Frequently Asked Questions

Screenwest related questions

1. How can I get funding for my TV/documentary/feature/digital project?
On the Screenwest website, you will find all relevant information relating to the current opportunities Screenwest provides. Head to our Funding & Support homepage for more information (link to page).

Please ensure you read the relevant guidelines in conjunction with the Screenwest Terms of Trade to see if the fund might be suitable for your project.

If you would like to discuss a particular fund or have any questions after you have read the information on the Screenwest website, please email ( or call us (+61 8 6169 2100) with your specific enquiry and we will put you in contact with the appropriate program manager.

We also recommend you sign up to Screenwest’s fortnightly newsletter to receive all the latest news, funding updates and event information for the Western Australian screen industry.

2. Can Screenwest provide me with feedback on my script/project/idea?
We are unable to provide feedback on projects that have not been submitted as an application to our specific funding rounds, programs, or initiatives. Those in consideration of a specific funding round, program or initiative should contact the relevant fund manager for advice on when they will receive feedback on their submission. We also cannot provide feedback on your script/project/idea before you submit it for a funding round, program, or initiative.

As a general rule for all applications, a project must have a WA producer attached in order for it to be submitted. For more information on finding and approaching a WA producer, please see below.
For assistance with developing your project further, we also suggest getting in touch with the local branch of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

If you have any specific questions regarding our funds and programs, please look at the relevant guidelines in conjunction with our Terms of Trade, and email or call with your specific enquiry and we will put you in contact with the appropriate program manager.

3. How do I apply to a Screenwest funding program?

First, carefully read the guidelines of the specific program you are interested in, along with the Terms of Trade, to ensure that you/your project is eligible for funding. Then check the application closing date, and that you have all the additional information required for your application.

All funding guidelines are available on the Funding Programs webpages.

We are transitioning to using the SmartyGrants Online Grants Portal for all funding and support applications to provide an easier, streamlined process for both applicants and Screenwest. All Screenwest funding rounds currently open for applications on SmartyGrants can been seen at

For all funding rounds that have not yet been set up on SmartyGrants, please download and complete the Application Form and email all required application materials in one email to: or for emails larger than 8MB send through Screenwest’s Hightail Account.

If you have any further questions please contact the relevant staff member at Screenwest.

4. What additional material should I submit with my application?
Any material that will support your application like letters of interest from a producer, distributor, exhibitor or other potential funding organisations. For more detailed information, please refer to the funding guidelines for the relevant funding program/initiative.
5. How much money will Screenwest contribute?
Each individual scheme / program / initiative has its own specific set of guidelines that outline available funding.

Please refer to the individual program guidelines as found on the Screenwest Funding Page for advice on how much money Screenwest may contribute for your specific project, dependent on what funding scheme / program / initiative you are intending to apply for.

6. When is the next deadline?
Deadlines and closing rounds for each Screenwest funding program are listed on the Funding Programs page on the Screenwest website and announced in the Screenwest newsletter.
7. I am unhappy with the assessment decision for my application. What can I do?
Applicants can formally appeal to the Screenwest Board for reconsideration if they disagree with assessment decisions made by Screenwest staff or within assessment meetings. Appeals should be directed in writing to the Chief Executive and must be lodged within 10 business days of receiving notification of an assessment decision.

Any correspondence should be posted to Screenwest, PO Box 3275, EAST PERTH, Western Australia 6892 or emailed through to the Screenwest Funding Inbox with Att: Chief Executive in the subject line.

8. Screenwest Payment Timelines and Information Required
There are set procedures that Screenwest (Australia) Ltd must follow so that invoices can be paid.

Before you can be paid you need to be set up in the finance system. To do this requires you to complete a Supplier Creation/Maintenance Form. A Supplier Creation/Maintenance Form also needs to be completed each time you / your company changes its:

  • Trading name
  • ABN
  • Address
  • Banking details
  • Payment notification address i.e. the email address that the finance system will forward a notification to when your invoice has been paid.
  • Contact phone number

Forward the completed Supplier Creation/Maintenance Form to your Screenwest program contact.

