First Break is a unique professional development program designed to give talented, aspiring screenwriters the opportunity to gain in-demand and practical skills, develop their understanding of the industry, and build industry connections.

Working as a note-taker or script coordinator in a writers’ room has always been a great entry point to the industry. The trouble is, how do you gain the necessary skills to apply for these types of roles? And once you have the skills, how do you break in?

First Break is designed to provide participants with the skills, training and understanding to obtain work in these roles, get their start in the industry and build vital networks.

At the conclusion of First Break, participants will be promoted to industry via the AWG Pathways website. The Pathways First Break tab will be a permanent resource for industry looking for talented new writers who have valuable skills to offer in writers’ rooms.

We anticipate that First Break will attract a large number of applications. With only 12 places available, it will be highly competitive. Please read the below information carefully, before proceeding to submit your application. 

First Break WA is currently open for entries from Monday 4 July 2022 to Friday 29 July 2022. First Break NSW and Victoria are now closed. 

Please direct all questions about First Break to enquiries@awgpathways.com.au.

1. Ensure you are logged into the AWG website and that your membership is current. 
2. Access the entry form HERE.


1. If this is your first time visiting the AWG website, register your name and email HERE, or

If you have previously logged into the AWG website, or have a previous membership, log in HERE.

2. Access the entry form HERE.

 

WHAT IS FIRST BREAK?

First Break is a series of three day-long online workshops run by highly experienced, working writers. Covering note-taking, script coordinating and the basics of a writers’ room, participants will come away with the skills required to get that first break and begin their career in the film and television industry.

Workshop One - Note-taking

The role of the note-taker in a writers’ room is a crucial one – detailed and accurate notes can either make or break a room. Creating a perfect set of notes isn’t easy, and nailing it requires a different skillset to screenwriting. In this workshop, participants will learn the art of skilful note-taking - how to take notes, how to present them and how to make the most of the opportunity. Conducted via Zoom.

Workshop Two - Script Coordinating

During the filming of a television show or movie, the script is constantly evolving. A script coordinator monitors these changes and makes the appropriate revisions for each version of the script. In this workshop, participants will learn what a script coordinator does, how a production office works and how a script coordinator operates within it. The workshop will also cover the basics of Final Draft. Conducted via Zoom.

Workshop Three - In the Writers’ Room

The writers’ room is where writers pitch ideas, brainstorm, break down the scenes, create characters and write first drafts. In order to succeed, it’s crucial to understand how a writers’ room works - who does what and when. This workshop will cover character development, plotting, dialogue and the all-important social etiquette of a writers’ room. Conducted via Zoom.

 

WHAT THEN?

Competent note-takers and script coordinators are hard to find and are a valuable asset in a writers’ room. Following the successful completion of these three workshops, each writer will be added to the Pathways website on the new First Break tab.The cohort will then be promoted to industry using the AWG’s multiple databases including its 9700 subscribers to the AWG newsletter, its 500+ registered users of the Pathways portal (producers, directors, writers and industry professionals) and the 1000 subscribers to the Pathways Newsletter.

The Pathways First Break tab will be a permanent resource for industry looking for talented new writers who have valuable skills to offer in writers’ rooms.

 

WHO IS FIRST BREAK FOR?

First Break is currently open to all WA residents. This round is funded by Screenwest and forms part of the AWG’s ongoing, overall professional development strategy to nurture talent and provide opportunities to talented writers by connecting them with industry.

We anticipate that First Break will be offered to members in other states in the future. These opportunities will be announced via our e-bulletin and social media accounts.

 

IMPORTANT DATES: First Break WA

  • Applications open from 9am, 4 July 2022
  • Applications close at 5pm, Friday 29 July 2022
  • Successful applicants will be announced 1 September 2022
  • First Break will be held via Zoom over three Saturdays in October/November 2022 (applicants must be able to attend each of the workshops on the set dates)

 

HOW CAN I APPLY?

Submit a single PDF which includes:

  • Expression of Interest – 500 words maximum (why I want this opportunity and how I will make the most of it)
  • One page bio – 500 words maximum
  • Writing Sample – maximum 5 pages
  • Open only to WA residents

Please direct all questions about First Break to enquiries@awgpathways.com.au.

 

APPLICATION FEE

AWG Member - no application fee

Non-AWG Member - $10 application fee


OUR FACILITATORS

 

Chris Corbett has written over fifty hours of television, including episodes of Halifax: Retribution, My Life is Murder, Newton’s Law, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Stingers, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Blue Heelers, McLeod’s Daughters, and The Secret Life of Us. He was Script Producer on Series 4 of Nowhere Boys and regularly works as a script editor and mentor to his fellow writers. 

He has taught screenwriting at RMIT’s Professional Screenwriting Course, the Victorian College of the Arts, The Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Open Channel, Melbourne University Summer Film School, and The Equity Foundation. He wrote and produced the short film Fences, which won third prize at Tropfest 2009. Fences also screened at Aspen’s Shortsfest in 2010 where it was awarded a BAFTA LA Certificate of Excellence.

Catherine Kelleher is a screenwriter, filmmaker and development executive from Sydney, Australia. She has worked extensively as a Script Coordinator, Producer’s Assistant and Note-taker on shows such as The Letdown, Glitch, A Place to Call Home, Janet King, The Family Law, The Secret Daughter, Playing for Keeps, The Heights, Upright, The Secrets She Keeps and Little J and Big Cuz.

In 2013, Catherine co-created, wrote and produced the comedy web series The Casuals. She wrote, directed and produced her short film Big Bad World which screened at several local and international film festivals. In 2019 Catherine received Screen Australia development funding for her comedy/drama series High Rotation, while her drama pilot Iron Mountain was a finalist in the Screencraft Fellowship and a finalist in the Final Draft Big Break. Iron Mountain was recently developed in the Imagine Impact Australia program and has been optioned by US/Canadian producers.

Catherine previously worked as a development executive at Lingo Pictures (Lambs of God, The Secrets She Keeps, Upright) and is currently a development executive at SBS.


First Break is made possible with support from Screen NSW, VicScreen and Screenwest.

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