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WHERE'S THE DRAMA?

The stuff that dreams are made of

2 INT   FILM-MAKERS IN THE MAKING   DAY

 

A FILM SCHOOL THAT'S A PRODUCTION STUDIO

SYDNEY INSTITUTE FILM ACADEMY - SIFA

"What we want are more people who specialise in the impossible." 

LEADING TO AN ADVANCED DIPLOMA IN SCREEN & MEDIA 

There is no other film school in Australia that offers what SIFA is offering - a full-time production environment / studio that encourages you to develop and refine your screen storytelling skills working as part of an energetic production team creating and marketing long-form dramas, feature documentaries & television drama & comedy series. As well as trailers & music video clips with tie-ins to the features on our production slate. Learn on the job, not in the classroom!

Discover & develop your talents writing and producing strong, character-driven scripts. 

The SIFA Writers' Table: Industry-standard approach to creating & writing commercially viable television drama & situation-comedy series. Mentored by Bernie Zelvis & Stoneking.

 

Join the team working at SIFA, the only film school anywhere in the world that offers its students continuous on-the-job learning opportunities in all areas of long-form story production from screenwriting to post-production and marketing, including location shoots.

WE MAKE FEATURES & FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES,  TELEVISION DRAMA & COMEDY SERIES, TRAILERS, REALITY TV & AND LIVE-TO-AIR CURRENT AFFAIRS AND ISSUE BASED ARTS PROGRAMS.  

NO SHORTS!  NO LECTURES!  NO "FORMAL" TEACHING!  NO SITTING IN CLASSROOMS, PASSIVELY RECEIVING 2nd HAND INFORMATION THAT YOU CAN'T IMMEDIATELY APPLY.  

If you come to SIFA (Sydney Institute Film Academy, Randwick) the learning happens ON THE JOB - and the job is full-time.

Second feature (AUSTRALIAN SPRING) is currently in post. Third feature (RELLIES) commences shooting in October, 2016. Feature documentary is also currently in post, and two, television sitcom pilots and another feature (location shoot) start principle photography in first half of 2017.

Join the revolution. There's no other film school in Australia offering what we do.  

 

SIFA (Sydney Institute Film Academy) wants YOU to join the production team.

At SIFA, in addition to making great music video clips - like the one above - student filmmakers write, cast, design, produce, direct, record, shoot, edit, grade and market long-form features, feature documentaries, and TV drama & comedy pilots for commercial television as well as the world-wide web. And that's only for starters.  

Don’t go to just any film school, come and learn at the most revolutionary screen and media school in Australia - more of a production studio than a school We make drama!  We make stories! 24/7. No lectures, no classrooms.  Hands-on, on-the-job learning, guided by the most inspired mentors in the business.  

 

  PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a theoretical course. SIFA's mission is to provide solid and challenging real-life experiences and opportunities for screen storytellers to participate directly in the development, production and marketing of commercially viable features, web and television drama & comedy series, etc. Including industry-standard location shoots outside the Sydney Area,

Email expressions of interest to Anthony McGann at

Anthony.McGann@tafensw.edu.au 

MORE DETAILS HERE 

'SEEING THE ELEPHANT' CREATED A REVOLUTIONARY BENCHMARK IN SCREEN

& MEDIA STORYTELLING -STARTING A TRADITION THAT CONTINUES AT SIFA

WHY NOT JOIN THE NEXT ADVENTURE? 

 TRY SYDNEY SCREENWRITERS' STUDIO

 10 sessions over ten weeks, absolutely free! 

As a special introductory offer, S.I.F.A. is offering prospective candidates to the year-long Screenwriters' Workshop a chance to "test-drive" the program by attending a ten-week, workshop conducted by writer / producer Billy Marshall Stoneking, AT NO COST! 

At conclusion of the ten-week workshop, participants - at their discretion - may elect to enrol for a further 12 months at a nominal cost, which also includes workshops in directing, producing, editing, and design.  Participation is limited to 20 participants. First come / first served. Interested parties are invited to send their names and contact details to Anthony at

 Anthony.McGann@tafensw.edu.au  

or call Billy Marshall Stoneking for more details on 0437 864 487 

FREE WORKSHOP COMMENCES Monday, 5th September at 10 am

Meets consecutive Mondays for ten weeks.

Location: Randwick TAFE, Level 1, Rm 122, Randwick NSW AUSTRALIA - HURRY!

 

"STONEKING IS A STORYTELLER EXTRAORDINAIRE."

