Australian Screen Production Education & Research Association
Established in 2004, ASPERA is the peak discipline body of Australian tertiary institutions teaching and researching film, video, television and new media as screen based production practices. Subscribe to our email list for updates on our research and annual conference:
Latest News & Research
Filmmaking Research Network (FRN)
The Filmmaking Research Network (FRN) is a UK-Australia initiative funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project is lead by Joanna Callaghan at University of Sussex, UK with Dr Susan Kerrigan, University of Newcastle, Australia.
The aim of the Filmmaking Research Network is to develop understanding and consolidate the field of filmmaking research by sharing best practice internationally and developing resources. Read
Various lecturer positions @ AFTRS
AFTRS is currently advertising several six-year lecturer positions.
Lecturer Vacancies include the following disciplines:
Emerging visions: career success factors in Australian screen production
A long-term career in screen production is elusive for most. An analysis of feature film and documentary credits by Screen Australia over the last 40 years suggests that only between 5 and 10 per cent make more than five feature films in their career.
Sci-fi movies 101: an international online collaboration and research-led production (starring robots)
This paper discusses an example of global media production in an educational context that is also a model for online intercultural exchange. We investigate the process of an international, research-led film production project between two universities, RMIT University, Melbourne Australia and the State University of New York, Oswego campus, USA (SUNY Oswego).
Virtual historical reality: verisimilitude and the history documentary
There are two ways to conceive of the cinema of the Real: the first is to pretend that you can present reality to be seen; the second is to pose the problem of reality.
(Morin, quoted in Lee-Wright 2010)
The close relationship between film form (the style of a film and how it is made) and film content (the script or narrative) has been long discussed in reference to truth and authenticity, especially in documentary film production. The argument Edgar Morin presents suggests documentary modes such as cinéma vérité (literally ‘truth cinema’ in French) are perhaps idyllic constructs for a medium in which the very nature of itself is a lie; a presentation of still pictures as believable motion. The Méliès brothers present a divergent view from early cinema. One creating the earliest special-effects films, the other seeking to represent the truth in his documentaries made throughout the South Pacific.
The immersive cinematic sound space: audience perspectives
The changing materiality of moving images and picture sources is a crucial aspect of the space in which screen stories are told. Technologies that capture and present moving images are responsible for our understanding of what we see as audiences; and as makers, how we create reality on screen.
Rethinking genre theory for screenwriting practice: using Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of discourse
Screenwriters are frequently encouraged to use genre as an approach to developing their cinematic storytelling, but—with a personal interest in creating a feature length film noir film—I was concerned that applying genre conventions might result in a highly clichéd screenplay. In order to better understand how genre can be used in practice as a screenwriter, I realised that I would have to revisit both the nature and function of genre in detail.
Looking in a mirror or through a window: mainstream audiences and gay men portrayed in film and television
As 21st century LGBTI emancipation continues apace, screen representations are following suit. But all too often gay-themed films attract only gay audiences, and so tend to “preach to the converted” rather than supporting that emancipation by attracting mainstream, heterosexual audiences.
Transformative meeting: the creative moment in screen performance
In this paper the creative moment in screen performance will be examined. An encounter theory of modern cinema will be introduced and the connectedness of the process of screen performance in filmmaking and its reception explored. The encounter perspective, reflecting an interpretation of creativity based on a traditional romantic view of art, will be exemplified through a thorough case study analysis and critical review of the scholarly literature as it pertains to director-actor collaborations. Influenced by Leo Tolstoy’s treatise “What is Art?” in which Tolstoy argued that a real work of art destroys the separation between the spectator and the artist, this paper will analyse transformative meeting in screen performance. Konstantin Stanislavski’s acting system—that advanced naturalistic techniques to encourage actors to create believable performances, exerting such a profound influence upon method acting on screen—will be deliberated upon, as will the similarities of an aesthetic of impermanence in traditional Japanese Noh, which demands a total identification of the actor with their role. The radical and innovative theatre director Jerzy Grotowski, who considered encounter to be the core of acting—a self-revelation requiring an emergence from oneself, opening up infinite interpretive possibilities for the viewer—will also be appraised.
The scholarly studio: developing a new aesthetic of the multi-camera television studio as an academic research tool
This paper examines the potential to develop live multi-camera screen production methods as a scholarly form of communication. Drawing on experimental work in broadcasting in the 1970s and early 1980s, exemplified by The Journal of Bridget Hitler (Saville 1981), and recent developments in multi-camera live-streaming online and to cinemas the paper asks if we might develop a novel screen production method as a tool to research, review and disseminate knowledge across a range of academic disciplines.
