Short Back and Sides


Following the success of Open Channel’s recently launched six-part short documentary series, Bringing Our Stories Home, Victorian Minister for Veterans, The Hon John Eren has announced funding approval for Open Channel to produce a second commemorative series entitled Short Back and Sides, for the Anzac Centenary through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program.

Open Channel is also delighted to confirm funding for Short Back and Sides from the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund.

Set in one Barber Shop across a hundred years, Short Back and Sides, created by Chris Thompson, tells four short stories about four generations of the same family as they prepare to sign up to serve in four separate conflicts – The Great War, The Second World War, The Vietnam War, Afghanistan and the War on Terror. From the pride of fighting for King and Country, to the tradition of following in a father’s footsteps, to the controversy of conscription to the first female family member to join the armed forces, the series explores military, social and family history, attitudes and mores through personal stories of family sacrifice.

Minister for Veterans, John Eren said of the Grant Program “Our veterans have served us, and it is our duty to protect their legacy. They have earned it.”

“All Victorian communities have war connections and stories, which these grants will help protect and share for future generations.”

Click here to view Media Release from Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, The Hon Dan Tehan MP said “All Australians should use the centenary of Anzac to reflect on the sacrifice of our service men and women”.

“These arts projects can engage with their communities and start a conversation about these important issues”.

Click here to view Media Release from Department of Communications and the Arts.

As with Bringing Our Stories Home, Short Back and Sides will create numerous opportunities for Open Channel members to work on the films, both in key creative roles and crew positions.

Open Channel’s CEO, Caroline Waters: “Open Channel’s success in securing funding for Short Back and Sides is a reflection of the excellent work the organisation is doing to not only develop the skills of emerging and early career filmmakers but also to create programs that have multiple outcomes, including mentoring and opportunities for professional credits.”

“Bringing Our Stories Home has been a significant success for all involved and Open Channel is appreciative of the faith the state and federal governments have shown a second time around in our organisation to deliver Short Back and Sides.”

Bringing Our Stories Home is now available to view on ABC iview, and is also available to purchase through ATOM’s The Education Shop.

For more information and updates on Short Back and Sides, visit:


1743579_880196328676446_7202230686670704146_nABOUT THE COURSE

Real Actors, Real Sets, Real Scripts.

Open Channel presents an invaluable opportunity for emerging to mid level Directors to gain experience and insight into the demands of making episodic TV Drama in the upcoming Offspring Television Directing Masterclass with Director, Nicholas Bufalo.

Selected participants in this advanced 4-day workshop will have the opportunity to direct professional actors using scenes from scripts from the Offspring series, and filming of the scenes will occur on the Offspring hospital set, complete with set dressing and lighting.

The course replicates the demands of shooting multi-camera TV scenes by using real actors, real sets and real scenes from one of Australia’s favourite television dramas. Importantly, the context also requires participants to work within realistic deadlines, and to be able to match the tone and feel of an established program.


This is an advanced workshop open to emerging and mid level Directors with prior credits (e.g. short film, factual television, or webseries), and with demonstrated potential to work in a simulated industry-like environment, within the context of a network series. The course assumes knowledge of basic directing and continuity principles. Participants should also have their own basic editing skills, or be working with someone outside the course who has those skills.


This is a selective course. Applicants will need to submit a Cover Letter outlining their short and long-term career goals and a rationale for participating in the masterclass, as well as a detailed CV with filmography. Applicants will also need to submit a link/s to a showreel or relevant recent work.

Places are limited and will be offered based on demonstrated skills and experience and a rationale for professional development at the discretion of Open Channel.

Workshop fees will be payable on offer of a place in the course.

Applications Close: 5pm, Thursday 23rd June 2016

Click here for more information and to apply.


Day 1: Tuesday, 12th July (9.30am – 4.30pm)
Days 2 & 3: Saturday – Sunday, 16th-17th July (8.00am – 5.15pm)
Day 4: Tuesday, 26 July (9.30am – 4.30pm) + networking session


$1,430 Open Channel Members / $1,710 Non-Members (inc GST)



Web Page Banner Thin


Dates: Monday 29th – Tuesday 30th August 2016

Super Early Bird Tickets (Members Only): $80
Early Bird Tickets (Non-Members): $220

The Generation Next Screen Creators’ Conference programme is starting to take shape!

