Spark – Matchbox SA TV Development Workshop

Matchbox Pictures and Epic Films invite applications for their upcoming Spark Development Workshop from South Australian writers with an interest in television. Applications close at midnight on Friday 3rd July 2020, and can be submitted via the following form:

https://forms.gle/39SPKeEdvNZpQ3ZPA

Want to find out more and decide whether Spark is a good fit for you?

Click the links below to access an audio recording or written transcript of the information session about Spark, hosted by Matchbox SA Development Producer Kirsty Stark on 
Wednesday 24 June 2020.

What is Spark?

Spark is a TV development workshop for South Australian writers that has been designed to develop not only writing skills, but market knowledge and entrepreneurial skills relating to the Australian television industry.

The workshop will be run by Matchbox SA development producer Kirsty Stark as part of the Matchbox – SAFC TV Partnership Initiative, with guest appearances by Matchbox staff and industry guests. This is an intensive course for a limited number of participants that takes place over six weeks, entirely online, using platforms including Slack and Zoom. 

Each week will consist of a combination of:

  • pre-workshop materials
  • a webinar with a Matchbox team member about a different topic,
  • group and individual work around specific assignments, and
  • a feedback and reflection process to further develop the work

We’ll focus on who you are as a writer, the stories that matter to you, shaping ideas that connect with the marketplace, developing projects to meet producer and broadcaster needs, and creating short pitch materials to sell your idea.

Rather than entering the initiative with a specific project idea, the intention is that you’ll apply what you learn over the six weeks to the development of a new concept. There will also be an opportunity to pitch your final idea to Debbie Lee, Director of Scripted Development at Matchbox.

Spark is an intensive program that requires a willingness to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you are accepted, you’ll be expected to commit to the full process and submit all work.

The structure is designed to stretch you, but still be manageable around other work and life responsibilities. It’s also not just about access to information: the majority of your time is spent putting concepts into immediate action via your work, providing constructive criticism, and reflecting and reworking your assignments based on the feedback you receive.

Our goal is to connect you with other writers and the marketplace, and to amplify your work.

Structure

Spark delivers a condensed learning experience through doing – teamwork, personalised feedback, coaching, curated resources and Q&A sessions with writers and producers, and delivering several group and individual “projects” in 6 weeks to fast-track your writing to the next level. 

Each week, the process is made up of four parts:

Part 1: Learn and Interact

Pre-read or watch curated articles, video clips and information and then attend a 3 hour live session on Zoom (Thursday evenings, 6pm to 9pm TBC).

  • First Hour: Whole Group, with Kirsty and an industry guest.
  • Second & Third Hours: Small Group Activity with 3-4 participants. Share the results online with the other team(s) at the end of the session.

Part 2: Create

Write a written response to this week’s assignment (revealed each week), based on what you’ve learnt in Part 1. (Due weekly on Mondays at midnight)

Part 3: Respond

Read and comment on at least three other participants’ work by midnight Tuesday.

Part 4: Reflect

Reflect on and re-work your own writing by the following Thursday’s session.

You’ll also have a dedicated Slack channel to connect with other participants in between sessions, ask questions and give feedback on drafts as needed.

Who should apply?

We expect that participants will have a body of written work in any industry (e.g. screen, theatre, comedy, journalism, fiction) and that those selected will have had their writing published or produced with recognised industry support (e.g. MRC, SAFC, Screen Australia investment for the screen industry).

However, this is not mandatory, so please get in touch if you feel you have equivalent skills or experience. We are committed to holding a diverse and inclusive workshop and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.

Applicants must be South Australian residents.

Please reach out to Kirsty – kirsty@epicfilms.com.au – if you have questions about whether the workshop is the right fit for you, or to discuss any accessibility requirements and/or accommodation requests.

Who will I interact with?

Spark is overseen by Kirsty Stark, Matchbox Pictures’ South Australian Development Producer. She’ll be your key point of contact at Matchbox throughout the six week process, and will be available in Slack to answer your questions. She’ll also be commenting on your work and providing individual feedback throughout the initiative.

Kirsty has produced work including First Day, Stateless (co-producer), A Month of Sundays, Goober, Unboxed and Wastelander Panda, and is passionate about telling stories that have an impact in everyday life. Outside of producing, she is a coach in Seth Godin’s altMBA program, an international online leadership workshop.

Each week, an industry guest will attend the first hour of our live Zoom session, to share their knowledge and experience around that week’s topic. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and connect with them throughout the session. For specific assignments, you may also receive additional feedback from members of the wider Matchbox team.

At the end of the process, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your final project to Debbie Lee, Director of Scripted Development at Matchbox Pictures.

Key Dates

Applications Due: Midnight, Friday 3rd July
Participants notified:
by Monday 13th July

Week 1: (First session Thursday 23rd July) – Your Voice
Week 2: 
(Second session Thursday 30th July) – Generating Ideas
Week 3: 
(Third session Thursday 6th August) – The Marketplace
Week 4: 
(Fourth session Thursday 13th August) – Characters
Week 5: 
(Fifth session Thursday 20th August) – Refining an Idea
Week 6: 
(Sixth session Thursday 27th August) – Packaging & Pitching

Pitch Day: early September (TBC)

Weekly Commitments

  • Live Zoom Sessions [Learn & Interact] – Thursday evenings 6-9pm.
  • Written Work [Create] Due weekly by Monday at midnight.
  • Comments [Respond] – Due weekly by Tuesday at midnight.
  • Re-work [Reflect] – Due weekly before the Thursday Zoom session. 

Apply

Please submit your application via the online form at the link below. We suggest preparing all materials before beginning your application, and then copying and pasting your responses:

https://forms.gle/39SPKeEdvNZpQ3ZPA

Applications are due by midnight, Friday 3rd July 2020.

Please reach out to Kirsty – kirsty@epicfilms.com.au – if you have questions about whether the workshop is the right fit for you, or to discuss any accessibility requirements and/or accommodation requests.

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