Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The TV Writer and Australian Feature Films

This is an excellent post from Karel Segers on his website The Story Department. In it, he discusses the negative impact of TV writers and the aversion to classic 3 act structure in Australian feature scripts:

"In Australia, however, we continue to be different. And teachers at most major schools make sure students are groomed to dislike what they call ‘Hollywood story structure’. I find it baffling that I get alumni from those rather expensive schools in my one-day courses who admit they were never properly taught the basics."

Karel's conclusion - "The Australian Film Industry has been completely f***ed over by people who have been conditioned by the rules of 0ld school television drama: Teachers, Government Agents and Script Editors."

I have taken courses by people who are predominantly television writers. In fact, I'm sure I know who he talks about in reference to the AFTRS online feature film writing course. I did a weekend workshop with that person a couple of years ago - we argued. But then I've never understood the aversion to the "Hollywood 3 act structure". In fact, I delighted in Simon van der Borgh and Jonathon Rawlinson's exploration of classic storytelling structure in a recent development workshop (more please!).

Karel is seeking comments and proposed solutions so check out the blog post and add your thoughts. Do you agree that a preponderance of television writers have negatively impacted the feature film industry? Have you had an experience with a script editor who took your project down the wrong path? What is the solution ...?


  1. I have this fantasy of being able to write for both television AND features. We'll see how that goes.

    Don't understand how anyone can dislike using a three act structure. Just because it's textbook, doesn't mean it's bad!

  2. I fear for your writing soul Cei - hopefully, though, your fantasy will come true!

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  4. Karel Segers' quote is unfortunately indicative of something that is widespread in Australia. This aversion among many people to seeming American (or what they stereotype as American) is something that is handicapping much Australian film and TV.

    In my experience, more often than not the more deeply someone is involved with arts/film/tv in Australia the more debilitating their commitment to cultural politics paradigms and other speculative theory is.