In preparing the programme we have had the excellent support of the Conference Advisory Group made up of representatives from all the major Victorian media courses, industry and Open Channel members. Over the next two months we’ll be progressively confirming sessions and speakers through OpenLine but to whet your appetite here’s an overview of what you can expect…

• The programme will be interactive and involve industry demos, guild representation as well as some provocative sessions
• There will be a hypothetical case-study of a mock-project viewed through the development process that leads from concept to green light (or not)
• An opportunity to apply to participate in round table discussions with key figures from the film, television and web-based sectors
• A speed networking session where you can pitch your ideas to your peers, hear what projects they’re trying to develop and set in motion creative partnerships that will develop beyond the two days of the conference.

And don’t expect the breaks to be idle; we’ll be encouraging you to use your break times to engage with our Industry Stalls and Demos, to make meetings with industry and guild representatives and to network with other conference delegates. To that end, we’ll be offering you the opportunity to create an online Conference Profile that will allow you to let other delegates know who you are and what ideas and interests you have before the Conference begins.

We’ll be offering a number of concurrent sessions where you can choose what best suits your interests and level of experience – whether you’re finding your pathway (those who are just starting out or just finishing studies) or finding your place (those who’ve been making inroads into the industry and have begun to develop their careers).

So watch this space for more announcements and we continue to develop this exciting programme…and we look forward to welcoming you in August.

The Super Early Bird conference tickets for members are selling fast but will close on May 31st!
Get in quick for what is exceptional value for two full days of access to industry information and significant networking opportunities.

For more information and to register, visit HERE.

Online Video Awards entries closing soon!

The 2015 Online Video Awards (OVA’s) entries close on 15th August!

A distinguished judging panel will be choosing winners from the very best in Australian Online Video creative talent for a variety of categories – and one of the winners (or even the overall winner) could you YOU!!!

There’s plenty of great reasons to enter the OVAs including:
  • The OVAs will provide Winners with a statuette.
  • All winners and nominees will be included on the winners page of the website.
  • In addition, Winners and Finalists will benefit from the prestige and PR opportunities that may arise as a result of being selected by the OVAs.
  • Winner and Finalists get free entry into the 2015 OVAs Awards Event.
  • The overall winner will receive a trip to the Youtube Creator Space in LA!

The OVAs Patron, Jehan Ratnatunga, shows you round this amazing facility!









Get in quick!

  • New entries – and payment for entries – will be strictly cut off at 5pm AEST on Sat 15 August 2015.
  • No entries will be accepted after that time.
  • Note also that entries that have not been paid for at that time will be ineligible for judging.

For full details and entry info, visit









Mark-GrentellMark was Born and raised in regional NSW in the City of Wagga Wagga. He has always been an active member of his community and in 2005 he was named Young Wagga Citizen of the Year for his contributions to theatre and youth in his community. Mark’s background is as a performer; stand up comedian and comedy writer.

In 2008 Mark graduated from NIDA with a post-graduate degree in directing studies. After graduating from NIDA Mark has worked for many of Australia’s major theatre companies and organisations including STC, Griffin, Belvoir, Gordon Frost Organisation, Arts Asia Pacific and New Theatricals. He specialises in musical theatre and has worked as the Resident Director on Australian musicals including  Spring Awakening (STC) and Rock of Ages (New Theatricals). Mark was also Assistant Director to Tony Award winning director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) on the new musical Doctor Zhivago.

Mark is the Director, Co-writer and Producer of the Australian feature film Backyard Ashes. The film was shot with by Cinematographer Damian Wyvill (Australia, The Great Gatsby, Goddess). Backyard Ashes was his feature film directorial debut and went on to be one of the most successful Australian films of the year. Mark is currently working on 2 new feature film projects. he is writing the screenplay of the untold story of the 1974 World Cup Socceroos team in a film entitled “74” and is directing the feature film adaptation of comedian Damian Callinan’s award winning stage play “The Merger”.

TWITTER @MarkGrentell / @BackyardAshes

Early Bird Registrations Open for Generation Next Micro Movie Conference

August 31 and September 1, 2015

Micro Budget. Big Impact.

Early Bird tickets available until May 31st!

A new generation of micro budget filmmakers have emerged. They are breaking all the rules, exceeding expectations and redefining Australia’s cinema landscape. Open Channel brings many of them together at the Generation Next Micro Movie Conference to tell how it’s done.

Over two days of panel discussions with Australia’s most exciting new film makers, content creators, and expert advisors, hear the stories of how these bold and risk-taking movies have been made, how they have found audiences, and how they are launching careers.

With increasingly limited prospects for financing or selling a movie through traditional means, especially without a name cast or proven director attached, the micro movie combines ideas and ambition, technology and resourcefulness to open the door to long form screen storytelling for debut filmmakers or truly independent movie ideas.