- Maya Newell, Director, Gayby Baby

Stoneking’s passionate and illuminating approach to screenwriting have been inspiring writers, directors, documentary film-makers, editors, actors and others for more than 15 years. The "Stoneking treatment" (employed on films like Chopper and Gayby Baby) involves a thoroughly dramatic, character-based process of self-discovery, the ultimate aim of which is the transformation of the screenwriter/storyteller into a MEDIUM for character & story. 

To experience "drama" as a medium, is to work inside the story world, not as "a writer", a master puppeteer pulling all the strings, but as one character among other characters.

To work as a medium is to embark on the most vivid and imaginative odyssey of one's creative life - a deeply sacred and totally practical journey grounded in one's origins and those life stories (both conscious and unconscious) that form the essence of one's Being.

Such a quest is at once intensely personal and thoroughly communal - a collaborative, some times daunting but always exciting exploration of one's freedom and one's servitude and what it means to be DRAMATICALLY human.   

TWO TESTIMONIALS 

"One of my films in ACTUAL financing!  Billy helped make me a writer who can sell her work. x"

Lou Sanz,  Writer, performer

"The writing process can be a kind of cruel and twisted, self-imposed, existential therapy, but Billy's perspective makes you embrace the challenge. He has a depth of understanding of story across cinema, theatre, prose and poetry, and an intuitive knowledge of human emotion and psychology. It reminds you what you always loved about film-making and inspires you to create great work."
 
Sarah-Jane WoulahanWriter/Director

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MORE TESTIMONIALS

 

NOTE : Writers, filmmakers, actors, poets & others interested in organising, hosting or otherwise sponsoring a tailor-made seminar or workshop should contact :          

STONEKING SEMINARS
on   0437 864 487

or write to

  Stoneking Seminars

READ MORE TESTIMONIALS

 

STORY SEMINARS FOR COMPANIES / BUSINESSES / GOVERNMENT HERE 

FOR INFO ABOUT THE YEAR-LONG SCREENWRITERS' STUDIO KEEP READING... 

 

Conducted by Billy Marshall Stoneking & Bernie Zelvis

CALLING ALL WRITERS, FILMMAKERS, ACTORS, PLAYWRIGHTS, NOVELISTS, & POETS

Announcing our  

OCTOBER  2016  INTAKE 

 JOIN THE REVOLUTION!

If you have a "nose" for story and a passion for writing or developing a dramatic screenplay, within a positive and inspirational environment that will also assist you in cultivating your story instincts and collaborative skills working with a group of motivated writers, directors, producers and others, consider joining  "the writers' table" at the SYDNEY SCREENWRITERS' STUDIO
 
Writer / filmmakers, Billy Marshall Stoneking & Bernie Zelvis, are facilitating a year-long script-development programme which, unlike other workshops that last for a day or a week, provides a pathway to production for selected scripts. In 2016 the emphasis will be on developing FEATURES. However, if you have a great idea for a short, or would simply like to develop an idea for a story or documentary The Sydney Screenwriters' Workshop is for you. 
 
WHO IS IT FOR? : The script development programme is for both very experienced and less experienced writers, and runs from October 2016 through to October 2017, every Monday at SIFA (RANDWICK TAFE) from 10am to 1pm.  In 2016, the focus will be on developing viable feature-film projects, both fictional and factional (documentary), as well as short-form dramatic scripts. 
 
Previous initiatives include several multi-plot features, including 2015's feature production, Blackout Bandits - which presented a dark comedy based around the repercussions of a major power failure in the metropolitan Sydney area.
 
 
 
In particular, we are looking for a team of 8 to 10 screenwriters that would like to collaborate to write an out-of-the-box genre feature (zombie film) to be produced in 2017 by SIFA (Sydney Institute Film Academy.
 
Project mentors are Bernie Zelvis and Billy Marshall Stoneking.
 
Film will be shot on location in and around Galong NSW (west of Canberra) over a fortnight.
 
Writers of the screenplay are eligible to apply for positions on the film (director, producer, design, sound, editing, etc)
 
Feature to be shot multi-cam on IPhone6+
 
Script to be completed by end of 2016.
 
If you'd like to join the writer's table and be involved in this project, we welcome expressions of interest to stonekingseminars@hotmail.com -
 
This is one of the production projects on offer through the SYDNEY SCREENWRITERS' STUDIO. It will be the 4th feature drama to be produced by SIFA in the past three years - and more to come!
 
Four feature scripts (including a documentary feature) have been written during 2014-15. Three are in post, and a fourth -  a multi-plot story about dysfunctional families, working title Rellies - starts production in September 2016. 
 