Evocative moments with smartphone cameras
Photography and video making have become entangled with mobility and mobile social media as experienced in everyday life. This, in turn has affected how smartphones and applications influence contemporary everyday aesthetics. Romance, memory, nostalgia, playfulness and epiphany all play a part in the desire to create evocative still and moving images that capture creative moments. Non-representational theoretical concepts provide a way to grapple with the dynamic and intricate relations between creative practices with smartphones and the corporeal messiness of everyday life. This paper aims to capture some of the more-than-representational, the more-than-textual, multi-sensory aspects of visual creative practices with smartphone cameras. It provides a braided account of the dynamic relations between smartphone assemblages and embodied mobility that contribute to current discussions in creative practice research.
Narrative comedy screenwriting: the role of critical reflection in creative practice
Larger classes, reduced class contact time and increased use of casual staff pose challenges to holistic, project-based approaches to teaching screenwriting in the vocational education and training (VET) sector. This paper examines the impact of critical reflection on the process and artefacts of writing a narrative comedy series “Fighting Fit”. It is argued that script writing, as creative practice-led research facilitates a transformative learning process. Transformative learning (Mezirow 1998) refers to a type of learning specific to adult education in which epistemic assumptions are challenged and revised, leading to increased individual agency.
Finding the lightbulb moment: creativity and inspiration in the teaching of the craft of screenwriting
The writing of a screenplay requires inspiration and its development via the processes of creativity and the tools of craft. This paper explores a practical integration of creativity and craft in The Creativity Workshop for Screenwriting, a workshop intensive where university screenwriting students were encouraged to seek inspiration through a structured series of creative exercises and develop an awareness of their own creative process in the writing of the proposal for a screenplay.
The special place of fiction in creative practice research: a screenwriting approach
Creative practice research has become a staple of many university research cultures, and is core to the work of many members of the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association community. We know of its potential as a site of knowledge production and dissemination; we know of its fabric and guiding principles; and we know how to articulate it to others, such as in the form of accompanying research statements that distinguish it from professional (or commercial) practice. Little, however, has been written about the form that this type of research takes; specifically, why one might choose fiction over non-fiction to express, embody or otherwise perform research. In many ways, non-fiction screen works are straightforward to argue as research, usually because the research is explicit in its content. But what of fiction: of film, television and web drama screenplays set in imagined worlds?
The filmmakers’ research perspectives: an overview of Australian and UK filmmaking research
Filmmaking research is part of the broader practice research paradigm – known as practice-led, practice-based and creative practice research – where films are created as research outputs in fiction, documentary and hybrid forms. Filmmaking researchers’ enquiries into production practices, techniques, modes and genres used in cinema, television and online have been successfully conducted using filmmaking as a primary research method. This paper sets out to explore the approaches used in filmmaking research that have been adopted in Australia and the UK, to identify the similarities and differences between the two research environments by looking at nine sample research projects.
CILECT Congress 2016 registration still open
When: 20-24 November 2016
Where: Brisbane, Australia
Further details: cilect_congress_2016_invitation
Online registration: http://bit.ly/2eVzaYq
Research Fellowship Opportunity
2017 AFIRC Research Fellowship
Proposals are invited from scholars wishing to undertake research that utilises and promotes the resources of the AFI Research Collection.
The Fellowship is designed to showcase the unique holdings of the AFIRC, including film stills, newspaper clippings and other significant artefacts from the Australian film and television industry.
Morning coffee & chat
What should a ‘disruptive’ journal of media practice look like?
Grab a morning (virtual) coffee with us and join us in sunny Melbourne for a discussion about creative practice research and ‘publishing’ practice-based research artefacts.
Notice of the ASPERA Annual General Meeting
This is to advise of the upcoming annual general meeting of the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association. This meeting will conclude the 3 day ASPERA annual conference. The details of the annual general meeting are as follows:
Date: 7 July 2016
Place: Building 6 Level B room 45, University of Canberra, University Drive, Bruce ACT
2016 ASPERA Conference
ASPERA 2016 Registration now open, …details available here
The Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association invites educators and researchers from around the world to the ASPERA July 2016 Conference in Canberra, The Conference will be looking at the Big Questions that are exciting researchers and educators in Screen Production.
5-7 July 2016 – Canberra, Australia
ASPERA Boot Camp
From screen production to academic publication – and back again
An ASPERA research sub-committee boot camp for HDRs and ECRs
Monday July 4 2016, University of Canberra
Writing with/on/for the Screen
A special issue of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, co-edited by Craig Batty and Susan Kerrigan, has just been published. Themed ‘Writing with/on/for the Screen’, the special issue features 8 articles authored by members of the ASPERA community.
2016 Screen Futures Summit
An international conference for the education and screen industries. It will inspire and connect content makers, classroom teachers, educators and media lovers through robust conversation and creative workshops with future-focused leaders.
1-3 July 2016 – Melbourne, Australia
Creative Practice Research Seed Grant
Applications close 13 June 2016
ASPERA offers the ‘ASPERA Creative Practice Research Seed Grant’ to encourage the expansion of screen-related creative practice research projects by members of the ASPERA community. It aims to support research and facilitate collaborative cross-institutional research by contributing directly to such research activities or assisting in the preparation and submission of major grant applications leading to an increase in creative practice research outcomes.
Opportunities at Swinburne
Two full-time ongoing academic positions available commencing mid-2016
Swinburne School of Film and Television, Melbourne
Lecturer/Senior Lecturers in Film and Television
Applications close: 5pm AEDT, Friday 26 February 2016
Call for films and papers: Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy
The Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture at RMIT University, with the support of ASPERA, is pleased to announce the second Sightlines festival, 28 – 29 Nov 2016.
January 2016 Newsletter
- Google group closing
- PhD scholarships
- Creative Arts Research symposium
November 2015 Newsletter
– 2015 ASPERA Creative Practice Research Seed Grant awarded to Dr Karen Pearlman
– CILECT Congress 2016
– AFTRS Summer School offer
– ASPERA Conference
The ASPERA 2015 refereed conference proceedings are now available! 9 papers ranging from screenwriting to mobile media to education – please read and spread the word! Thanks to all authors for their contributions to screen production research.
Let’s see what we can see: combining knowledge and perception centred understandings of moving image materiality
The changing materiality of moving images and picture sources is a crucial aspect of the space in which screen stories are told. Technologies that capture and present moving images are responsible for our understanding of what we see as audiences; and as makers, how we create reality on screen.
From Barbie Video Girl to Smartphones: How portable media devices are shaping new screen production practices.
From Barbie dolls capable of recording video through to tablet computers and smartphones with cameras, portable digital media devices are arguably changing our relationship with technology and providing new and innovative means to produce a wide range of video content.
Author:Tim Howle (music) / Nick Cope (video)
Diving into film production process – in search of the ‘interpretant’ in screen adaptation
University of Canberra
The role of a screenwriter in an adaptation is not just to condense and capture the essence of the novel; s/he writes for many readers. The role of the cinematographer is not just to frame the image and get the exposure right; s/he visualises the internal.
“It’s the Wild West out there”: Can web series destabilise traditional notions of script development?
This paper proposes that the concept of ‘script development’—already an ambiguous and arguably unexamined term—is further complicated by the rise of the ‘webisode’, drawing from existing discourse and scholarship on web series, much of which focuses upon (and/or problematises) an assumed amateur/professional binary that would cast online media as ‘other’.
Exploring Primary and Emotional Goals within an Agent-Oriented, Animation Production Process
The creation of 3D character animation is underpinned by the expertise in animation software, movement and creative screen techniques. With these varied foundations, the intricacies of the production process are challenging for an animator to communicate beyond the animation department.
Screen Production and Knowledges of the Body
Screen production can be much more than a representational mode; it can be a powerful tool to investigate subjects that are difficult to represent or pin down. It has been theorised that an important feature of the intercultural film is to move beyond the seeable and sayable towards a more haptic experience of the moving image.
Australian Streaming Services and the Relationship Between Viewing Data and Local Television Drama Production
The recent introduction of video streaming services into the Australian television industry has already had a significant impact on the local broadcast and subscription ecology.
Experimenting with Distribution Models for the PhD Documentary
This paper examines the experimental process for a filmmaker who takes a traditional feature-length PhD documentary film and explores new distribution options for it, including Video On Demand (VOD), video capabilities on Social Networking Sites, and various models of Interactive Documentary. In other words, how does a filmmaker release a documentary, made for academic purposes, via contemporary networked platforms?
Fostering Students’ Collaboration Skills in University-based Screen Production Courses
Film and video production is globally experiencing rapid and fundamental change, thanks to the development of new technologies and platforms across production, distribution and exhibition.
Best Intentions TV pilot
Screenplay (46kB PDF)
Authors: Marilyn Tofler & Jeremy Stanford (screenplay) and Marilyn Tofler (research component)
QUT students meet David Lynch
Dr. Mark Ryan (centre with hat), A QUT senior lecturer, and 30 film, screen and animation students were invited to an hour-long Master Class David Lynch at GOMA, Brisbane, on March 14.
More info available here.
