such heft that only a moron could coin it. Unfortunately it has caught on.”
• ‘Mainstream media’. Judge’s comment: “A tedious blamefest, thinly disguising a lack of ability to debate properly.”
•n‘We remain cautious’. Judge’s comment: “On a quarterly basis, listed companies invite their advisors to visit them and help them draft their financial results statement, including the outlook statement. These three opaque words are the most overused and expensive a company will ever buy.”
• ‘Going forward…’. Judge’s comment: “I long for the day someone writes ‘going backward’.”
• ‘Solutions’. Long-time Hall of Shame member, best exemplified by the sticker company that describes itself as ‘a global leader in adhesive labelling solutions’.
• ‘Prepone’: Judge’s comment: “A word that seems to mean that something has been brought forward, potentially resulting in a missed flight, etc.”
• ‘Best’: Judge’s comment: “As a sign-off on an email, this feels really ill-judged. If you can’t be bothered to say ‘best wishes’ or ‘best regards’, it’s not a great start, is it?”
• ‘Preneur’: Judge’s comment: “Rule of thumb: if someone describes themselves as an entrepreneur, they probably aren’t. Worse still ‘cakepreneur’, ‘burgerpreneur’, etc. Fun game: try putting ANY word in front of preneur and googling it. Chances are, there is one.”
• ‘Awesome’: Judge’s comment: “Not since the devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar, has something devalued as much as the word ‘awesome’. To be full of awe in the presence of a tea towel or poached egg is setting a very low bar.”
Top Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
By James Manning
• Seven claims second win as new Big Brother housemates arrive
• Big Brother audience holds over 800,000 for both parts episode 2
• MasterChef cleans up all people and demos as curry cooks Sarah
Seven News 1,170,000/1,147,000
Nine News 1,111,000/1,040,000
A Current Affair 807,000
ABC News 800,000
The Project 363,000/572,000
10 News 409,000/271,000
The Drum 227,000
News Breakfast 196,000
SBS World News 181,000
Seven: Big Brother has backed up well for its second episode on Seven after the format was out of the marketplace for several years. Seven ranked #1 network and channel all people and in key demos in every metro market. For the Big Brother timeslot (it ran later than MasterChef) Seven is also reporting all people and demo leadership.
The program has supercharged Seven’s timeslot by +55% week-on-week. The VPM audience is up significantly too with ep 1 now with a VPM of 126,000 while ep 2 so far has 38,000.
The series saw four new housemates sneak in at 1am and they crept through the house to find their beds. They managed the complete the task which gave all housemates a reward of a Sunday roast. A nomination challenge took place in the backyard which was transformed into a winter wonderland. Garth was the winner and got to nominate three for eviction. Allan received 12 votes and became the second out this season.
Big Brother 2020 launch week
Monday Big Brother Arrival 853,000
Monday Big Brother 866,000
Monday Big Brother Eviction 930,000
Tuesday Big Brother 817,000
Tuesday Big Brother Eviction 842,000
Home and Away Tuesday was on 666,000 after 669,000 on Monday.
US crime drama Criminal Minds then did 303,000 after 271,000 for its return to the schedule last week.
Nine: A Current Affair held above 800,000 with the Tuesday episode on 807,000 after starting its week on 818,000.
The programming move that might have helped both MasterChef and Big Brother this week is Nine’s decision to schedule Kath & Kim repeats at 7.30pm. The classic comedy still has a lot of fans, but not too many that are ready to watch at 7.30pm. Nine got a sample of what a primetime repeat would do on a weeknight recently with Hamish and Andy’s Perfect Holiday repeated last month with under 400,000 watching. The launch of Kath & Kim has started a little better with 389,000 watching the first episode. A second episode at 8pm dropped to 307,000.
The 2000 movie from Working Dog, The Dish, followed with 287,000.
10: MasterChef bid farewell to its first top 10 contender Sarah last night. A pressure test challenge asked four to try and create a jungle curry from Chin Chin’s Benjamin Cooper. The catch was they didn’t get the recipe! The episode pushed MasterChef just over 1m after it made that mark once last week once and got close on two other nights. The show ranked #1 all people and in key demos for the night.
How To Stay Married climbed to 407,000 after 353,000 a week ago.
ABC: Foreign Correspondent did 413,000, down from 497,000 a week ago.
The first of the three-part Australia’s Ocean Odyssey was narrated by Marta Dusseldorp and made by Nick Robinson’s Wild Pacific Media and launched with 402,000.
Road to Now then followed at 9.30pm with 222,000.
SBS: The channel had one of its best weeknights of the year with share over 6% thanks to back-to-back Australian factual programs.
At 7.30pm Lisa Curry travelled to Northern Ireland on Who Do You Think You Are? with 334,000 watching.
The launch of Filthy Rich and Homeless from Blackfella Films followed with 286,000 watching Dr Andrew Rochford and his co-stars giving up their lifestyle to spend 10 days of being homeless. The change had an immediate impact on all taking part as they faced a first night on the street in driving rain.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||3.3%||GO!||2.6%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||2.2%||10 Peach||2.4%||Food Net||1.2%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.5%||7TWO||4.7%||GO!||3.2%||WIN Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||6.9%||GEM||3.6%||WIN Peach||1.7%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||1.2%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.3%||9Life||2.6%||Sky News on WIN||2.4%||NITV||0.2%|
|TUESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
The ABC has asked staff to volunteer for redundancies as it prepares to axe more than 200 positions to meet the Federal Government’s $84 million budget cut, reports ABC’s Jane Norman.
In an email to all staff, managing director David Anderson confirmed he will outline the national broadcaster’s five-year strategy by the end of the month, along with its response to the looming funding shortfall.
“The budget challenge presented to us by the indexation pause remains and we will also need to finalise savings initiatives to meet this challenge,” he said in the email.
It is unclear exactly how many of the ABC’s 4,650 staff will go but Anderson said employees in some divisions will be able to volunteer for redundancies from today, through an expression of interest process.
Hundreds of jobs in journalism are going after News Corp and the ABC both announced significant cuts as they reshape their businesses towards lower costs bases, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Staff at News Corp were briefed on Tuesday that the Rupert Murdoch controlled publisher will cut under 100 jobs across its metropolitan mastheads, including The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, as well as its national newspaper The Australian.
At the same time, staff at the ABC were told management expects up to 250 redundancies will be necessary to meet the $41 million per year budget gap, following an indexation freeze.
As of June 30, 2019, the ABC employed 4649 people across Australia, equivalent to around 4007 full-time employees. At the time, 2810, or 70.1 per cent, were employed for content making.
More than 1000 musicians and music workers from Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham to Jessica Mauboy and Tina Arena have sent an SOS begging the Federal Government to back the embattled industry with financial support for its post COVID survival, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.
There is “deep anxiety” within the arts community about the future of 4000 venues and thousands of skilled workers, such as sound and lighting technicians, who may be forced to leave the music industry because of the indefinite pandemic shutdown.
It can take eight years to develop the skills of the specialised crew who make gigs happen.
The open letter features the who’s who of Australian artists from big name chart-toppers including the entire Barnes family, Savage Garden, Gotye, Guy Sebastian, Icehouse, Tina Arena and Midnight Oil, through to alternative and emerging artists such as the Teskey Brothers, Thelma Plum, Stella Donnelly, Jack River, The Rubens, Alex Lahey and Lime Cordiale.
Making a TV show in the middle of a pandemic outbreak was never going to be easy. Not making it turned out to be even more challenging – but the enforced downtime ended up creating something truly unique, reports nine.com.au’s Lulu Wilkinson.
This season, coaches Kelly Rowland and Boy George will connect via satellite, while mentors The Veronicas and Marcia Hines join the team to assist.
