‘The Audition’

James Thompson, a former graduate of the program, filmmaker and a current sessional teacher in our media production and cinema studies was recently in the U.S at the Palm Springs ShortsFest (June 2016), one of the largest showcases of short films in North America which screens over 325 short films that are selected from 3,000 submissions from 50 countries.

A short film, ‘The Audition‘, which James wrote and directed, opened a special ‘G-Day USA‘ mini-festival of Australian films.

James recently led a 2nd/3rd year Media studio, ‘Finding the Ear: developing short film drama‘ and has continued his teaching into the context courses ‘Histories of Film Theory‘ and ‘Popular Cinema‘.

Media students partner with Foxtel

A group of RMIT students and recent graduates worked hard to record the Foxtel broadcast of the 2016 Australian Directors Guild (ADG) Awards at the Sofitel on May 6.

Sarah Petrie-Alutt (Media), Ben Grant (Advertising), and Mollie Cowell (Honours).
Sarah Petrie-Allbutt (Media), Ben Grant (Advertising), and Mollie Cowell (Honours).

For the first time ever the ADG Awards have received a television broadcast, possible through the dedication and creative skill of a team of RMIT students and recent graduates, who worked as production crew for the broadcast and production assistants for the event itself.

The students were responsible for the entire broadcast and informal vox pops with attendees.

The broadcast was produced and directed by Mark Poole, who teaches into the Media program, co-produced by recent graduate Maree Prokos and edited by graduate Bella Walker.

The evening was compered by comedian Nazeem Hussain, and presenters included industry leaders such as Jenni Tosi from Film Victoria, directors Fred Schepisi and ADG President Samantha Lang, former President Ray Argall and actors Lisa McCune and Catherine McClements.

Winners included well known directors Nash Edgerton, Emma Freeman, Daina Reid, Jennifer Peedom and Rachel Perkins. Looking for Grace director Sue Brooks and John Hughes, RMIT Adjunct Professor, were presented with a lifetime membership award.

Kingston Anderson CEO of the ADG said he was very excited that they are able to secure a broadcast of the 2016 Awards for the first time.

“It is very important to profile the talented directors that Australia has across all genres and the broadcast gives people the opportunity to see the depth of talent we have,” Anderson said.

Mark Poole, the Chapter Head of the ADG in Victoria and member of the media teaching team said he was incredibly impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the crew that filmed the Awards throughout the night.

“This was not only a fantastic opportunity for students to rub shoulders with the industry, to get real-world experience but also, to get meaningful industry credits for their CVs,” Poole said.

“RMIT staff Paul Ritchard, David Stanley and Windsor Fick ensured we had the right gear for the job,” Poole said.

The crew were co-producer Maree Prokos, editor Bella Walker, camera/sound and production Mollie Cowell, Ben Grant, Sarah Petrie-Allbutt, Angus Strachan and Jordan Williams.

Media and Communication Honours student Mollie Cowell said being given the responsibility to produce a broadcast was test of whether students have the skills to go out into industry and the experience showed that they did.

“We worked well as a team and performed under pressure and this was a great affirmation of not only what we learnt, but what we can do with our skills,” Cowell said.

Lisa French, Deputy Dean (Media) said the School of Media and Communication has an ongoing working relationship with the ADG’s and this is just one of the many outcomes of a productive industry engaged partnerships.

“The President of the ADG, filmmaker Samatha Lang, included in her speech reference to the need to improve the participation of women in film and television industries.”

“I was delighted to look to the back of the auditorium and see the two key cameras were being operated by women (Sarah Petrie-Allbutt and Mollie Cowell) and that RMIT had visible gender equality with a 50% gender balance on this crew,” French said.

“RMIT is equipping them for the industry but this is a very good example of how we are creating industry experience in that industry, and flagging that women have an equal place in it.”

The ADG awards will be broadcast on Foxtel’s Aurora channel on Sunday 29 May at 8pm.

Story: Wendy Little

Back row: Maree Prokos (Media graduate), Sarah Petrie:Allbutt (Media), Mollie Cowell (Honours), Ben Grant (Advertising), Imraan Khan (Media student), Angus Strachan (Media student) Front row: Jordan Williams (Media student), VE student Maria Romas, and Simone Lau (Media student)
L-R: Maree Prokos (Media), Jordan Williams (Media), Sarah Petrie-Allbutt (Media), VE student Maria Romas, Mollie Cowell (Honours), Simone Lau (Media), Ben Grant (Advertising), Imraan Shah (Media), Angus Strachan (Media).

[This story featured on RMIT News]

‘The Conductor’

[Image: Amy Hanley]

Tune in to BComm Media student Amy Hanley’s piece, ‘THE CONDUCTOR’, first broadcast tonight (and also available as a podcast anytime) on ABC Radio National’s Soundproof . It’s a wild sonic ride produced this semester for an assignment in her Media 2 studio, ‘Radio’s new Wave’ (picked up by ABC during the studios Week 7 critical feedback session which included external industry guests). Soundproof is a top-shelf show in radio-feature and audio arts land.

From the ABC RN site:

The Conductor is an experiential representation of the physiological experience of gambling.

What really goes on between player and poker machine? Well many things.

Not only are poker machines themselves generating electricity but so does the person playing them. The electro-dermal activity of the person playing, other wise known as the changes in a person’s skin conductance levels, can be used to indicate how arousing poker machine play can be, particularly for problem gamblers.

MINA (Mobile Innovation Network Australasia)

Media Program staff member, Dr Seth Keen, has been busy coordinating and co-curating this year’s MINA screening held on November 19th and 20th at RMIT University and Federation Square as part of the MINA Symposium being hosted by RMIT’s School of Media and Communication this year.. Seth has developed an association with MINA over the last three years and has used his research and teaching to contribute to discourse on mobile filmmaking.

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Media industry seminar series

Pack your compass and your map!

The final year Media students are excited to announce their 2015 media industry seminar series, focusing on how you can build and shape your career.

WHEN: Friday 4-5:30pm(ish)*
WHERE: RMIT Building 80.2.2 (street level at the back), Swanston St
RMIT Epic Journey promo poster 2015

Filmmaking mates from RMIT

You may have seen this advertisement currently appearing on Australian television featuring the filmmaking duo of Julian Lucas and Jarred Osborn.


Both Julian and Jarred are graduates of RMIT’s Bachelor of Communication (Julian in the Media program and Jarrod in the Professional Communication program where students can choose to specialise in Media).

See more of their diverse work at Lips.

The two also recently enjoyed success as winners of Australia’s premier short film competition, Tropfest, with the black comedy Granny Smith.

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Student-organised Industry Seminars

Each year students in RMIT’s Media Program conceptualise, organise, run and document a series of public seminar events in which a diverse range of established media industry practitioners are invited to participate in panel discussions about the state of the industry and also offer invaluable advice to aspiring makers on how to break in, the current ‘lay of the land’, and career pathway opportunities. The students are in their final semester* before heading out in to the world and it is a useful time to rethink possibilities for where they go next (and how), and to further build their industry networks.

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2013 FreshMeat series

Check out the line-ups, guests, images for the past two years at these sites.

Many thanks to our special guests who have generously contributed their time and knowledge.

From Wanted: Breaking In (TV) 2014

(*Until 2014 these seminars were part of the work undertaken by students in the third-year course Media Industries 2. From 2015 they will be part of the second semester course, Media 6)

BOFA Short Film Award

Congratulations to recent BComm Media graduate (2014), Michael Johnston, whose short film To be a poet won the BOFA (Breath of Fresh Air) Film Festival Short Award in November 2014.

‘Clocking in at less than 3 minutes in duration, To Be A Poet is a simple but powerful short about Abraham Nouk. Nouk came to Australia from Sudan, unable to read, write or speak a word of English. Now, he is an award-winning spoken word artist and poet.’

The film was conceived and initially produced within the BComm Media second year course, Film-TV2 in the latter part of 2013.

Michael is currently in the process of turning the film into a longer-form documentary. He tells us that the short film will be released as part of a crowdfunding campaign to get the project off the ground.

Also, To Be a Poet was the only Australian film to be selected in the Sound & Image Challenge Worldwide, which recently took place in Macau, China.
Abraham Nouk & Michael Johnston winners of BOFA Short Film Award with Martin simpson (middle, judge)
Abraham Nouk and Michael Johnston (far right) receiving the award.

The Dressmaker – RMIT Media Adjunct Professor in the news

RMIT Media has a number of Adjunct Professors. These are honorary appointments of influential practitioners and/or researchers in our area. Through their association with the School they generously  provide expertise and guidance for staff around issues affecting the industry as well as occasionally participating in School life through events such as guest lectures and workshops.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have accomplished Australian film and multi-platform producer, Sue Maslin, as an Adjunct Professor for a number of years. Reproduced below is a recent RMIT News Story about one of her latest projects – current students should read her encouraging comments at the end of the story about the state of the industry and making a career in it.