Grant & Investment Recipients – Invoice Payment Timelines
Your Screenwest program contact must receive and approve all contracted requirements specific to your funding agreement before they are able to endorse your invoice for payment. Liaise with your program contact if you are unsure what information is required from you.

Once your program contact has endorsed your invoice for payment they will forward it to the finance team for processing. If you are unsure whether your invoice has been endorsed for payment, contact your Screenwest program contact.

Screenwest makes weekly payments. Providing you meet all contractual requirements and have submitted an invoice by close of business on a Tuesday, you will be paid by Thursday of the same week.

If you are unable to submit your invoice by close of business Tuesday, the payment will occur in the following week’s pay run.

If you are not set up in the finance system or if any of details have changed: Payment will be made within seven working days of the date the finance team receives your completed Supplier Creation/Maintenance Form and the endorsed invoice from your program contact.

If you are already set up in the finance system and your details have not changed: Payment will be made within five working days of the date the finance team receives the endorsed invoice from your program contact.

General Suppliers – Invoice Payment Timelines
Payment of invoices will be made in accordance with 30 day payment terms. Your Screenwest contact responsible for confirming the delivery of services / goods and endorsing your invoice for payment.
9. What do I need to include in my invoice / tax invoice?
If you are unsure what information to include in your invoice / tax invoice refer to the Australian Tax Office publication entitled Setting Up Your Invoices available through the ATO website.

Please note: It is important that you do not repeat invoice numbers. If an invoice number is duplicated DCA cannot process your invoice and it will result in your payment being delayed.

10. How will a grant or investment affect my tax and / benefits?
Grants and investments may be subject to taxation in accordance with the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act and may also affect benefits that you receive from Centrelink.

Screenwest recommends that you seek professional advice from the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink or a qualified tax agent, so you are clear about your responsibilities as a funding recipient.

11. What does Screenwest fund?
Applications should demonstrate significant cultural or economic benefits to Western Australia and the Western Australian screen industry. Screenwest will give preference to Western Australian projects, stories or voice, key creative and business personnel and crew bringing significant benefit to the State.
12. What doesn't Screenwest fund?
For specific advice on what projects/activities that Screenwest does not provide funding for, please refer to the Screenwest Terms of Trade.
13. How do I find a WA producer?
It can be difficult to engage with a producer by sending them an unsolicited script, especially if you do not have a prior relationship. Firstly, research local and national production companies to get an idea of which companies are producing projects similar to yours, as it might be better to target these companies with your project.

If you plan to approach a producer with your project and need contacts, check out the Screenwest Film in WA website which showcases prominent WA producers. Alternatively, you can check out our Crew Database which houses a complete list of producers working in WA.

You might also find it useful to have a read through our Annual Reports on the Screenwest website, which contain a listing of projects and WA production companies who have received funding each year.

14. I would like to work/intern with Screenwest
Employment opportunities are listed on the Screenwest website on the CURRENT VACANCIES page. Jobs are also advertised externally and in our fortnightly newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. Screenwest is not able to offer placements or internship positions within the organisation.
15. I’m new to the industry/studying film and TV. How do I get my foot in the door?
There are a number of local organisations and resources you can use to assist you if you are just starting out within the West Australian screen industry.

There are also a number of guilds and organisations that operate within Western Australia that promote the development of emerging talent. These include:

  • The Professional Film Crew WA organisation offers Associate Memberships for those who do not qualify under their full membership criteria. This allows you to still receive their quarterly newsletter, discounts and invitations to PFCWA events, and network opportunities with industry professionals.
  • The Australian Writers Guild which provides a number of resources for emerging and established screen writers.
  • The Australian Directors Guild which provides a number of resources for emerging and established screen directors.
  • The Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) which provides a forum for cinematographers to further develop their skills and allows for student memberships.
  • The Australian Screen Editors (ASE) which in addition to a number of useful resources also has a mentoring scheme for emerging screen editors.
  • The Australian Screen Sound Guild (ASSG) which regularly hosts panels, seminars and round tables focusing on issues of importance to the sound for screen community and also offers guidance via their online forums.

We also recommend you sign up to Screenwest’s newsletter which has all the latest news, funding updates and event information for the Western Australian screen industry. This will alert you to any upcoming seminars, Q&A sessions and workshops for local filmmakers that may help you build your professional relationships.

16. Is Screenwest considered to be a production company?
Screenwest is not a production company as it does not produce any works. As a funding organisation, it provides funding support to Western Australian film, television, documentary and digital media projects. For more information on Western Australian production companies operating currently, please consult our Annual Reports or check out our Producing Partners page.
17. Is Screenwest able to provide personal information about applicants?
Screenwest is committed to safeguarding the privacy of its customers and employees. Screenwest will only collect personal information from its employees, suppliers and customers ethically and lawfully. Personal information shall not be disclosed to third parties without the permission of the owner.
18. I’m looking for a copy of a film or TV series that Screenwest was involved in. Can you help?
We’re unable to provide or source copies of film or television series. Try searching online or contacting the project’s distributors directly. Distributor information can usually be found via IMDB or a Google search. You can also try the National Film & Sound Archive.
19. I am organising an event/festival/activity and need financial support. Can Screenwest sponsor my event?
If your event/festival/activity enhances the Western Australian screen industry by promoting local productions and practitioners to audiences, check out the Audience and Community Engagement Fund (ACEF) Guidelines found here.

If your event/festival/activity is industry-focused, such as a stand-alone seminar, conference and workshop, you may be eligible for Sponsorship funding.  Please email with a brief pitch to be forwarded on the appropriate Screenwest staff member.

20. Can Screenwest help me promote my film or event?
Depending on the project, we may also be able to assist with promotion via our social network channels including Facebook and our Newsletter. Email requests to


Filming in Western Australia questions

1. Are there protocols for working with Indigenous content or Indigenous communities?

There are protocols for working with Indigenous content and communities. Screen Australia has developed the document Pathways and Protocols: A filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts.

Please note that if you are filming on Indigenous lands you will need to obtain a permit which is granted through the Aboriginal Lands Trust at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

For more information visit our Indigenous pages.

2. Is there a Code of Practice for using animals in a film?

If planning to work with animals, an appropriately experienced animal supervisor must be employed, and all relevant permits are obtained. Each state administers its own separate Act; Western Australia’s is the Animal Welfare Act 2002. There is no specific code relating to film and television in WA but producers are strongly advised to abide by the Victorian Code of practice for the welfare of film animals. The following Codes of Practice can also be referred to:

3. Does Western Australia have any rules in regard to filming with children?

Production companies are legally bound to comply with the Children and Community Services Act, Western Australia.

There are special provisions for employing children in the entertainment industry which are set out in the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment .

The proposed Supervisor of Children must have a current Working with Children Check card. For more information, head to the Arts Law Children in the Creative Process WA website.

4. How do I find out about getting Locations permissions and/or permits?

Access and use of land in Western Australia comes under various forms of control – public, private and pastoral. For more information about Location Permits, click here.

5. How do I find a Location Scout?

Screenwest has a list of Western Australian location scouts available here.

6. How do I find a director, producer, writer and/or crew?

The Screenwest production directory is a free comprehensive online resource highlighting Western Australia’s professional crews, producers, production equipment and facilities. Australian crew are also listed in the Production Book and the Mumbrella Directory or you could contact one of the Western Australian Screen Industry Guilds.
7. Can I get people to volunteer to work on my production for free?

