Still from 'Deadbeat Dads' featuring a young father looking distressed Still from 'Deadbeat Dads'

Mar 21 2012

In February we heard about a bunch of very recent AFTRS grads who had teamed up together to create a trailer/pitch for the Optus/MTV One80 Project - a competition that invites aspiring writers, actors and directors to upload a 180-second TV pilot online.

AFTRS alumnus Shelley McLaren (Screenwriting) one of the Deadbeat Dads co-creators/writers, shared the good news with AFTRS yesterday about their pilot pitch scoring all three awards, a one80project first:

"… two smaller awards were announced first - the mobile entry and student award ($5000 each), we hear Deadbeat Dads ... and in a haze head up to collect a 'big cheque' together. Very grateful, but also it was the moment we 'knew' one of the other top 10 would make their pilot. We thought 'We'll move on to other things, that's fine, we've got lots to work on. We'll get there! Then the Audience Award was announced ($10,000) "Deadbeat Dads". Another big-cheque. Wow! So of course, we were thinking that's it. No pilot but two great awards. Very good result, we'll get to make something in full another time ... one day! Then the big final one: Judges Choice ($10,000 + $180,000 budget for a pilot)."Deadbeat Dads!" We honestly couldn't believe it. It was all a blur. Hugging David Wenham and Maia Horniak, answering questions ... celebrating with cast and crew and friends in the rain. An amazing night! Unbelievable result.

There's no getting away from the fact that coming up with endless TV ideas and pitching them to AFTRS teachers gave us a much better understanding of what makes a decent TV story engine and what doesn't. Now it's time to jump in the deep end and make this thing!!... "

The Deadbeat Dads crew of AFTRS alumni:

  • Kent Pearson (Screenwriting)
  • Shelley McLaren (Screenwriting)
  • Ben Mathews (Directing)
  • Josh Flavell (Cinematography)
  • Kavi Jarrott (Production Design)
  • Anil Griffin (Editing)
  • Damian Del Borrello (Sound)
  • Chad Gock (Screen Music)
  • Damian Smith (Cinematography)
  • Emma Paine (Cinematography)
  • Nicky Bartos (Foundation)


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.