Three lucky RMIT students had a chance to work behind the scenes through placements in the new ABC drama Newton’s Law.
Students in the School of Media and Communication had an exciting work integrated learning opportunity on the set of the eight-part drama series produced by Every Cloud Productions in association with the ABC, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
Created by the team behind Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, Newton’s Law stars Claudia Carvan as a suburban solicitor who returns to the Bar.
During development, Every Cloud Productions offered placements in the story room to Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting students Sonia Esposito and Catharine Boothroyd.
Co-producer Anna Molyneaux and Development Manager Katherine Fry said Every Cloud Productions is keen to support the development of creative talent, particularly those based in Victoria, by offering students access to a hands-on experience in departments relevant to their studies.
“With the script department it’s generally preferred to keep the number of writers in a story room to a small group, so it’s notoriously difficult for new writers to gain insight into the story and scripting process for television,” Fry said.
“In addition to observing this process Sonia and Catharine took notes during the plotting meetings which became a valuable reference for the writers.
“They had the opportunity to read the scene breakdowns and draft scripts to see how the episodes evolved and were also invited to the script ‘read through’ with the cast and crew.
“Catharine was further mentored by writer Chris Corbett and shadow wrote one of the episodes that Chris wrote and he provided her with valuable feedback."
Boothroyd said the biggest challenge of the placement was keeping up with the note-taking and knowing what to type up and what to leave out.
“A highlight of the experience for me was watching Every Cloud pitch the show to the ABC and also seeing how the idea for the episode evolved,” Boothroyd said.
Maggie O'Shea, who is studying a Bachelor of Communication (Media), was offered an internship in the production office during the shooting of the show.
“Maggie worked with our production manager both in the office and on set, observing and assisting in the many practical areas that keep a production ticking, from attending casting and production meetings to assisting with the daily administration that is essential throughout the production process,” co-producer Anna Molyneaux said.
Professor Lisa French, Deputy Dean (Media), said Every Cloud Productions is leading the industry in efforts to redress the gender imbalance; the company has more women than men in key roles and actively recruits women.
“This is unusual in the film and television industry where women are generally the minority across most roles,” French said.
Some scenes were shot at RMIT’s city campus in the former Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, giving media students on campus the opportunity to observe first-hand prime Australian television drama being shot literally next door to their classrooms.
Story: Wendy Little