If a project receives Screenwest funding, Screenwest requires that all freelance crew be paid fees not less than the industry award rate based on a 50 hour week as per the current Motion Picture Production Agreement Summary, available from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Screenwest will recognise exceptions agreed to by MEAA.

Screenwest requires that all cast be paid fees not less than the industry award rate as per the relevant Actors Feature Film Agreement or the Actors’ Television Programs Agreement 2013-2015, available from MEAA.

8. Where do I find cast and crew rates?

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) website has award rates listed. Rates will vary dependent on the type and length of production as well as the cast/crew members’ level of experience. Often the rate will be personally negotiated with the producer.
9. Do I need Film Production Insurances?

Every production is unique, and there are a number of risks associated with different filming formats, techniques and even locations. A lot can go wrong, from expensive equipment malfunctions to actors falling ill. There are also liability risks from injuries to people and damage to property on location or in the studio.

What cover is required will depend upon the type of production to be insured.

  • For smaller productions such as short films & documentaries, cover is arranged on a ‘Short Term’ basis.
  • For larger productions such as Feature Films or Television series, cover is arranged on a ‘Per Production’ basis and in most cases cover can also be arranged on an ‘Annual’ basis to include multiple productions during the year.

Your film production insurance plan will need to include a number of different coverage types, such as:

  • Film Producers Indemnity (Cast Insurance): The usual people insured are Principal Actors, the Director and the Producer.
  • Negative Film Risks: This covers Accidental Physical Loss or Damage to Negatives, Videotape or digital images.
  • General liability: This portion of your policy will provide coverage for injuries on set to anyone associated with the production besides direct employees, as well as any damage your production may cause to other people’s property.
  • Equipment protection: This coverage will provide protection for your photographic and digital recording devices, or Props, Set & Wardrobe used in connection with a production. Cover can also include equipment such as edit suites and office equipment & computers.
  • Professional liability: Also known as “errors and omissions” or “E & O” insurance, this coverage can be particularly important to the film industry and protects you against risks like libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, and defamation of character.
  • Workers Compensation: Provides health protection for staff employed by the production company in the event of work-related injuries or illness. You may be required to carry this insurance, depending upon the nature of your business, how many people you employ and your state requirements.
  • Money: Covers Money used in connection with a Production such as ‘petty cash’ on location.
  • Voluntary Workers Personal Accident: provides volunteers with Personal Accident insurance whilst they are undertaking their duties as a volunteer.
  • Motor Vehicle Insurance
  • Travel

International Companies filming in Western Australia require Public Liability insurance issued in Australia. The following information is required for Public Liability coverage.

    • Name, address and contact details of the legal entity of the (interntional) production company
    • Period of cover required in Australia
    • Cover limit required in Australia
    • Details / content of the shoot
    • Any hazards or stunts involved
    • Budget

For more information read this Film Insurance Profile prepared by Craig Shand of McKenna Hampton Insurance Brokers

10. Where can I find information on film safety?

Work health and safety legislation requires productions to have in place safe systems of work to address safety risks to cast, crew, others and property. A production safety report is required by all productions in receipt of Screenwest funding, and as per the Film and Television Safety Guidance Notes, must engage a graded safety consultant to write a safety report in compliance with the Film Industry Safety Code.

These links will provide you with further information on film safety:

          • WorkSafe– A division of the Department of Commerce, the Western Australian State Government agency responsible for the administration of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
          • Western Australian Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984– Australian Film Industry Recommended Safety Code.
          • WorkCover WA– The government agency responsible for overseeing the workers’ compensation and injury management system in Western Australia and monitoring compliance with the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act, 1981.
11. Do I need permission to film on roads?

The relevant local council and/or Main Roads Western Australia must give written permission for any filming activities conducted on public roads / streets. Visit our Filming on Roads page for more info.
12. I need to stop traffic while we film a sequence. Can I do this myself?

