ScriptStart is a new screenwriting development program delivered by Open Channel in partnership with Screen Australia through the Enterprise Stories Program.

In June 2015, the call went out to unproduced emerging screenwriters with a completed first draft film or television script to submit the first ten pages of their work and express their interest in participating in the program. Open Channel was overwhelmed with the response: a total of 139 applicants (60 television scripts and 99 feature scripts).

After an initial selection process, 13 TV writers and 25 feature film writers were invited to submit their complete scripts. That longlist was further reduced to a shortlist of 13 features and 6 television projects which were discussed by the selection panel – Stephen Luby, Seph McKenna, Cristina Pozzan and Chris Thompson – before finally arriving at the 10 projects (by 11 writers) that would participate in the program.

The aim of the program was twofold: firstly to assist the writers in the further development of their work, and secondly to provide the group with a wider perspective on the process of moving a script from being an individual concern of the writer to being a broader collaborative concern involving producers, actors, cinematographers, designers and other creatives. To that end, the first five weeks of talks and workshops aimed to engage a range of creative talent that would offer many different perspectives on the journey that the ScriptStart writers might expect for these ten scripts.

In the second part of the program, each writer worked with one of three mentors (Deborah Parsons, Kelly Lefever and Chris Thompson) on the further development of their script and had the opportunity to hear the words come off the page in a table read with actors from the Victorian College of the Arts.

The program culminated in a pitching session, where each of the writers had the opportunity to pitch their projects to an audience of experienced industry producers and practitioners, as well as an industry feedback panel consisting of:

Stephen Luby (Ruby Entertainment)
Fiona Eagger (Every Cloud Productions)
Marc Gracie (Mondayitis)
Maggie Miles (Savage Films)

For more information on each of the writers and their projects, click on the below link to view the pitching session booklet.


Of the ten projects that went through the program, two have already been optioned.


Participants of the 2015 ScriptStart program:


PROJECT: The Prince
WRITER: Beth King

PROJECT: Farewell Tour
WRITER: Clem Bastow

PROJECT: I Fall To Pieces (Dearly Departed)
WRITER: Luke Rynderman

PROJECT: Occasional Hit To The Head
WRITER: Nicolette Minster

WRITER: Rahul Prasad

PROJECT: Legends
WRITER: Scout Cripps

PROJECT: The Black Dogs We Carry
WRITER: Steven Tandy


WRITERS: Alexis Porter & Elle Mandalis

PROJECT: The Program
WRITER: Geoff Paine

PROJECT: Evergreen
WRITER: Jacklyn Bassanelli