Other work

Malthouse Theatre - Besen Family Writers' Development Program

To round off a big year in 2017, I joined three amazing ladies - Ra Chapman, Jess Knight and Kit Lazaroo for a series of playwriting workshops as part of the Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Family Writers’ development program. The workshops were lead by dramaturg Mark Pritchard and resident artist Declan Greene.

Over a five-week period, we examined the role of form, action, structure, character and dialogue in playwriting through reading and discussing existing plays and other writings of theatremakers on the craft of dramatic storytelling. It was enjoyable to engage with theatre in a way that allowed us to see the possibilities and the diversity of work that the art form could produce, rather than laying out a roadmap for what makes “good playwriting.”

The workshops have introduced me to wild and wonderful plays and playwrights and have inspired me to think more about the interplay between poetry and dialogue; between realism and absurdity; and how writing for stage and screen have their similarities yet are also vastly different. Looking forward to 2018!

...On Monday nights, a cluster of playwrights have been gathering around a table each week with our dramaturgical team to share ideas around craft. A component of the Besen Family Artist Program, the Besen Writers group is about building pathways for playwrights to connect with the mainstage. Over five weeks we've been reading scripts, theories, manifestos and provocations, as well as writing our own micro-plays that break all the rules around what we think makes up a good play. From all of the reading, watching and chatting with writers that we do all year, wehand pick four writers whose voices we're excited about to join us around the table.

This year's group was Ra Chapman, Jessica Knight, Kit Lazaroo & Nikki Tran — a fabulous mix of wild imagination and seriously talented writing across a range of mediums. These are four writers to watch!

Read the full article here.

Improvised Lunch

Dipping into the world of improv, one of FRESH!'s directors, Amie Batalibasi, has been inspired by Duplass brothers' mumblecore films (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Drinking Buddies) and is setting out to explore her own way of storytelling within the confines of limited resources (ie money). It was lovely working with Amie on FRESH! and we're both interested in ways to avoid the over-emphasis on technical production values in film to focus on telling a great story with available equipment, crew and resources, so when she asked if I'd come along for the ride as producer, I jumped. 

The first of her three film ideas, LUNCH, is a short one-day shoot - an 'exercise' to get a feel for how this improvised nature of filmmaking would work, in writing, performance, directing and technical coverage of the scene. We had a small crew of five and invited both actors and improv artists to be part of it. 

Although the intention was to improvise, we found character development, overall story structure and blocking does require a fair amount of prep and planning in order for the film to succeed. We'll be applying this learning to a more involved three-day shoot coming up.

That's a wrap on FRESH!

The sky opened up and started pouring rain on the two days we shot our final episode of FRESH! which made it perfectly miserable for the story and setting, and equally so for the cast and crew. Here's a commemorative photo to mark the occasion. Notice the sexy windswept hair and hunched shoulders look.

Thanks to all the generous and talented people involved - and Preston and Footscray Markets for letting us takeover the place - this series is rolling on into post-production!

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Photo by Rhys Sherring