If traffic is being stopped, held or diverted, or if filming is to take place on roads, the filmmakers need to have appropriate approval from the local council, the Western Australian Police and Main Roads Western Australia, and it will often be necessary to submit a traffic management plan (TMP) to council. State Transit Authorities, private bus companies, tour operators and emergency and essential services may also need to be informed.

Traffic control must be carried out by individuals authorised by the Main Roads Department. In some cases, police are used, at cost to the production company. In metropolitan locations traffic controllers are usually booked through an experienced traffic management firm, and in rural locations the local council will often provide authorised traffic controllers, at cost, as required. Visit our Filming on Roads page for more info.

13. Can I use a Drone for shooting purposes?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) defines the commercial use of a drone as anything you’re doing for hire or reward. For example, if you’re a production company strapping a camera to a drone for the purposes of gathering footage, or if you’re flying something into the air to test it via a drone, that’s commercial use.

However, an amendment to legislation for commercial drone operation in Australia, means that as of 29 September 2016, small operators can conduct commercial work without an operator’s certificate or remote pilot license as long as you follow the authority’s simple safety rules. If you have a drone under 2kg and want to do commercial work, you won’t have to apply for the “Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate” as previously required — but you will need to inform the CASA with a once-off registration at least five days before your first commercial flight. To notify CASA, you will need an aviation reference number (ARN), and if you do not already have an ARN, you will need to apply for an ARN.

Operators also need to abide by “mandatory conditions” or risk penalties. The conditions include flying only within a visual line of sight – that is, where you are able to see the drone with your own eyes, rather than with the help of binoculars or a telescope; in visual meteorological conditions, which generally means no night flights; below 120 metres – most of this airspace is considered controlled airspace; keeping more than 30 metres away from anyone who is not directly associated with its operation; not be flown over populated areas – areas that are sufficiently crowded that the drone would pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of someone present, which includes crowded beaches or parks, or sports ovals where a game is in progress; flying more than 5.5 kilometres from controlled aerodromes; and not operating near emergency situations – police operations, accident scenes, fires and rescue operations.

If you violate these rules, CASA can take action against you in the form of fines of up to $8500 per offence. If you put people at risk or seriously injure someone, the penalties are far more serious and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

More information can be found on the CASA website.

14. Whose approval do I need to film on private property? Do I need permission to film in a public area? Do I need a Location Release?

If you are filming on private property or in a public space (such as a park or council land), you may need a film location release.

Please refer to the Arts Law information sheet which will explain when and why a film location release is important. Information is also provided on which parties should be contacted to obtain film location releases. Arts Law has two sample film location deeds of release (with payment and without payment).

15. Do I need permission to use vehicle mounts for filming activities?

Permissions are required for mounts on vehicles through the Department of Transport. Recommended safety practices for filming activities involving vehicle mounts are covered in the and the Film and Television Recommended Safety Code.

Failure to comply with relevant regulations could expose the production to criminal prosecutions, and may affect the production’s insurance coverage, and should an incident occur, WorkSafe WA along with the Western Australian Police may instigate an investigation. Read our WA Road Traffic Regulations Report for more information.

16. Do I need to notify anyone if our production is using toy or replica weapons?

The Western Australian Police requires notification of any screen production activity that involves special effects, firearms, weapons or mock firearms and mock weapons that have the potential to create public concern within local communities. It is the responsibility of the Producer to provide that notification.

The local police station in the area the activities are being conducted must be advised so they can notify the Police Communications Branch of your filming activities. It is the responsibility of the Producer to provide that notification. For more information about using toy or replica weapons, please read our Filming in WA booklet.

17. Do I need a producer?

Unless you intend to produce the film by yourself, you will need a producer. Producing is a specialised field and if you are a new filmmaker we suggest that you engage the services of an experienced producer.
The producer should be approached in the early concept stage and they would expect a two to three page outline of your consolidated ideas. You can then concentrate on writing and let the producer worry about everything else! You will find a list of local producers in the Screenwest Production and Crew Directory or you can contact the Screen Producers Australia (SPA).