 

OUTCOMES : The goal of the SYDNEY SCREENWRITERS' STUDIO is to encourage, assist and support writers in developing produceable scripts that are eligible (at the writer's discretion) for production by the Production Unit of the Screen & Media Department at the Sydney Institute Film Academy (SIFA) at Randwick TAFE.  PLEASE NOTE : Writers are not bound by this and may elect to take their scripts elsewhere at their choosing.

Another important component of the program involves mentoring and support for the marketing of those films that are ":green-lit". by SIFA. Studio writers are encouraged to participate in this important aspect of the creative process.

(NOTE:  In 2015 the focus was on writing pilots for three situation comedies for television, conceived and created by those writers invited to join "The Writers' Table" at Randwick.) Pilot episodes of both sitcoms will commence in the first half of 2017. 

 

PLEASE NOTE : Storyteller / writers from all backgrounds including directors, actors, poets, playwrights, novelists and others are urged to apply. In particular, we are looking for writers with odd, dangerous, dramatic and entertaining voices and stories. Also filmmakers interested in developing story ideas, including documentary treatments.

TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST, OR FOR MORE DETAILS,

SEND YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS TO EITHER

BILLY MARSHALL STONEKING at stonekingseminars@hotmail.com 

or call Billy on 0437 864 487 -

OR

ANTHONY MCGANN at Anthony.McGann@tafensw.edu.au  

or call Anthony on 0421 016 096 

 

Workshop / studio will operate weekly.

Mondays from 10 am to 1 pm

Enrolment entitles participants to attend & be involved in ALL S.I.F.A. production classes/seminars  (inc. directing, producing, design, cinematography and editing). 

 

 

BillyMarshallStoneking-Interview : ON FILM-MAKING from Billy Marshall Stoneking on Vimeo.

ATTENTION : A full-time Production Unit (carrying a fully accredited Advanced diploma) with a healthy slate of films & TV series scheduled for 2016 and 2017 is currently enrolling. If you have been seeking some affordable, on-the-job training and/or professional mentoring and have been longing to work within a creative and mutually supportive team of dedicated screen storytellers to develop and refine your skills, the Production Unit might be what you're looking for. Inquiries from camera persons, directors, editors, designers and others are invited.

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    SPECIAL WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS

 

  "Although my time was brief with you, you're still the most influential mentor on my writing."     

    + Jared Beekhuyz

 

"At last someone not charging bullshit prices based on the cult of personality...cool."  

Mirek Krejci

 

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THE DRAMA of SCREENWRITING 

  
The 4-day Character Workshop in Dramatic Screen Storytelling
Powerful and believable characters are essential to the life of any screenplay, and the screenwriter's relationship with character is the primary relationship in the dramatic enterprise of "finding the story". What binds the writer to character is a DRAMATIC PROBLEM - a character must have a problem that is both urgent and of such magnitude that it carries risk or threat enough to demand that the character do something about it NOW. Later, other relationships enter into the process, particularly the writer's relationship with audience, and tribe; but the fundamental relationship between the writer and the characters remains; and if it is strong and clear, the characters' relationship with the audience will be forged with a profound sense of emotional involvement and identification.

Over FOUR DAYS, a select group of participants will come face-to-face with the living emotional energy that is the basis of effective, cinematic  CHARACTER-BASED DRAMATIC storytelling. To experience this energy and to be able to apply it, participants will be initiated into the secret/sacred art of MEDIUMSHIP.  The energy for the storyteller as well as for the characters is transformative

To experience "screen drama"  as a medium,  is to work inside the story world, not as "the writer, director, actor, etc" but as one character among other characters. It is to embark on a deeply sacred and utterly logical journey grounded in those life stories (both conscious and unconscious) that inform the essence of your Being. Such a quest is at once intensely personal and thoroughly communal - a collaborative, some times daunting, exploration of one's freedom and one's servitude, and what it means to be DRAMATICALLY human.

The DRAMA OF SCREENWRITING Workshop is neither McKee warmed up nor Syd Field in paraphrase, but a totally unique take on screen story-finding that will change the way  you connect with your characters, and they connect with each other.  

This workshop has started many filmmakers on the road to creating and developing award-winning and critically acclaimed short films, features and documentaries.   

     SECRETS, LIES & FILM-MAKING

 

STORY and STORYTELLING, in whatever guise, whether as poem, play, or film, is an act of love, and yet the act of finding the story is fraught with danger, and almost always bound up in some way with one's fears, prejudices, and expectations. 

When the painter, Jackson Pollack, spoke of a painting as having "a life of its own," he underscored the core insight and action of every creative artist. To create anything (as opposed to merely "copying" or employing a recipe) is to work as a MEDIUM.

