FROM THE COORDINATOR OF CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

Creativity comes in many forms, and is certainly often associated with the Arts. What is often less understood is the enormous amount of work involved in the creative process leading up to a finished product. This term, four GGS students, Amelia Dawson (Yr10 He), Sam Seccombe (Yr11 FB), Noah Sackville (Yr10 Cu), and William Patston (Yr10 A) were invited by GGS parent Santo Cilauro to attend the shooting of an episode of the TV series Utopia.

Santo.jpg
Santo Cilauro (middle), with Working Dog's Tom Gleisner and OGG Sam Strong (P'94)

The Working Dog team have produced some of Australia’s finest screen comedy in film, including The Castle and The Dish, and television, including Frontline, Utopia and Are You Paying Attention. This group have been working together for many years and the students gained a unique insight into the creative journey and process of this remarkable team.

The Working Dog website reads as follows:

“Working Dog is a film and television production company based in Melbourne Australia (although for tax purposes our registered office is on a small coral atoll in the Seychelles). It was formed in 1993 by five friends who wanted to create comedy together. Since then we’ve made a bunch of TV shows and feature films, as well as written quite a few books. And still managed to stay friends.”

In discussion with the students Santo described how the group’s creative process had developed. All projects are developed by the team, for use by the team. They do not accept scripts from outside. An idea may come from many sources, ranging from dinner discussion, to newspaper articles, a day at the footy or a current affairs story. Story lines are then developed into scripts, sometimes being dropped at this stage. For the episode of Utopia we observed being filmed, the script had been through eleven drafts before shooting. Each episode of the program was shot in a week, remarkably fast.

Santo enthusiastically showed the students all of the teams involved in putting the show together, including cameras, lighting, sound, costume, makeup, props, actors, extras, catering and editing. The students also talked to Tom Gleisner, Michael Hirsh and Rob Sitch about their roles as producers and director. The students had many questions, all of which were answered with enthusiasm and kindness.

On the trip back to Corio the students were full of positive observations about their great experience, each wondering how they might have such a fulfilling and creative life, whether as a film maker, cameraman, actor or in technical production.

We are very grateful for Santo and the team at Working Dog for being so generous with their time and expertise. The four students were thrilled that, only a few days after we attended shooting, the first series of Utopia won a Logie. It was a memorable creative experience in many, many ways.

Dr Tim Patston


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