The micro movie is innovative by nature, and turns a tiny budget into a creative advantage. Increasingly these movies are made-to-order for targeted audiences, and often designed for a ‘digital-first’ release where creators engage audiences from the ground up. In the right hands, the results are often fresh and highly original.

The Generation Next Micro Movie Conference is the place to network, develop your knowledge and skills, and discuss the trends shaping Australia’s screen landscape.

This year’s conference includes a number of new additions including the Short and Sharp Microbudget Pitching Competition and networking lounges. Open Channel are also proud to support the Mini Micro Film Festival, a week long filmmaker led screening series supported by Tugg and Backlot Studios.

Do you have the next Paranormal ActivityKennyPrimerDrinking BuddiesTiny Furniture,Wyrmwood or Monsters?

If you want to know all about making micro movies, this is a conference you can’t afford to miss.

Open Channel members are invited to secure tickets now to this conference at Early Bird price of only $40 (Save $50!) before 31st May. Click Here to take advantage of this fantastic offer now.


Open Channel Success Stories – Tamasin Simpkin


Tamasin has worked in the film and television industry for the last 7 years, predominantly in Production but also in Casting and Locations. Projects she has worked on cover a wide range of genres and formats, from dark features like Van Diemen’s Land and The Loved Ones to light hearted TV like House Husbands and It’s a Date.

She has also Produced several independent projects which have screened at festivals worldwide, such as E Arioi Vahine (Winner Best Editing Flickerfest and Best Student Film International Film Festival Ireland), With My Little Eye (Nominated ATOM Award Best Short Film and Craft Award St Kilda Film Festival), Snapshot (Nominated Best Short Film at Montreal Film Festival) and Bread and Butter (which opened the Williamsburg International Film Festival in New York).

In 2013 she undertook the Open Channel short course Screen Producing: The Dark Art where she was taught by the entertaining and informative Stephen Luby. After years of making her own short form content and working in a crewing capacity on bigger productions, this course gave her the opportunity to learn about what it would mean to be a Producer in the ‘real world’. It gave her the overview she needed about the realities of Producing and equipped her with knowledge and methodologies which have since proved invaluable.

After years of working with Princess Pictures she was asked to Produce Bleak: The Web Series, which has since gone on to screen at festivals such as the New York TV Festival, Miami Webfest, Vancouver Webfest, and the First Glance Film Festival, and has taken out the Outstanding Ensemble Award at LA Webfest and Best Screenwriting, Best Actor and the iView Award at Melbourne Webfest.

In 2014 she was selected to take part in the SPAA Ones to Watch Program for emerging producers, where she was lucky enough to be mentored by Amanda Higgs. The same year she also received Multi Platform Funding from Screen Australia to make the independent web series The Katering Show, on which she worked again with the creators behind Bleak, Kate McCartney and Kate McLennon.

The series was released on YouTube earlier this year and received over 2 million views in its first week online. With almost 60 thousand subscribers signing up to the Lead Balloon TV channel since the series was released, the global fan base includes viewers from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Tamasin will be visiting Open Channel for a Framed Seminar on Friday 1st May 2015.


Open Channel announces Emerging Indigenous Producer Training Scholarship

Open Channel announces

Screen resource organisation Open Channel, based at Docklands Studios Melbourne, is offering one emerging Indigenous screen Producer a training scholarship place in its upcoming Screen Producing short course from March 2015, led by seasoned industry Producer Stephen Luby (The Secret River (2015), Full Frontal, Bed of Roses).

This unique hands-on short course introduces participants to the practicalities and the craft of producing film and television in Australia. Each week’s learning will be wrapped around a theme, and participants are encouraged to workshop their own projects. Upon completion, participants will have a clear, practical initiation into all aspects of this mysterious and challenging profession.

The selected filmmaker will also be invited to become a part of the Melbourne-based Melbourne Community Filmmaker Collective for new Aboriginal filmmakers, to join in the development and production of local Indigenous screen works. The collective, based at Footscray Community Arts includes established filmmakers such as Robbie Bundle and Peter Worland (NITV’s Our Stories Our Way Every Day), Rebecca McLean (Yarnin’) and John Harvey (The Turning). 

Open Channel Executive Director Marc Gracie comments, “Open Channel is proud to support the development of the next generation of Indigenous filmmakers here in Victoria, and the development of an industry begins with an investment in the Producers of tomorrow.”

To apply:

Interested emerging Producers should apply by email cover letter about why you would like the scholarship place, and your CV to by 12pm lunch time, Friday 27th March 2015.

Applicants must be available to attend the Screen Producing short course which runs Tuesday evenings 31st March 2015 – 19th April 2015 at 6.30pm – 8.30pm (8 sessions) at Docklands Studios, 476 Docklands Drive, Docklands.

For more information on the course, click here

Open Channel is supported by Film Victoria and Screen Australia

Open Channel Success Stories – Corrie Chen


From Open Channel to Screen Australia’s Hot Shots!

Corrie Chen graduated from the VCA School of Film and Television in 2010 before making her short comedy Bruce Lee Played Badminton Too with the help of Screen Australia funds through Open Channel’s Raw Nerve program in 2011. The film was nominated for Best Short Fiction ATOM award and premiered on SBS in 2013 in addition to being shown at numerous festivals.

Corrie was then commissioned by the ABC to direct her first documentary Suicide and Me which won “2014 Best direction in a documentary stand-alone” ADG Award. She also made a short comedy called Bloomers receiving Screen Australia’s Short Film Completion Fund. The film screened at Flickerfest and the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival and had its international premiere at the LA Shorts Fest.

In 2014 Corrie completed a funded attachment with Matchbox Pictures (ABC’s Nowhere Boys) organised through Open Channel and was invited to the Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Talents where she was mentored by several internationally acclaimed filmmakers.

Corrie was selected for Screen Australa’s Talent Escalator Program in 2015 with a directors attachment on Channel 7’s Peter Allen: No the Boy Next Door. This was followed by Screen Australia’s Hot Shots Program in which she directed Reg Makes Contact (a short sci-fi drama) – recently completed and set to appear in film festivals this year!


An interview with Screenwriter Chris Corbett


Chris Corbett is a Screenwriter who has worked in film and TV including having written two episodes for the upcoming third series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Shortly to teach students in Open Channel’s Screenwriting Intro Course Chris kindly agreed to be interviewed on the course and working as a writer.

What can students expect if they do this course?

The first thing to say is that it will be fun. We’re going to look at how to build a story that works. Many writers start out assume coming up with a story is an easy thing to do. The truth is it’s the hardest part of the job. So what we’re going to do is spend a bit of time talking about the basic principles (not rules – there are none) of storytelling for the screen. We’ll watch some short films and take apart the underlying stories to see how they’re built. We’ll also refer to television and features – the principles we’re talking about will be relevant to all of them. Then we’ll turn our attention to students’ story ideas. Working with a group like this is the perfect opportunity to test your story with an audience. It will all be set up in a non-threatening, nurturing environment. Students will briefly tell us the story that they want to use as the basis for a screenplay. Or perhaps they’ve already written a screenplay but they still want to test the story. The group will ask questions, give feedback and the each week we will revisit the story ideas – giving the writer a chance to tinker and rebuild between classes.

What knowledge do you hope that the participants come out with?

Anyone doing the course will walk out of it with a much better understanding of how stories work. And this won’t necessarily be a theoretical understanding. They will have a practical grounding in how stories are put together at a nuts and bolts level and hopefully some sense of how to build their own. I’ll be providing students with a series of specific tools they can use to test how various aspects of their story are working.  

How developed should student’s script ideas be in order to benefit from this course?

Students just need to bring a rough idea to class. If they have a screenplay they are working on they are welcome to bring the bare bones of the story in to class to talk about, but I’m afraid there won’t be any time to read anyone’s finished screenplays. If students don’t have a detailed story at the start that’s fine. Bring what you have and we will work with that. The first few classes will be talking in more general terms about how stories work so we won’t be hearing students stories until the third week. Even if you start the class without a firm idea in mind I’m sure an idea will occur to you by the time we get to the third class. In fact, I will be offering students a series of techniques that are useful to generate story ideas.

What are you working on at the moment? 

Being a working writer means being flexible. I tend to work in television, but I also write short films, I script edit feature films and television and spend some time teaching and mentoring screenwriters. Last year I wrote two episodes for the upcoming third series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s a delight to write this show – what great characters. Plotting any story is hard but murder mystery is particularly difficult. You still have to hook an audience, develop the characters, generate the dramatic tension which builds up to a satisfying climax – but the whole thing also has to work as a puzzle that can’t be solved until the last minute. It’s very tricky stuff, but great fun if you can manage to get it right.

Learn more industry knowledge and tips from Chris in the upcoming Screenwriting Introduction Course at Open Channel, starting 25th March 2015. >more info or to book