About Strength in Numbers

Strength in Numbers is a pioneering programme focused on building sustainable businesses in our screen industry. Selected filmmakers participate in a series of workshops run by Script to Screen and led by David Court.

David founded Compton School, an Australian-based business school for creative people, is the former Head of Screen Business at AFTRS, and worked on the Jackson/Court review of the New Zealand Film Commission. 

The workshops will arm selected participants with the tools they need to build a sustainable business in the screen industry.

The programme offers a unique opportunity for practitioners in the screen industry to work together on the building blocks of business models that will sustain their future and ultimately shape the industry itself. Strength in Numbers aims to cultivate a super smart community of business people in the screen industry that support each other over time.

Selected participants will have a proven track record that demonstrates considerable talent and tenacity in their field, projects in development, and a screen industry business already underway to work on.

The programme will be delivered in four intensive workshops from February to June 2022 and two 90 minute online sessions between workshops. Each participant will also get a one-on-one session with David Court as their business plan takes shape. The programme will comprise of a mix of instruction, interactive discussion, case


  1. COMING TOGETHER IN A CREATIVE ENTERPRISE: In a creative enterprise a group of people must come together and, trusting in each other, spend months or even years working on a project – a project that is also a business. Finding the right structure is essential, one that binds the team and rewards them for the work they do and the risks they take. Strength in Numbers participants will explore some of the innovative business structures creative people have used to work together successfully.
  2. STRATEGIC CHOICES IN CREATIVE LIFE: In creative life we are defined, for better or worse, by what we make. The right project can propel a career forward; the wrong project can slow or stop it. Choosing what to make is therefore strategic. In this topic participants will study the elements of project choice. We will look at the movie greenlight process, the writers’ room and other methods of harnessing the ‘wise crowd’ in project selection.
  3. UNPACKING THE CONTENT ‘BLACK BOX’: Content is a ‘black box’, a puzzle with many parts. Creators must unpack the box and find a way to distribute the risks and rewards, the property rights and the creative possibilities. In this topic we work at solving the puzzle.
  4. GROWTH STRATEGIES: Growth is about focus, not doing more of the same. We explore four proven strategies using the flywheels of brand, talent, money and information to grow your business past its current limits. And discover how they compare and why they are mutually exclusive.
  5. THE WAY AHEAD: Few businesses stick to the plans they make. Yet a plan is a narrative – the story a business tells to attract and engage with customers, partners, employees and investors. It’s also a way of thinking things through – what matters, where the opportunities lie, where the focus of the business should be. In this topic, participants will learn the elements of business planning.
  6. ELEMENTS OF THE PITCH: Pitching is a core skill in creative industries. It’s necessary to attract the resources – time, money and effort – required for the work. And it’s necessary too when it comes time to build an audience for the work. In this topic, we teach the elements of the pitch – narrative, clarity, confidence, and engagement.

Past participants in the programme included some of New Zealand’s most exciting producers, including those who brought us Juniper, Coming Home In The Dark, The Justice of Bunny King, Creamery, Kura, The Panthers, Savage, Bellbird, James & Isey, Reunion, Jojo Rabbit and Loading Docs. 

COVID 19 contingency

David Court is based in Australia and if New Zealand’s borders are closed he may not be able to attend the workshops in person. If this is the case, the intent is to bring all the participants together in Auckland for the workshops and each workshop will have an online aspect with presentations and activities/exercises set by David who will be online. There will also be in-person speakers. An important part of the programme is the coming together of participants and the relationships formed during the workshops. The 90-minute meetings between workshops and the one-on-one meetings with David will be held online.

If New Zealand is also in lockdown, which is unlikely as a large proportion of the population will be vaccinated by 2022, the entire programme will be taken online and the delivery dates may change, but the programme will still be delivered in the first half of 2022.



Chelsea Winstanley - Story Camp participant

“Overall I think the entire Story Camp was a huge success, for me personally and for us as a team. I think the varied sessions provide a great mix of the creative and professional development for the advancement of any script.”

