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TV Talks: Drama in the Age of Streaming

Promo shot from 'Mystery Road' a male Indigenous detective and female police officer standing on a cattle station
'Mystery Road' | Image via ABC iView

05 Feb 2019,
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Australian Film Television and Radio School

Cuddling up on the couch to watch a great local drama at 8:30 pm, for an hour – does that even happen any more? Or have audiences been trained to put multiple orders in with UberEats as they devote an entire day to watch a season in one go?

What does the transformation in how scripted shows are watched mean for how they are written and made? Australia’s premiere drama creators give their insights into what’s changed for them and what the marketplace now wants – creating, pitching, writing, production – what’s the new normal?

Penny Chapman

Producer, Matchbox Pictures

Penny Chapman is a principal of Matchbox Pictures and a founding partner. Penny is one of Australia’s most experienced television producers. Her most recent production was the political thriller Secret City for Foxtel, which debuted on Foxtel in June  2016 and internationally on Netflix in 2017. The follow-up series, Secret City – Under The Eagle, debuts on Foxtel in early 2019. Other productions include Deadline Gallipoli (Foxtel 2015), Devil’s Playground (Foxtel 2014), The Straits (ABC 2012),The Slap (ABC 2011, executive producer), the children’s drama series My Place (ABC 2010 and 2011), RAN Remote Area Nurse (SBS 2005), The Cooks (Network Ten 2004), Temptation (Network Ten 2003) and The Road From Coorain (ABC 2001). Penny’s documentary productions include Sex: An Unnatural History (SBS 2011, executive producer), Leaky Boat (ABC 2011) Darwin’s Lost Paradise (SBS,2009), Rampant: How A City Stopped A Plague (ABC, 2008) and The Track (ABC, 2000). During the 1990s Penny was Head of TV Drama, then Head of Television at the ABC. During this time she executive produced many dramas including the multi-award winning Brides Of Christ, which she devised, The Leaving Of Liverpool and Blue Murder. In 2010 Penny was awarded the inaugural IF Award for Contribution to the Television Industry and in 2013 Penny won the Screen Producers Australia Maura Fay Award for Services to the industry.

Ian Collie

CEO, Easy Tiger

Ian Collie is one of Australia’s most experienced producers and the founder of Easy Tiger, having previously run the Scripted division of Essential Media.

His credits include the iconic ABC comedy Rake (five seasons with ABC TV), and Nine’s Doctor Doctor (aka The Heart Guy, two seasons). He has produced two series and three telemovies of the crime drama Jack Irish, and the telemovie The Broken Shore, all based on the award-winning novels of Peter Temple.

Ian is also the producer of SBS dramas Sunshine (2017) and The Principal (2016) and ABC TV telefeature Hell has Harbour Views (2005). He was nominated for a PGA Award for his work producing the Disney feature film Saving Mr. Banks (2013) starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

Prior to Essential, he produced a raft of acclaimed documentaries for Hilton Cordell; was the executive director for the Arts Law Centre of Australia, and a solicitor for Slater and Gordon and Cashman & Partners.

Jo Rooney

Co-head Drama, Nine Network

Jo Rooney was appointed Co-Head of Drama for the Nine Network in September 2011, a position she jointly holds with Andy Ryan.

She has been involved in the development, production and commissioning of the hugely successful mini-series Love Child, House of Hancock, Here Come the Habibs, HOWZAT! Kerry Packer’s War, the telemovies Beaconsfield and The Great Mint Swindle, and the series House Husbands, Underbelly: Badness and Tricky Business.

Drama commissions for 2016 include Hyde & Seek, House of Bond, Doctor Doctor, Here Come the Habibs (seasons one and two) and House Husbands (season five).

In 2015, Rooney was Executive Producer of the mini-series Gallipoli, House of Hancock, Love Child (season two) and House Husbands (season four). She was also Executive Producer for the Stan original drama series Wolf Creek and No Activity.

From 2012-2014, she was Executive Producer of the mini-series Love Child, Fat Tony & Co, HOWZAT! Kerry Packer’s War, Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story, Underbelly: Squizzy, Underbelly Badness, as well as the series House Husbands (seasons one and two) and Tricky Business, and three telemovies: Schapelle, The Great Mint Swindle and Beaconsfield.

Rooney was formerly Drama Executive and Executive Producer of Children’s Drama at Nine, involved in ground-breaking projects such as the Underbelly series, Sea Patrol, Rescue Special Ops, The Strip and the telemovies Wicked Love, Blood Brothers and Underbelly: Files. 

She has also commissioned several  Australian children’s dramas, including gURLs wURLD, Dennis & Gnasher, Gasp!, Lockie Leonard, Dogstar, Flea Bitten, The Day My Butt Went Psycho, Buzz Bumble, Skinner Boys Heidi, Pirate Express and Captain Flynn and The Pirate Dinosaurs.

Before joining the Nine Network, Rooney was an Associate Producer at the ABC where she was involved in such award-winning productions as Brides of Christ, The Leaving of Liverpool, Police Rescue, Wildside and Seven Deadly Sins, to name a few.

After the ABC she worked at Southern Star for several years as producer on Water Rats, Young Lions and The Alice, and co-producer with John Edwards on Fireflies and Marking Time.

Rooney was also part of the award-winning team that created Love My Way.

Greer Simpkin

Producer and Head of Television, Bunya Productions

Greer Simpkin joined Bunya Productions as Producer and Head of Television in March 2015. Since joining Bunya, Greer has produced the television drama series Mystery Road (which has won many awards including AACTA best drama series and an AWGIE) and the feature films Sweet Country and Goldstone. Sweet Country won the 2018 AACTA award for best film as well as the Special Jury Prize at Venice and Platform Prize at TIFF. Greer was an Executive Producer on the feature film Jasper Jones and has also produced a number of documentaries.

Before taking up the role at Bunya in March 2015, Greer was Deputy Head of Fiction at ABC Television for 5 years, overseeing a large slate of drama and comedy including the award-winning The Slap, Rake, Jack Irish, Mabo, Janet King, Upper Middle Bogan, Please Like Me, Carlotta, Paper Giants, Dr Blake, Miss Fisher and Devil’s Dust.  Greer was an Executive Producer of The Code, Parer’s War, Hiding, The Secret River, and Serangoon Road. 

MC: Andrew Garrick

Andrew Garrick is best known for Creating and Executive Producing late-night comedy show Tonightly with Tom Ballard. At the ABC, he also produced Comedy Next Gen, and Stand & Deliver, and directed Rookie Reporter for ABC Kids.

The previous few years before working with Aunty included developing, writing, producing and directing major TV projects for various networks and major production houses both here and abroad, including Shine, Freemantle, Beyond, as well as making documentary films around the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Malawi.

Andrew also directs lots of ads, including one just recently choreographing 14 animals to perform in a 60s one-take. His long list of credits includes the RSPCA, Westpac, Formula 1, Opera Australia, Target and Volvo. Andrew is currently Executive Producer of Development at Screentime and teaches Storytelling for Business for AFTRS.

He’s also the Managing Director of Zedtown, a live zombie apocalypse experience for thousands of people at a time (yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous fun) which has recently expanded from Australia into the USA and China.

TV Talks is a free networking event for the TV industry. It is an opportunity to watch, listen and laugh along with a panel of engaging industry guests with some good, old-fashioned networking afterwards. One Tuesday of each month, February through to November. RSVP is essential.