The work of the "Mediumistic" film storyteller involves a way of Being that is familiar to anyone that has overcome the fear, stagnation and unfocused idleness of habit (read: technique, method, formula). which is antithetical to every act of authentic creation. If art is the absence of stupidity, then the filmmaker-as-medium will disdain all acts of stupidity and cowardice, though the way to the fulfillment of every dream may lead hazardously through both.
 
Secrets, Lies and Film-making is an intensive one-day seminar that introduces film storytellers, including screen actors, to the salient aspects of a radical approach to dramatic screen storytelling.

Learn the secrets that come from working inside your characters.

Uncover the lies that frustrate your interactions with the characters.

Explore the emotional and psychological hinterland of those characters that are unique to your "tribal" circumstances.

Discover why every screenplay and film that WORKS is built upon the quality of the relationships that both the cast and the crew have with the characters - ALL of the characters, including those that live OUTSIDE the actual screenplay.

Participants at Secrets, Lies & Filmmaking at Bangalow (NSW) - sponsored by Screenworks - November, 2009

DONE THE WORKSHOP? 

BUY THE T-SHIRT!

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                            PITCH SPORTZ

 

A stimulating and inspiring ONE- or TWO-DAY workshop (depending on numbers) assists writers, producers and others in building the courage and confidence necessary for pitching their film, television and digital media ideas and projects.

Conducted by screenwriter/filmmaker/mentor, Billy Marshall Stoneking, this learner-centered, team-based pitching experience places YOU at the center of the action in a fast-paced and thoroughly engrossing re-creation of the professional pitching environment, whether it be in Sydney or LA... 

 

Find out, first-hand,  how to deal with the pressures and expectations of selling your script and how to transform your ideas into the energy that commands attention.

Discover the secrets of building intrigue, tracking emotional energy & "turning on" your audience to YOUR screenplays and television projects...

A PITCH is NOT a presentation; it's a DRAMA - it is NOT about transferring information; it is about creating enthusiasm. The pitch is the place where business and art meet.

Workshop will cover the following topics::

WHAT SHOULD MY PITCH INCLUDE?  WHO'S IT FOR? WHAT IS IT?
HOW LONG SHOULD IT BE?
HOW MUCH OF MY STORY SHOULD I GIVE AWAY?
HOW DO I DEVELOP A LOG-LINE?
WHAT FORMATS SHOULD I USE?
HOW DO I STAY FOCUSED ON THE MAIN CHARACTER’S JOURNEY?
WHAT IS A PREMISE, AND HOW DO DEVELOP ONE?
HOW DO I PREPARE AND RELAX?

                           SCRIPT SHRINK

A Script Development Workshop

When asked for his definition of jazz, Duke Ellington replied: “It’s what you leave out.” Unfortunately, what too many screenwriters leave out of their scripts is the energy that compels an audience's emotional involvement and identification with the characters, namely DRAMA. Without DRAMA, no one's going to be interested.

SCRIPT SHRINK - is a two-day intensive story deconstruction workshop for 12-15 writers, writer/directors and/or producers or other filmmakers, who have a script - or the beginnings of one.

SCRIPT SHRINK is an invigorating odyssey that actively involves participants in an examination and exploration of dramatic grammar as it applies to specific characters and stories. Participants will gain the tools and insights required for an on-going, rigorous and illuminating analysis of their developing screenplay (either a short-film script, up to 15 pages; or the first 15 pages of a feature), focusing on the dramatic grammar as it is expressed in and through character. 

                       

As participants explore the ways in which dramatic meaning (emotional energy) is built, released or dissipated in their scripts, the dialogical nature of the screenwriting process is revealed, a dynamic drama played out in the actions and interactions of ALL of the characters, both inside and outside of the actual script.  Participants will find that even in the task of working with other writers' stories, aspects of their own are revealed and illuminated.

Under the sensitive direction of an ever-watchful mentor, participants will embark on a series of dramatic journeys in which each of their scripts becomes a vehicle of discovery and learning. The ultimate destination of each of these journeys is NOT a workshop, but a finished script that "speaks" to the writer and his/her audience.

In collaboration with other storytellers, each participant will develop fresh (original) and mediumistic strategies for accessing and exploiting the dramatic possibilities that lie buried in the lives of their particular characters and the story worlds that they inhabit. 

Areas of special concern include:

  • Whose story is it, & why?
  • What are your characters' goals & objectives, & why?
  • Who opposes the main character(s), & why?
  • Passive vs active characters 
  • Presenting emotional energy   
  • Stakes & risk - where do they come from?
  • The importance of MYSTERY and SUSPENSE
  • Why must characters be sympathetic?
  • How do I navigate the cut?
  • Who is my audience? Why is audience important?
  • What are the secrets of originality?