RMIT pair set to wow Hollywood with ‘The Dressmaker’

RMIT alumnus Rosalie Ham never imagined her first novel would be published, let alone sell more than 50,000 copies.

And this year, the author of The Dressmaker will see the words she penned 14 years ago as part of her RMIT coursework brought to life in a feature film, starring some of Hollywood’s finest. 

RMIT alumnus and author of The Dressmaker, Rosalie Ham.

Producer Sue Maslin at Docklands Studios during filming.

Ms Ham said it was “more surreal than real” to have luminaries Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis star in the film, which was filmed on location in Victoria and at Melbourne’s Docklands Studios last year.

“I haven’t found a metaphor that will express what it’s like,” she said.

“Actresses of the calibre of Kate Winslet and Judy Davis just affirm for me that the story I wrote is a story that deserves to be told, and told well.”

Set in the 1950s, The Dressmaker revolves around a glamorous woman, Tilly – played by Winslet – who returns to her small town in rural Australia after years refining her craft as an haute couture dressmaker in Paris.

With her sewing machine and haute couture style, Tilly transforms the women of the town.

Ms Ham said her upbringing in regional New South Wales and the tendency for locals to want to know everything about everyone had inspired her writing.

“My mother was a dressmaker in a small country town, and the idiosyncrasies of those two factors were the seed for the story,” she said.

Ms Ham began writing The Dressmaker in 1996 as part of her Advanced Diploma of Arts, Professional Writing and Editing (now Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing) at RMIT.

“The course taught me how to approach writing short stories and novels, and how to read well,” she said.

“Primarily, I learnt the craft of writing, not just the idealised image of what a writer does, and is.”

It has been a long journey from those formative years at university to now, and Ms Ham has been assisted throughout the film production process by renowned Australian film industry figure, School of Media and Communication Adjunct Professor Sue Maslin, a long-time friend.

The two in fact grew up in Jerilderie in regional New South Wales and went away to the same boarding school.

Adjunct Professor Maslin, The Dressmaker’s producer, was instantly drawn to story and said there was so much to love about it.

Of particular interest was the exciting imagery the couture costumes created, as they were completely at odds with small town rural Australia circa 1951.

But perhaps the most important element of the story was the strong leading female characters, which was the key to attracting two of the best actors in the world – Kate Winslet and Judy Davis – to the film.

Winslet receives around 200 scripts per year, from which she only chooses two or three to work on.

“We were overjoyed when she read the script and said yes,” Adjunct Professor Maslin said.

“It reinforced the fact that your story can’t just be a good idea; it has to be a really great idea and a great script.”

Adjunct Professor Maslin, who has also produced Japanese Story (starring Toni Collette) and executive produced Irresistible (starring Susan Sarandon) has enjoyed a career in Australian film that has spanned almost 30 years.

She got her start in media working as a producer on community radio in Canberra, before “stumbling upon a media degree”.

“It was one of those life-changing moments, where you find what you love,” she said.

“Film and media gives you an extraordinary licence to go into other worlds, and that is what has really kept me going all of these years.”

And as a producer, she said it was her job and greatest challenge to act as the guardian of emotion throughout the process.

“I love the challenge of protecting the emotion I felt when I first read the script or novel, right through the entire process over many, many years, so the audience member can go through that same experience as I did,” she said.

Adjunct Professor Maslin, who also teaches media, said the most important skill for media and communication graduates these days was to have a cross-platform understanding of how media works.
Graduates, she said, need to be able to migrate ideas across those platforms – such as cinema, television, games, online and e-books.

“As media consumers, we are constantly moving across media platforms,” she said.

“So we need to do the same as producers and reflect our audiences’ desires and needs.

“RMIT is much more responsive to real world media than a lot of the traditional film schools, who tend to still work on old models.”

Despite the doom and gloom around Australia’s film and media industry, Adjunct Professor Maslin said the future was bright and graduates from RMIT’s media and communication programs would still have exciting career prospects.

“We live in an era of media and communication, so there are incredible opportunities out there,” she said.

The Dressmaker is currently in post-production and is set for release in October.

Something for Straya Day

It’s almost that time of year when Australia celebrates (and some protest) the officially designated national Australia Day holiday. One of the BComm Media program’s former students, Terry Mann, who graduated in 2008, has produced this contemporary alternative to the national anthem. He is getting lots of views of video on various social media as well as a bit of attention in conventional national and international media. Read this local ABC coverage here. Onya Terry!

Terry is currently a freelance digital producer after having worked at Clemenger BBDO as a Digital Producer. He also makes and plays music as Coach Bombay.
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