7 Nov 2016
Going back generations, people young and old have all loved storytelling. Whether it has been told around a campfire, over the road, on the silver screen or a mobile one, we love the escapism and the life lessons that can be delivered through a well-crafted narrative. Achieving this much has always been a source of fun and challenge for those in the Australian film industry.
Giving Your Big Ideas the GreenLight
It is with this in mind that, GreenLight, TAFE Queensland Brisbane’s very own student targeted Film Festival, was launched. Open to creative Film and Television Production students across High Schools, Tertiary Institutions, and relevant VET courses, this is a chance for budding new talent in the Australian film industry to test their mettle and get their work noticed by peers and industry heavyweights.
In short, this was a gateway into our nation’s rather unique and always potent film industry. And as it turns out, the siren call of a creative challenge was too hard to ignore, for students here in Australia and across the world.
Film teacher and champion for GreenLight, Jeff Hughes says:
This competition doesn’t limit itself to just short film or documentary. Entrants are allowed to create films, ads, music videos a
nd more, so long as they are putting their full creative potential on display in every frame. When we first put the call out for entires we were expecting 30-40 entries from Brisbane along, but we ended up with 81 from 12 different countries. The quality of the films produced by
Australian students was very high, with some entering multiple inspired productions.
The end results really fit in with a belief in substance over style and quality before technology. They were encouraged to look at filmmaking as a means to storytelling; we were not after the best special effects, visual masterpieces or technological perfection, more so innovative, thought-provoking and real stories told beautifully through the use of image and sound.
This ties in with what we want our TAFE students to come up with. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you shoot something on a 4K camera, a Sony Red, a handicam or a phone – they are just the tools to aid storytelling. If students can at first communicate a strong story through their use of film, it doesn’t matter what device they use to do it. We want to provide the foundation for their development as competent storytellers … the rest, technology, editing and the like, that is up to them.
While story is what matters most, with technology acting as a way to bring it to life, the influx of innovative tech coming into the industry is vastly changing the what, how and even why of film and story; we have reached a point at which our imaginations can be truly unleashed in the most immersive of fashions. This presents challenges and opportunities for new entrants in the film and TV spaces, and more specifically – what stories can you tell, and how do you tell them in such an age?
The Technology Redefining the Australian Film Industry
Who needs an ‘everyman’ character when your character can literally be every man or woman?
While not everyone out there supports the use of virtual reality in filmmaking (looking at you Steven Spielberg), the technology does present a number of unique outlets for creative storytelling. Think of it this way – imagine being able to tell a new age ‘choose your own adventure’ story that well and truly puts the audience in the shoes of the protagonist.
The latest from the front!
Of all genres, augmented reality is being seen as the next great frontier for news and documentary filmmaking. With this technology, you can create a mobile-centric piece of content that allows the audience to see before them, in the real world, the scope of the issue at hand. Lauded tech startup Magic Leap are already showing us what’s possible when this sort of technology is put into the right hands – with a number of rather imaginative test concepts available.
Who needs 3D?
If you thought the past obsession with 3D was ridiculous, wait until you create a film centred around a “5D” experience. What this entails is thinking of all the logical (and enjoyable) types of sensory input your story involves and working with key cinema chains to craft an immersive viewing experience; with controlled temperature changes, scents, moving seats, surround sound and 3D visuals all in the one space.
Sell me a story!
Not every filmmaker out there is working to create Oscar gold, some are creating brand stories for the sake of selling a dream (and product). YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitch have opened us up to more interactive forms of long-form and episodic storytelling for and around brands. Also consider the potential of Platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope, which give people the opportunity to experience major events, regardless of where in the world they are.
Netflix and win!
When it comes to TV, one of the biggest technology shifts has been the growth of streaming. Whether it is Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or Stan, people are now watching TV shows in long, uninterrupted chunks. This results in greater demand for content that is less episodic, and more like a 13-hour movie. In addition to this, some of these platforms have also become alternate distribution channels for new movies (with Netflix going so far as to produce their own film content).
New Opportunities in the Australian Film Industry
The Australian film industry, and its TV counterpart can now play in a larger documentary sandbox thanks to the recent unveiling of SBS Viceland. This new channel, and the trend it is co-opting calls for people who are willing to use their filmmaking talents and the technology at hand to cover a diverse range of issues pertaining to our society.
What do Pirates of the Caribbean, Thor and even a Doctor Who spinoff all have in common? A desire to utilise locales in our own backyard and a willingness to make their visions come to life using local talent. Whether you are an editor, cinematographer, lighting expert or sound designer, this is a good time for the Australian film industry between additional work gained from international products and more interest in quality local content.
Once upon a time, TV was the only place a filmmaker could make his name in the ad game. Fast forward to today and capable filmmakers are working directly with big brands to make ads that go viral, content series that bring brands to life, and cause-related efforts that help drive action. The core of this shift is digital advertising and the emergence of YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and other online video platforms.
Between the acclaimed collaborative TV and online project that is hitRECord and the willingness of both cable networks and streaming services to pick up new ideas, TV is a creative paradise nowadays. Your work need not be live-action either – a recent animated short about police on the Gold Coast (akin to Archer) has been picked up by Netflix for a full series order.
The Tools Are There
If you are keen on what you can use in the here and now, between GoPros, DSLRs, smartphones, tablets, and a growing number of other technologies, it is possible to obtain equipment that matches your creative vision and/or budget. In addition, there is software that can be used on tablets, phones, and desktop that can readily edit and publish your incredible work, on the fly or when you’re ready.
So the challenge is set, for GreenLight and for your career; can you, the avid storyteller, evolve Australian film industry in a way that puts the craft before the tech?
Get in on the action. Take a look at our Acting, Screen and Media courses to see what’s possible.