Screenwest Profile – Gabrielle Cole
Screenwest Production Attraction & Services Coordinator
After many years working in Film and Television Production, I am excited by the opportunity I have been given as the Production Attraction & Services Coordinator at Screenwest.
My part-time position is a variation on that held and incredibly executed by Vikki Barr.
As such, I am working hard to attract international/interstate productions to WA by highlighting our stunning locations, talented crew and funding incentives while explaining how WA can facilitate their needs. Once on the ground, I work closely with the productions to connect them to local crew and facilities.
With WA currently the busiest State in the country for Australian film and screen production, my attention has not only been focussed on continuing the momentum of productions but also how we leverage these opportunities to facilitate growth and strengthen our crew base. As such, my biggest focus has been the crew attachment program, a program I passionately believe in and support.
Eligible Productions that received funding from May 2018 are required to follow the new Crew Attachment Program Guidelines, developed by Vikki Barr before her departure. These guidelines encourage transparency around attachment opportunities by requiring a public call out for applications that will ultimately result in a larger talent pool in WA.
Having been on the ‘other side of the fence’ I know there is a strong concern within the industry that these attachments are often used as slave labour. It is something I am mindful of when approving attachment requests and the transparency delivered through the public call out also helps to ensure attachments are not replacing a crew position but rather an opportunity for on-the-job experience, addressing any skills gaps that exist or that emerge over time within WA
Put simply, it is my job to check attachments are aligned to someone, which means you can’t have a Location Coordinator Attachment if there is no Location Coordinator on a production.
The recent guidelines review has seen wages raised in line with the national wage minimum. Attachments are now to be paid $1000 per 50-hour week, which is above the national minimum.
A Production Company also signs an agreement acknowledging responsibility for any overtime or additional hours worked, all relevant insurances, expenses reimbursement, meals, other allowances (e.g. away from home) and are required to provide proof of payment to acquit their obligations.
Over the past three months, we have advertised eight attachments and received an average of nine applications per opportunity, peaking at 18 recently. I am hopeful these attachments will be used for entry-level positions as well as the upskilling our talented WA crew to build depth across the industry.
2018 saw the following skills gaps being addressed:
- Documentary – Production Management, Production Coordinator, Assembly Editor, Edit Assistant
- Drama – Continuity, Production Management, Production Coordinator, Production Design, Art Department, Costume Art Finisher.
As WA begins production on its busiest period of the year, forecasts for 2019 look strong. While there are never any guarantees in Film & Television it is likely we will have two feature films and a TV series heading into production early next year with the usual going production of documentary series.
While the outcome of our funding rounds has not been finalised, we hope this hot streak will continue through the year. In our last rounds we received 14 factual development applications, 9 factual production applications, 6 TV development applications and three scripted production applications.
It has been a time of change for Screenwest this year.
While change is daunting it also provides a fresh perspective and rejuvenation.
The search for our new CEO commenced recently and we all look forward to what the new year holds.
I am excited to be working closely with Eva Di Blasio who recently stepped into the Talent Development Manager role- a newly created role dedicated to overseeing our talent development initiatives. Eva’s role is important in terms of day to day management while also helping Screenwest take a holistic approach to the sector.
Matt Horrocks, Head of Development & Production, put it best when he said, “The emerging sector is vital to the future of our industry and we look forward to rolling out a series of sector-wide initiatives in the coming months. Eva has strong filmmaking experience across a variety of formats and genres, both here and internationally. Being from WA, and having a long-term commitment to WA, she’s well prepared to manage what is a very industry-focused role.”
Both Eva and I are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with most of the WA film and television crew and understand the harsh reality of production. We hope that the close relationships we have built continue to flourish during our time at Screenwest and remind you all, our door is always open.
- Gabby Cole