18. Where can I find sample cast and crew contracts?

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is the national community legal centre for the arts. Sample contracts can be found on the Arts Law Centre of Australia website.
19. Where can I get advice about legal matters?

Contact the Arts Law Centre of Australia or refer to the Encore Directory for contact details of lawyers in Australia.
20. What is an A-Z budget and how do I prepare one?

The industry standard A-Z budget is intended as a guide to preparing budgets in the format that is usually required by funding bodies. A-Z budgets for a variety of genres can be downloaded from the Screen Australia website and are intended for all projects, regardless of whether or not you are applying for the Producer Offset.
Sample layouts for a range of commonly used documents in the film industry including cost reports, timesheets, schedules, production checklists and rights clearance forms can also be downloaded from Screen Australia’s Tools and Insights Sample section on their website.

21. Do I need to get a visa for international performers or crew working on my project?

Non-residents seeking to enter Australia to work in any capacity on a screen or live production will be required to obtain a 408 temporary activity visa.

If the stay is less than three months, a letter of support is required from the company employing the applicant in Australia.

If the stay is between three months and two years, formal sponsorship is required.

To apply for this visa you must complete an online application form from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Further information and the online application forms can be found on the Department’s website here

22. I’ve got this great idea for a film or I'd like to adapt my book… where do I go to from here?

You will need to develop it, either by writing it yourself or hiring someone to write it for you. Contact the Australian Writers Guild (AWG) for script formats or for a list of writers and their rates of pay.

In order to progress a novel to film or animation, you would need an experienced film producer on board. If you plan to approach a producer with your project, you may need to do some research on which producer might be best suited to your project. You can visit the Producing Partners page on our website for some information about Western Australian producers.

The Screen Australia website has a number of useful documents available for download, including the information guide “I’ve Got a Great Idea for a Film”.

23. How do I get into the film and television industry?

Firstly you need to consider what area of the film and television industry you want to work in such as production, camera, lighting, direction, sound, post-production etc. and you may like to narrow it down to whether it is drama or documentary you are interested in. Screen Australia has a downloadable guide you can access here which may assist you in making this decision.

Western Australia has screen media courses held through a number of tertiary institutions; Curtin University, Murdoch University, WA Screen Academy, North Metropolitan TAFE, University of WA or SAE.

If you have just completed a course of study in screen media then it may be useful to volunteer on a local production to gain further experience and contacts. You can contact a local production company that has a project gearing into production to inquire about potential attachment or volunteer opportunities. If you have decided what your area of interest is, you can contact the relevant professional Heads of Department in the state to indicate your interest and ask questions. These are often your best resource to find out what work is coming up, how to get work and how to further your career in the screen industry.
Screenwest also offers a number of Production Company and Practitioner Support funding schemes and programs.

Once you have worked on a few productions this may then open up further paid or unpaid work opportunities and will increase your knowledge of the screen industry. Take advantage of many of the social networking opportunities that happen in WA to further increase your contacts – subscribe to receive Screenwest’s fortnightly newsletter to find out what events are coming up.


General filmmaking questions

1. How do I go about securing a theatrical release and festival screenings for my completed feature?

          • Australian Theatrical Distributors:
            Visit the MPDAA (Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia) website. Click on the ‘Links‘ tab and then scroll down to the ‘Film Distributors’ tab – here you will find links to the websites of most of the reputable local distributors. The notable exception is Transmission, but you can contact them through their website. If you contact the distributors they will let you know if they are interested in previewing your film and if so, what further information and material they require.
          • Film Festivals:
            Visit the Screen Australia website.
            This page contains profiles of over 50 international film festivals. Read about the festivals, find out what Australian films have screened at these festivals over the last 10 years and discover deadline and screening information. This page also contains links to each festival’s official website to start entering your own film.
2. Who can assist me with international trade and co-productions?