Note: SCRIPT SHRINK is a character-based workshop, founded on the premise that everything in a screenplay starts and ends with character. Structure, conflict and believability all suffer when your characters aren’t properly realised. The essential wisdom or logic of this workshop is founded on the understanding that the deep personality and power - or lack thereof - of every film project/collaboration is contingent upon the quality of the relationships that are are first formed at the scripting stage, and which - if thoroughly realised, will go on to initiate cast and crew into the tribal world of the characters and their story. In this sense, anyone with a screenplay/story will benefit from this workshop experience, whether they be editors, actors, designers, cinematographers, etc.

Take your screenplay to “the shrink” – YOU don’t need analysis, but your script might.

        WRITING THE SHORT-FILM SCRIPT

   A new workshop!!! Provides the best introduction to mediumistic, SHORT-FORM DRAMA!!! 

              See if your TropFest script passes the Stoneking test

By popular demand, this 1-day, practical workshop provides screenwriters, directors and producers, wishing to develop their short-film ideas or scripts into effective dramatic stories, with an opportunity to work with Stoneking and other filmmaker/writers in an inspiring investigation into the .workings of their short-form drama (scripts from 3 to 40 pages).

Participants will explore the grammar of drama as it applies to short-form narrative.

TOPICS include : endings and the re-contextualisation of "the problem", the multiplication of meaning , making best use of THE BIG PRINT, subtext and context, and the role of audience and tribe.

Short films that have received the Stoneking treatment have garnered awards all over the world, including two Academy-award nominations for Best Short Drama.  

 

Follow Billy on TWITTER    @wheresthedrama

I love the poet Muriel Rukeyser because she understood that "the world is made of stories, not atoms". You don't have to be a poet to understand this, but it helps. Have a look around. Stories are a force of nature. We didn't evolve from apes; we sprang into life full-blooded and desirous, embodied by story.

Story is our essence, the source and result of every vision, dream, birth, death, discovery and miracle. Our humanity and inhumanity is rooted in it,  tangled in the mystery of  “how come?”,  and in the suspense of  “what now?"

When asked where he came up with the stories he write, James Joyce glanced round the pub and gestured: “from that couple over there, and those men by the door, and that woman washing up behind the bar…”

Story is Nature’s way of becoming conscious of itself, and - as storytellers -  we work with it in order to become conscious of ourselves.  One writes the script to find out why one is writing it, and in the process discover that the story is writing you as much as you are writing it.

The drama of film-making can be a decidedly terrifying experience, especially when the characters want to take us places we never thought of going. Left to our own devices, we'd probably prefer not to give ourselves a fright, which is why we seek out ready-made recipes, in the hope that somebody else's pre-digested formula will stay the pain of actually having to go on our own journey of discovery.

If it’s a template you’re after, don’t bother with my workshops; like drama, the workshops and seminars present more questions than answers. If they challenge your most enduring prejudices, good. That's what they're supposed to do. More than a map, they are part of the inner journey and outer odyssey that is the human drama - part of the exploration of one's personal hinterland and the as-yet unseen, unheard, stories that are hiding there. Though their bias is cinematic storytelling for the big and small screen – both fictional and factional – the scope and ultimate application of what the workshops and seminars  offer transcends any particular form.

- Billy Marshall Stoneking  

 

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The tribal experience is central to all forms of dramatic storytelling.

Visit Stoneking's O R I G I N S
- a writing & character workshop for storytellers

      See what others are saying about Stoneking's workshops

Read more testimonials HERE. Or write your own!

Governmental & Private Sector Clients of Stoneking Seminars include:

  

Australian Federal Police 

Australian Film Television & Radio School

Australian Writers' Guild

The Big Gig

Canberra Short Film Festival

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Department of Immigration, Canberra

Essilor AU

Film Australia

Griffith University, Brisbane

Information & Cultural Exchange (ICE)

The International Film School, Sydney

Media Resource Centre, Adelaide

Melbourne Underground Film Festival

New South Wales Film & Television Office

Northern Rivers Screenworks

NRMA Insurance

Open Channel, Melbourne

Participate Film Academy

Queen Street Studio (Sydney)

Randwick TAFE

SBS-TV

Script Central

Short Film Otago (NZ)

Singapore Tourism Board

SilverSun Pictures, Canberra

South Australian Film Corporation

South Coast Writers' Centre, Wollongong

Sydney Film School

TropFest / Roughcut

Women in Film & Television (WIFT)

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