With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, things have finally started to change for TV productions and this week, The Voice Australia finally resumed shooting. That came with a scaled back crew, hygiene at the forefront and safety a key priority for everyone concerned.
Like many companies, the crew has been split into two core teams to be able to adapt to any future changes.
“Kelly and George have been working closely with us to figure out the best way for them to continue to mentor the talent they have invested in from the Blind Auditions,” confirmed the show’s supervising executive producer Leigh Aramberri. “We have managed to work out a way for them to mentor remotely via FaceTime and they will both be sitting in their red chairs via satellite.”
For the hands-on factor, Kelly and Boy George have enlisted local mentors to assist the artists on the ground. The Veronicas will mentor Boy George’s team, while Marcia Hines will assist Kelly with her team. Both coaches are happy to entrust their teams with the experienced singers, especially when it comes to practical advice.
ITV Studios is the new international home of the upcoming sixth season of the hit police drama, Line of Duty, created by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions.
Currently in production, although paused during lockdown, Kelly McDonald (Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire, Giri/Haji) guest stars in a new leading role as Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson – a senior investigating officer on an unsolved murder, whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12. Series leads Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar will all return.
In Australia Line of Duty is available on Netflix, Foxtel, Stan and Acorn.
Jed Mercurio, creator and writer of Line of Duty said, “Everyone involved in Line of Duty will be delighted that the series will be available to our many loyal fans around the world.”
Ruth Berry, managing director, Global Distribution at ITV Studios, said, “I’m so pleased that we can take the upcoming season of the hugely addictive and hotly anticipated Line of Duty series to market. It’s a formidable show that has grown from strength to strength and really is ‘must-see’ drama. We are thrilled to represent another Jed Mercurio and World Productions masterpiece on the global stage.”
Line Of Duty is written and created by Jed Mercurio, and made for BBC One by World Productions. The new series will be directed by Daniel Nettheim (Broadchurch, Doctor Who), Gareth Bryn (Hinterland, Last Tango In Halifax), and Jennie Darnell (Bodyguard, Hetty Feather), and the producer is Ken Horn (The Moorside, Line of Duty series five). Executive producers are Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions, and Tommy Bulfin for BBC One.
Little Britain has been removed from all UK streaming platforms due to concerns about the use of blackface by its two stars, David Walliams and Matt Lucas, reports The Guardian.
The comedy sketch show, which first aired in 2003 on BBC Three, has been removed from Netflix, BritBox and BBC iPlayer – with the pair’s follow up, Come Fly With Me, also taken down by Netflix for the same reason.
Little Britain has long been the subject of controversy for material including its “I’m a lady” sketches, where the pair don women’s clothes and facial hair, its depiction of “portly Thai bride” Ting Tong – played by Lucas – and Desiree DeVere, a black woman played by Walliams in full blackface.
The show has come under fire again recently amid renewed focus on issues of race and representation, at a time when Black Lives Matter protests are taking place across the globe.
In Australia five seasons of Little Britain and one of Come Fly with Me are available on Stan.
Former Australian all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar has taken aim at Geoff Boycott, declaring his claims only a former male Test cricketer can be a commentary expert as “ridiculous”, reports The Age’s Jon Pierik.
Boycott, the former England captain, has published a controversial column in the London Telegraph, coming in the wake of his departure after 14 years as a radio commentator on the BBC’s Test Match Special. His contract was not renewed but he says health concerns – he recently had a quadruple heart bypass and, at 79, falls in the dangerous territory in terms of COVID-19 – was also a factor.
Confirmation of his axing came as Isa Guha was appointed host of the BBC’s nightly Test highlights package when it next month returns to broadcasting cricket on TV for the first time in 20 years.
Boycott insists that only men who have played Test cricket should be “expert” commentators in Test cricket coverage. While former male players have dominated those roles for decades, particularly on television, that has changed in recent times, with women having greater prominence.