AFTRS Open Day 2018 – Storytellers Wanted

Brooke Boland

The Australian Film Television and Radio School is searching for the next generation of great Australian storytellers in screen and broadcast.
AFTRS Open Day 2018 – Storytellers Wanted

Image: supplied.

Change has been coming for a while now in the screen sector. We’ve already seen the effects of it in the dominance of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

‘It is really important that we continue to support Australian talent because we have an industry that is going through huge change,’ Neil Peplow, CEO of The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), told ArtsHub

Digital technology is empowering visual storytellers as never before at a time when audiences are hungry for surprising, exhilarating dramas which travel around the world. 

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And yet, he said, ‘The big platforms don’t have algorithms that take into consideration Australian voices or Australian stories.’ Inside Australia, broadcasters are constrained by funding issues, while our cinemas are crowded with tentpole films driven by escapism rather than insight. 

We need creators who will find their way onto the world stage, carrying our local stories, opportunity by opportunity. Australian screen storytellers speak for a vibrant multicultural society, bursting with visions we are learning to honour and empower. 

The situation is reminiscent of the 1970’s when a new generation hungered for the chance to form new media, from feature film to music, theatre to dance. AFTRS was founded to help forge a local media, broadcasting and screen content sector in Australia — a proud tradition that the institution continues to this day. 

As Peplow explained: ‘Before 1973 there were very few Australian stories on the small or big screen being told by Australian’s. So [AFTRS] was a kind of cultural intervention… We’ve always been at the heart of industry and that’s reflected in the teaching that we do.’ 

‘The role of the school today is the same as back in the seventies, we have to ensure that we have the talent who can be represented on streaming platforms, storytellers who can make great Australian stories.’ 

So the school is adapting its approach to a different generation of students. They have new resources, but they are financially stressed. Many are also coming from migrant communities or disadvantaged groups, and they are from homes all over Australia. AFTRS courses are being designed to fit their needs, and we are offering a range of scholarships to assist students with course costs.

The hunt is on for Australia’s next generation of storytellers

In August each year, AFTRS opens its doors to attract the next generation of Australian storytellers in broadcast and screen.

The school’s upcoming AFTRS Open Day on Saturday 11 August is an opportunity to hear from AFTRS students and to meet AFTRS professional tutors. 

It is also an opportunity to learn more about the courses available in 2019 — Masters Programs (in 11 Disciplines), the Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, recently launched Industry Certificates as well as industry short courses  and introductory short courses — plus visitors will see AFTRS state-of-the-art facilities in action and get valuable tips about putting together your 2019 application.

Register for AFTRS Open Day

Peplow said a key focus of teaching is connection with industry at every level. Students are given hands on experience through internships, work placements, and set to work on live briefs, such as What's Your Flava?, Australia’s first bi-sexual reality dating web series produced and developed by AFTRS students who will be talking about this experience at Open Day.

‘Undergraduate students who study a Bachelor degree are expected to leave ready for entry level positions, and our Masters students leave as leaders in the creative and broadcast industries’ he added.

Scholarships available

A number of scholarships are also on offer to students, including the newly launched Storytelling Scholarship to support the telling of Australian stories. This scholarship covers total course fees for one 2019 Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production or 2019 Master of Arts Screen student. The application will be selected on the basis of merit, and will be awarded to support a student’s study by covering their tuition fees for the duration of their course.

Other scholarships available to students include: equity, Indigenous and a Virgin Australia scholarship for students outside NSW.

AFTRS Open Day is on Saturday 11 August, 10am – 3.30pm, at AFTRS, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney. Attendance is free. Register here  

Registered visitors who attend Open Day go in the running to win a $500 short course voucher at AFTRS (valid for 12 months).   

If you can’t make Open Day but want to watch the key sessions, AFTRS is live streaming the key sessions on their Facebook page 

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW.