Producer Imogen Banks and screenwriter Alice Bell have launched a new program for women starting out as television writers: Smart for a Girl: Roar. With financial support from Gender Matters: Brilliant Careers, the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (Adg) mentorship program, Banks and Bell will show 15 female screenwriters “how an idea is developed into a television series through the processes of a writers’ room,” per Screen Australia.
According to Banks and Bell — who have collaborated on series “Offspring” and “The Beautiful Lie” — they started Smart for a Girl: Roar “to address the lack of new female voices coming into the TV industry.” They originally planned to accept 12 writers into the program but increased the number of spots to 15 after receiving a whopping 935 applications.
“Reading the 935 submissions personally — yes, every single one — has shown us what we suspected when we set out to create the Smart For A Girl: Roar initiative: that there is a high level of untapped talent out there,” Bell stated. “Imogen and I feel privileged to be able to work with these emerging female screenwriters, guiding them into realizing their ideas creatively, but also exposing them to the television industry in a nurturing way.”
Alongside Smart for a Girl: Roar and Gender Matters, the last year has seen the launch of several other initiatives for women in the Australian entertainment industry. Screen Australia introduced Doco180 for documentary filmmakers, and the National Film Board announced its plans to increase the number of women in creatives roles in film.
Smart for a Girl: Roar’s workshops kick off today.
The projects accepted to the Smart for a Girl: Roar program and their creators are below. List and synopses courtesy of Screen Australia.
Unruly Girls from creator/writer Clare Young, shadow writer Ella Roby, and note-taker Lily Daubney. A mini-series inspired by the 1961 riot at the notorious Parramatta Girls Home, Unruly Girls follows a group of delinquent girls learning to kick against a corrupt system and fight to be their own kings.
ID from creator/writer Vanessa Gazy, shadow writer Zuleika Khan, and note-taker Katherine Sullivan. In this tense drama series a woman disappears, forcing her estranged, identical twin sister to revisit their murky history and accept that once again the lines between their identities are beginning to blur.
The Spoils from creator/writer Zoe Pepper, writer Anna Lindner, and note-taker Lili Owen. In this half-hour drama-comedy a woman chosen to pioneer a new planet wantonly hurls grenades into her life, telling everyone she knows what she really thinks of them — but when the mission is aborted she is forced to stay and piece her life back together.
Reconciliation Rescue from creator/writer Angelina Hurley, shadow writer Alisha Hnatjuk, and note-taker Matilda Ridgeway. This half-hour comedy series follows an Aboriginal woman who finds herself accidentally caught up in bringing the nation together.
Empath from creator/writer Ash Ricardo, shadow writer Imogen McCluskey, and note-taker Georgina Love. In this one-hour drama series a woman accidentally discovers that a revolutionary new medical device can read emotion, propelling her into a world of conspiracy, corruption, mass-manipulation, and the mysteries of neuroscience.
Australia’s Smart for a Girl: Roar Program Supports Entry-Level Female TV Writers was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.