Boxcutters Episode 71

Look out! Bring in the fans! Because things get a little heated in the studio this week.

We continue our ongoing local content debate with special guest and prominent local writer Marieke Hardy weighing in.

Luckily we couldn’t get rid of her, so Marieke sticks around for a discussion on 24 and the usual helping of pork.

Add in some News and you have the big show.


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  1. Dunno if its the case in Melbourne but the NZ vs England game in Adelaide this week had the first 15 overs missing because they had “A Currant Affiar” on. I ended up watching the Simpsons instead! Maybe Eddie knew you guys were recording.

    Is there a link for the ABC rejection of Torchwood, I’m kind of dissapointed if it does go to the commerical channels (10 would put into summer fill at midnight, ala Battlestar, and 7 would continously delay it).

    BTW guys, is the podcast going back to the Friday schedule?

  2. Wow. What a terrible whore.

  3. catbrain says:

    Josh, I think you really are a bit misguided on the whole local content issue. Australian content is not just about the writing and production. I quote directly from the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2005 (emphasis added):

    4 Object of standard
    The object of this standard is to promote the role of commercial television broadcasting services in developing and reflecting a sense of Australian identity, character and cultural diversity by supporting the community’s continued access to television programs produced under Australian creative control.

  4. Catbrain, you make a fair point but, and it was hard for me to explain this under the ambush circumstances of the segment, the Broadcasting Services Standard means nothing when we have a Free Trade Agreement that nullifies it.

    We need to take action here. Complaining about it is not going to achieve anything. Nothing is going to change. We have to become more competitive. As writers and producers, if New Zealand is giving away money for television production, then we move to New Zealand. The Australian government has made a choice to forgo our “identity, character and cultural diversity”. Why should we, as creators of content, suffer as a result of their mistakes?

    Our government is killing the television industry now in the same way I saw it kill the science industry in the 90s.

    Our other option is to make cheaper content to compete in the new market-place. And sure, by using phrases like “market-place” I might be branded as an “economic rationalist” but the truth is that television, like every other industry, only takes up the compelling. What is compelling for a viewer or a society is not the same as what is compelling for a television network. The network only looks at the money it will cost to produce a show versus the money it can make back through advertising and overseas sales.

    It is the government’s role to protect society. They have failed to do that. Why should we, as individuals, suffer because our government cannot protect its citizens? The environment under which we developed has changed and we need to change appropriately to survive.

  5. There is no boom in Neew Zealand production. They aren’t producing loads more dramas and even if they were I hardly think they are waiting for a whole lot of Australians to come over so they can employ them to fill key production positions. In fact I would imagine it would be very hard for an Aussie to get work over there because they quite rightly would want to protect their industry.

    And the ‘move to New Zealand’ argument is ludicrus anyway. It’s fine if you can pick up and ‘go where the work is’ but that is simply not possible for people with families or lives or limited finances.

    Bottom line – local content laws were supposed to ensure we have local content. Channel 9 screening a New Zealand drama which the New Zealand government kicks in a reported $400,000 per episode does nothing to assist local content.

    I can understand the man on the street (not a Boxcutters listener) a regular Joe having this attitude Josh, but you are fully aware of how hard it is to get work as a writer in this country. You know how hard it is to get production made. Why aren’t you outraged about something that makes it harder?

  6. catbrain says:

    On further inspection of the Standard… yes, Josh, you are absolutely right that the FTA effectively wipes it out. Guess I should have read right to the bottom of the Standard (neatly tucked away at the very end, of course):

    Note for Part 11: In 1983, the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand entered into the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (the CER). On 18 August 1988, the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand entered into a Protocol on Trade in Services to the CER, the scope of which covers the production of programs for television and the broadcasting of programs on television.
    Section 16 of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 requires that the Australian Communications and Media Authority perform its broadcasting, content and datacasting functions in a manner consistent with Australia’s obligations under the CER Trade in Services Protocol.
    Australia has international obligations under Official Film Co-production Agreements with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Italy, Israel, Ireland and Germany. In addition to these agreements, Official Film Co-production Memoranda of Understanding exist between the Australian Film Commission and relevant government agencies in New Zealand and France.
    For the purpose of meeting Australia’s obligations under these agreements, this standard:
    (a) allows Australian official co-productions the full enjoyment of all the benefits accorded to Australian programs; and
    (b) allows New Zealanders and services provided by New Zealanders access to the Australian market for television programs no less favourable than that allowed to Australians and services provided by Australians; and
    (c) in like circumstances, treats New Zealanders and services provided by New Zealanders no less favourably than Australians and services provided by Australians.

    Perhaps we wouldn’t care so much if it was a decent show, or if Nein hadn’t already treated its audience with complete contempt and was now fobbing this crap off as “local content” because it suits their bottom line – surely it’s desperation on their part.

  7. catbrain says:

    Ross, it would appear that there was never a chance that local content laws would not exclude NZ – they weren’t developed until well after the FTA came into effect. I’m totally with you on this – the situation stinks. Just another reason to not watch Nein.

  8. Anyways… 😛

    I enjoyed this weeks episode. Looking forward to a longer episode this week though!

  9. More heated arguments, please. Hoping for fisticuffs on the video podcast.

  10. Hey, why don’t you go to New Zealand, Kinal!

  11. I’ve been thinking about your question, Ross.

    I suppose I’m not outraged by this because I’ve always known it was there and a possibility. It was only a matter of time, with international film and television production opportunities leaving Australia and more arriving in New Zealand, until the issue started affecting the TV industry here.

    My position remains:

    • If you want to make television in Australia then there needs to be a compelling reason for people here to fund it. The networks have to see that they’re going to make money on a project. Maybe it’s no longer enough to pitch ideas. Maybe now we need to combine them with proposed budgets. This is just a suggestion.
    • If, however, all you want to do is make television, then you go where the work is.

    Either way, simply being outraged and complaining about it is not going to solve anything. In this case we can only achieve our goals by being creative or flexible or both.

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