Cian Elyse White, Writer/Director - FilmUp Participant

“Nōku te whiwhi ki te mahi i runga i tēnei kaupapa whakamīharo. FilmUp was a game-changer for me and my career - the intensives allowed me to work with incredible mentors, peers and form relationships which lead to me directing on a prime-time drama and developing my feature film. I highly recommend this amazing opportunity!”

Dennis Zhang - South Shorts participant

South Shorts has been instrumental in my development as a creative. I was constantly inspired and supported by like-minded individuals who are on the same path with a similar mission to share unique, important and beautiful stories. Seeing everyone else's, as well as my own progression in our craft as well as confidence in writing is a testament of the quality of the programme, its organizers and our mentors. I believe that we will see every single participant of South Shorts go on to create amazing projects and have long and fruitful careers in filmmaking, having had this programme as a catalyst and launching pad for that success. I cannot recommend South Shorts enough and would do it a million times over if given the opportunity.

Orlando Stewart, Producer - Strength in Numbers Participant

Strength in Numbers is an exceptional course that dramatically altered the way I look at my business. The programme not only provides great business tools, but also shifts mindsets when it comes to growth. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Workshop Participant

"Hearing from a relatively young filmmaker added a great sense of accessibility. One left the workshop with renewed faith that with perseverance, one could achieve one's own creative aspirations."

Michael Bennett, Writer/Director/Author - Hokianga Film Project Mentor

"The projects that Script to Screen does and the reason I'm so gung-ho enthusiastic about them is; it's about accessing people whose stories just don't make it on screen. It's giving people skills to tell stories for the screen. Giving new voices and new stories the potential to become films"

Gwen Isaac - Story Camp participant

“Story Camp was invigorating and provided me with what I knew in my heart but was too scared to explore. It is an incredible bunch of talented, big-hearted and brave people helping you find that in yourself.”

Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, Writer/Director - FilmUp Participant

"FilmUp LITERALLY changed my life. It gave me some real perspective on storytelling and helped me figure out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it."

Amber Marie Naveira, Co-Founder & Co-CEO The Granary  - Strength in Numbers Participant

"I am a creative at heart and David's strength was ensuring that I knew that this was a major part of my power. I wholeheartedly recommend that if you are leading a Creative Business then the Strength in Numbers programme will support, encourage and empower your creative business acumen, knowledge and confidence! If I were given the opportunity to repeat the programme, I wouldn't hesitate one bit, and this time, I would ensure that I brought my Co-Founder"

2020 Auckland Workshop Participant

"This workshop is important because of the potential it encourages in creatives around Auckland. It also promotes community and a healthy form of learning to people of all ages and walks of life."

Tui Matelau-Doherty - South Shorts Participant

The peer support and collegiality achieved through delivering the programme as group read throughs following feedback, superseded my expectations and taught me something new. It reflects ako, the Māori word for learning which also means teaching, and this is exactly what was achieved through the programme. We were both learners and teachers which was empowering and effective. The diversity in the room is extremely important to the filmmaking industry and to my own development.

Chris Parker - FilmUp participant

“FilmUp is the kick up the pants you need to fall in love with that project you know you’ve been sitting with for far too long.”

Chelsie Preston Crayford, Actor/Writer/Director - FilmUp Participant

“For an artist, this level of empowerment and support is rare and utterly invaluable. The programme carefully facilitates the most magical sense of community, inspiration and support. The hub days are a taonga. Do yourself a solid and apply.”

Vanessa Wells - Producer/Director - FilmUp Participant 2020

"It's been a couple of years since my FilmUp cohort 2020 but it still resonates and ripples. I'm about to start working again with my mentor, Justin Pemberton (this time as story consultant), and the amazing session we had with Judy Durragh - while esoteric and physical in nature at the time - has had a very real influence on the work we are doing now! It's amazing to see and feel these connections come through. Our film will be the better for it. Thank you!!"



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