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Don't miss this opportunity to learn from factual TV expert Robert Thirkell in this weekend CONFLICT masterclass. You have the option to attend in SYDNEY only Day 1 (Saturday 18th) or Day 1 AND Day 2 (Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th Feb). Click the first link on the screen (above) to enrol in Saturday only, and the second link to enrol in both days. There is also a ONE DAY version in Melbourne at ACMI on Saturday 25th Feb. To enrol in that click on the third link.


Day One of Robert's C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T seminar is based on his 100 rules of factual program storytelling which discusses how to find the fairy tale, find the reason for your hero to embark on an adventure, follow your hero through gripping struggle and adventure, and see your hero transform under the pressure. The archetypal old tales often work best, this is abut how to find one and stick to it, using this template:

C, find the Characters
O, think Out of the box to write the script
N, find a Narrative drive, the big question of the film leading to a big answer, and small questions and small answers that contribute to this
F, make a Front of your film that highlights are characters, why they are setting off, what they are up against, and the reason
L, Love your characters and turn them into people
I, Interview for feeling, write short terse commentary for fact
C, Make your audience Care, at every moment, and promote your film so people watch
T, get a Timeline going from the start, find a good Title, and how the Truth is best

In DAY TWO we will put the CONFLICT toolbox into action in a practical way. You will look at cuts that weren’t working, have to work out how to change them, and view the results. We will also go through some of your ideas and how they could work better (do not worry if you don’t have one as it is fascinating to see how ideas transform into films on the hoof)

Robert Thirkell created and produced the first makeover show Troubleshooter in which Sir John Harvey-Jones transformed a dozen businesses with dramatic results, and won the seldom awarded special BAFTA for originality. He went on to found the BBC business unit and made the first formatted series Back To The Floor which won him the first BAFTA Features award (since updated and remade as Undercover Boss). He also won the second BAFTA features award the following year, for his next format Blood On The Carpet. These helped transform factual television, and were the precursor of the following winners Faking and Wife Swap, and a host of derivative formatted reality shows. Since leaving the BBC he has made many more formats from The Week the Immigrants Left to Jamie’s School Dinners which won another BAFTA, and inspired two more new genres.

He also troubleshoots a host of films and series for broadcaster around the world, from The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off which went on to win the International Emmy for world's best documentary to the Human Planet and also now new formats in China.

Have any questions? Please get in touch: or 1300 065 281

Robert Thirkell: Factual Masterclass in Melbourne is proudly supported by Film Victoria.


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The Australian Film Television Radio and 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.