President’s Oct 2015 Newsletter
This is the first of what I hope will be a series of occasional newsletters on the activities of the ASPERA committees in coming months. Read
Shock Room screening at ACMI Wednesday 25th November
Kathryn Millard’s feature documentary Shock Room will screen at ACMI Wednesday 25th November 6.30 pm.
The screening will include a Q and A about the project with Kathryn.
Shock Room recently premiered in Australia at Antenna Documentary Festival where it won ‘Best Feature Documentary’.
With the support of ASPERA, a range of participants were asked to respond to three questions:
1) What do you think the relationship should be between the screen industry and academic film makers?
2) How do you think academic filmmaking could be funded?
3) Do you think academic filmmaking needs written text to count as research?
CILECT Congress 2016
In November 2016, just over 1-year hence, Griffith Film School (GFS) will be hosting CILECT Congress, 2016 in Brisbane. CILECT is the World Association of Film Schools and it is expected that many CILECT member institutions will send delegates to attend this Congress, the theme of which will be ‘Ethics and Aesthetics’. All ASPERA institutions and their faculty are coupled with CILECT through ASPERA’s Associate Membership of the organisation.
The MINA Symposium and Screening provides a platform for filmmakers, artists, designers, researchers, educators and industry professionals to debate the prospect of wireless, mobile and ubiquitous technologies in art and design, education, and the creative industries and on-going development of mobile social media, mobile technologies, mobile production and mobile aesthetics.
Studies in Australasian Cinema – ASPERA special issue 1
This special issue of the well known journal is now available online, and will be in print later this month.
Editors Susan Kerrigan and Craig Batty can offer up to 50 readers free access to the editorial introduction by clicking here.
This introduction sets the scene for screen production research and gives an overview of the 6 full articles by members of the ASPERA community. Spread the word and help us to promote the research successes of ASPERA!
New Screen Makers Conference
On Tuesday 9 June the Media Resource Centre (MRC) launched its New Screen Makers Conference to be held at the Mercury Cinema on 18-19 July 2015. The aim of the conference is to prepare the next generation of screen makers on what they need to know to build a sustainable career. Speakers will focus on new career pathways and monetisation strategies. Guest are coming from You Tube, I-View, SBS on Demand and successful online shows such as The Katering Show.
Moving Image Narrative (MIN) Research Cluster
Moving Image Narrative is a site for a collaborative and interactive, text, image, sound, and moving image based experimental research journal. It is also a project seeking to engage with local and international research related to; sound, image, movement, narrative, storytelling. The Moving Image Narrative (MIN) Research Cluster, a ragbag collection of artists, professionals, academics, associated with Film, Visual and Performing Arts Disciplines at the Victorian College of the Arts, a Faculty of the University of Melbourne, was initiated in 2014.
CFP: Gender and the Screenplay: Processes, Practices, Perspectives
A special issue of Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network
eds. Louise Sawtell and Stayci Taylor (RMIT University, Melbourne)
While plenty has been written about gender representation on screen, much less has been written about gender in regards to screenplays. Emerging scholarly research around screenwriting practice often focuses on questions of the craft – is screenwriting a technical or creative act? – and whether or not the screenplay’s only destiny is to disappear into the film (Maras 1999).
Call For Papers Extension: A one-day symposium on The Films of Ivan Sen
University of Canberra, Friday 10 July 2015
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Sen has written and directed a number of feature films including Beneath Clouds and Mystery Road, as well as Loveland, a sci-fi romance currently under-development. He is recognised for his low budget, minimal crew approach to filmmaking as well as his short films and documentaries. By highlighting the work of Ivan Sen, and showcasing his trajectory as an artist, the symposium will explore his career to date and contribute to the appreciation and knowledge of Australian cinema.
Call for Papers: Female Authorship in Contemporary Documentary Media
In conjunction with women’s increasing claim to equal societal rights and vocalisation on a global scale, women have also taken centre stage in the documentation of contemporary issues.
Of course, this is not a new phenomenon per se; in terms of culture and scholarship women have been seeking to establish myriad voices and perspectives on issues of gender, politics, history and selfhood throughout the various waves of feminism.
ASPERA Creative Practice Research Seed Grant deadline
The ASPERA Executive reminds you the ASPERA Creative Practice Research Seed Grant deadline for submissions is May 22, 2015. Please send your application using the supplied pro forma available here on or before this date.
Walking on the Dark Side: Images, Techniques and Themes in Student Short Films
When it comes time for Australian film students to produce their major projects, they are usually given complete freedom to choose their topics. Having been a lecturer involved with student short film production for over ten years, I have often been struck by the recurring images and themes that tend to emerge.