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government agency that helps Australian companies win overseas business for their products and services by reducing the time, cost and risk involved in selecting, entering and developing international markets.

Austrade can assist Western Australian production companies/producers with investigating international production companies as well as offering practical advice, market intelligence and ongoing support (including financial) to Australian businesses looking to develop international markets.

3. How do I collect copyright royalties?

Screenrights administers copyright royalties collected under provisions in the Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts.
The Audio-Visual Copyright Society Ltd, trading as Screenrights, was established in 1990 and operates on a non-profit basis as a copyright collecting society for copyright holders in film, television and radio programs, including film producers, film distributors, script writers, visual artists and music publishers and composers.

5. What do agents do and where do I find one?

Casting agents supervise the casting process, suggest actors for projects, negotiate contracts, ensure contracts are fulfilled, invoice the producer on behalf of the actor and promote the career of the actor.

Creative agents negotiate rates for their clients, monitor the contract, look for work for the clients and help them to package their project. They also offer clients creative feedback on their project.

The Encore Directory has a list of agents in Australia and the WA Production Directory has a list of local agents.

It can be very difficult to secure an agent unless you have a very strong resume and a broadcast/high profile festival credit for a production you have worked on. If you can get a recommendation from someone who already has an agent then this can help.

6. How can I get someone to assess my script?

Script assessment is not a service offered by Screenwest. We suggest contacting The Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) to enquire about the assessment services they offer. For more information, please see the links to the relevant pages on the AWG website below:

Script Assessment

Script Assessor Biographies

7. How can I interest the market in my script?

Firstly, you will need to find out if there is a market for your script. This information is available from distributors, exhibitors and funding bodies.

The Screen Australia website has market intelligence reports that may assist you with your research.

8. At what stage should I send my script to potential producers/investors/distributors/exhibitors?

There are no hard and fast answers to this question. You will want to ensure that the project is presented in the best possible shape to interest whoever you send it to. This may mean taking the project through several drafts; however you could be wasting time and effort if the project is not what they are looking for. We suggest you gauge the opinion of a script assessor or a producer before submitting your project.

A good place to start for further advice is with the various Screen Australia information guides.

9. How do I protect the copyright on my project?

It is difficult to protect an idea but the best way is to consolidate your ideas is by putting them in writing (e.g in script form, treatment, synopses, scenarios or outline form). Always place your name and date on the front of the manuscript. The Australian Writers Guild offers members a script registration service. Your material may be lodged with the AWG for a fee. The registration is valid for 10 years.

The Arts Law Centre of Australia also publishes a copyright information sheet.

10. Where can I find examples of a well written synopsis, scene breakdown, treatment, outline, development notes?

The Screen Australia website and the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) website all have examples of these documents.
11. What do I need to do if my script is based on another work (eg a play or a book)?

You need to contact the publisher or author to obtain the rights. Information on the various types of agreements that can be entered into is available in The Production Budgeting and Film Management Manual (‘the Satchel”) published by Screen Australia and purchasable through their website. The Arts Law Centre of Australia also has downloadable sample agreements available on their website.
12. Where else can I get funding and support?

Screen Australia is the key Federal Government direct funding body for the Australian screen production industry. Its functions are to support and promote the development of a highly creative, innovative and commercially sustainable Australian screen production industry.

There are a number of other national and state agencies that also support the Australian screen industry, listed below.



13. Can I submit an unsolicited screenplay to a production company?

It can be extremely difficult to engage with a producer from a cold call if you don’t have a prior relationship, with some production companies not accepting any unsolicited projects at all.

Firstly, research the local production companies to get an idea of who is producing projects similar to yours, as it might be better to target these particular ones with your project. In addition look up various companies nationally that tend to produce projects in the same budget range, tone, etc. of yours.

Signing up for the Screenwest newsletter will alert you to any upcoming events, Q&As, workshops, programs etc for local filmmakers that may help you build your professional relationships and focus your strategy as you attempt to approach producers.