Creative Screen Labour: Capital Reciprocity in Micro-Budget Corporate Documentary
Screen production is often described as ‘a love project’ when the film is made on a micro-budget, using volunteer labour and complex reciprocal arrangements to ensure it is completed to a professional standard. This research explores what drives a crew member work unpaid on a friend’s film.
Database Documentaries: New Documentary Practices in Emergent Narrative Spaces and the Classroom
The development of sophisticated portable media tools, social media applications and high-speed communication networks has arguably changed our understanding of the documentary form. Database documentaries offer filmmakers and audiences new ways to produce and/or experience a wide range of narrative forms.
Researching ‘The Shoot Out Filmmaking Festival’ by Targeting Creativity
The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival began in Newcastle in 1999 and ran annually until 2008. The premise was that films had to be made in a 24-hour period and to authenticate the festival timeframe each film included specific items filmed at local sites. In some years the festival attracted up to 180 film crews, who annually swarmed the streets of Newcastle to film in specified locations, in a linear order to comply with another rule: ‘in-camera’ editing.
Development of a University Feature Film Production Model
This paper presents one possible model for constructing a university feature film production course. This approach was developed through my Screen Production PhD (Young 2013), where I researched my role as a feature producer on Double Happiness Uranium (2013).
With the support of ASPERA, Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy was a film festival/conference held at RMIT University in November 2014. A range of participants were asked to respond to the question: do you think academic filmmaking needs written text to count as research? Here are their responses, filmed and edited by Nicholas Hansen.
Creative Practices Research Methodology Bibliography
UTS: Communication, Creative Practices Group Creative Practices Research Methodology Bibliography (144kb PDF) by Marie McKenzie.
The Anonymous Actor – Ethics and Screen Production Research
All research in Australian universities involving human participants needs approval from human research ethics committees, who make judgments consistent with accepted ethical principles that have recently been captured in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). Making a film as an academic research project is a relatively recent phenomenon and there are apparent contradictions between the requirements for ethics approval and the accepted practice of screen production.
Creative practice as a research tool: benefits and pitfalls
In this paper I examine how my creative practice as a filmmaker prepared me for academia. I argue that the rigors of filmmaking are transferable to other disciplines.
Applying creativity theories to a documentary filmmaker’s practice
The generally accepted definition for a documentary is ‘the creative treatment of actuality’ (Grierson, 1933, p. 8). Documentary scholars have rigorously discussed and dissected, the meaning that Grierson may have intended for this phrase, (Corner, 1996; Higson, 1995; Montagu, 1964; Winston, 1995). While the terms ‘treatment’ and ‘actuality’ have been debated and defined, interpretations of creativity that cite psychological and socio-cultural creativity research (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Sawyer, 2006; Sternberg, 1988, 1999) do not appear in the literature to date.
A Good Take: The process as a site for screen production research
Screen production as an academic research discipline has struggled to establish itself, both within the broader higher education sector and in relation to the film and television industry. The lack of conceptual and analytical frameworks with which to understand screen production and which resonate with the experience of professional practitioners contributes to this.
Encouraging Critical Practice in Media Students: The Digital Dossier Initiative
In a fluid and rapidly changing media landscape, today’s screen production students more than ever require skills in ‘critical practice’ to enable them to play leading roles in tomorrow’s screen culture and industries. It is extremely difficult to find pedagogical approaches that facilitate student learning of creative and technical production skills and at the same time place these within a critical and theoretical context that encourages the questioning of and experimentation with existing production and aesthetic paradigms.
Talking With Dinosaurs? Some reflections on the role of the documentary in screen production education
This paper reflects on the role of the documentary in screen production education and the implications for Australian screen educators of current debates about the form’s place in the audiovisual schedule.
Writing and Improvising the Digital Essay Film: the Boot Cake
This paper reflects on the process of writing and producing the author’s feature- length non-fiction film about Chaplin imitators in India: The Boot Cake. (www.thebootcake.com) It aims to contribute to debate about 1. innovative screen production processes and aesthetics, and 2. the value accorded screen practice research in universities. Writing and Improvising the Digital Essay Film investigates how semi-structured improvisations and collaborations might provide models for the film making process in a digital environment.
A Safety Induction ‘Blue Card’ for the film, television and new media industry in Queensland and Australia
Failures to manage occupational risk competently and comply with occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation can jeopardise the attainment of business objectives, limit or negate profits, and inhibit an entities sustainability. Enterprises and individuals failing to manage occupational risk appropriately may also incur financial or custodial penalties. Some businesses may even be curtailed as a result of enforced closure or costly and ongoing litigation.