Hokianga May 2015 Workshop – Storytelling for the Screen

Script to Screen presents a two-day filmmaking workshop for the Far North region, ‘Storytelling for the Screen’ with experienced writer/director Michael Bennett.

Is there a story from your community that you would like to tell through film but don’t know where to start?

Come and join us for a free two-day workshop that will give you the tools you need to take stories from your community and tell them on screen.

This workshop covers short film, short documentary and web series formats, and focuses on making a project on a low budget. The aim of the workshop is to foster local talent and encourage aspiring filmmakers to make their own projects, with the opportunity of working with a mentor.

The workshop is aimed at all levels, from those with screenwriting and filmmaking experience, to passionate storytellers looking for an introduction on how to develop stories that are cinematic. The workshop is suitable for ages 15+. We also welcome those who work with rangatahi in the Far North region, who would like to learn more about how to inspire their youth to write and make a film project with local content.

On Saturday the workshop focuses on the craft of storytelling, and on Sunday participants have opportunity to pitch their film project idea to the group for advice and feedback. Four of the projects pitched on Sunday will be chosen to work with an experienced mentor to progress their project. To be considered for mentoring, projects should be based in or strongly connected to Northland, and the mentoring is aimed at youth (recommended age 15-25 years old), so teams should include at least one filmmaker under 25 years old. School projects are welcome. Other filmmakers are welcome to attend, and pitch their idea and get feedback, but will not be eligible for ongoing mentoring.

Those who attended our workshop in February are welcome to join us at 5pm on Saturday for the noho marae, which includes film screenings and the opportunity to chat about their idea to the group after dinner. Otherwise join us on the Sunday morning, for the chance to pitch the idea formally in front of a judging panel. Teams that include filmmakers under 25 will eligible to be chosen for mentoring.

When: Sat 2nd – Sun 3rd May, 2015


Saturday 10am – 4:30pm – Northtec Rawene Campus, 26 Nimmo Street East. MAP.

Upon entering Rawene, Nimmo St East is the first right off Parnell St (main road) after Marmon Street. If you reach the shops you have gone too far!

Relocating to Tuhirangi Marae in Waima from 5pm on Saturday.

Noho marae at Tuhirangi Marae on Saturday night.

If you are joining us at the marae, please wait at the gate for us at 5pm. We aim to arrive at 5pm.

Sunday 9am – 4pm – Tuhirangi Marae, Waima. MAP.

Next to Waima School on Waima School Rd – off SH12, about half way between Rawene and Kaihoke.

Cost: $10 koha towards food – lunch, afternoon tea and dinner will be provided. Contributions of food also welcome. $10 koha towards accommodation for those staying at Tuhirangi Marae on Saturday night.

Registration: If you would like to attend, please rsvp to Eloise on eloise @ script-to-screen.co.nz or ring the office on 09 360 5400. This workshop is aimed at ages 15+.

Michael Bennett is a writer/director of Te Arawa descent (Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Wakaue), working extensively within short and feature film, web series, and documentary forms. Michael’s first short film Michelle’s Third Novel accompanied the US gala premiere of Pulp Fiction at the 1994 New York Film Festival. He has since gone on to write and direct internationally award winning shorts Cow and Kerosene Creek. In 2010 he co-wrote and directed the award-winning feature film Matariki which debuted at TIFF. He recently devised and wrote all 20 episodes of popular web series The Factory, and wrote and directed The Confessions of Prisoner T – an in-depth look at the Teina Pora case, of which he is now writing a book, and developing a feature film. As well as working on his own projects, Michael is an experienced script editor.


Day One – Saturday 2 May – Northtec Rawene Campus

10am – Welcome, tea and coffee

10:30am – 12:30pm – Morning session: The craft of storytelling in drama, documentary and web series (Michael Bennett – same as the morning session in the last workshop, for those who didn’t attend last time)

12:30 – 1:30pm – Shared lunch – sandwich ingredients will be provided. Please bring $10 koha or a plate to contribute.

1:30 – 4:30pm – Afternoon session 1: Finding the heart of your idea. Participants learn about pitch documents and how to get to the heart of their story.

4:30 – 5:00pm – Relocate to Tuhirangi Marae, Waima for an overnight stay.

5:00pm – 6pm – Pōwhiri

6:00pm – 8:30pm – Prepare and eat dinner

8:30 onwards – Film screenings and filmmakers have the opportunity to share their film ideas to the group for feedback.

Day Two – Sunday 3 May – Tuhirangi Marae, Waima

8:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – Tea and coffee for any participants just arriving

9:30am – 12:30pm – Teams pitch their film project ideas one by one and receive feedback on their idea.

12:30 – 1:30pm Lunch

1:30pm – Pitching resumes

3:30pm – Judging panel convene

3:50pm – Judging panel announce projects to go on for mentoring

4pm – Workshop ends


Project Idea – optional

To get the most out of the workshop, we encourage you come with a project idea. It’s best if you can write an outline of the idea and bring it along to the workshop.

The formation of creative teams for each project idea are welcomed and encouraged e.g. writers may want to bring along their director and producer if they have them, or start thinking about who they might work with to get the project made.

The workshop is aimed at those working on short-form film projects, that is short films, short documentaries or web projects.

Participants are welcome to bring along and pitch full length projects i.e. a feature film or a feature documentary, but these projects won’t be eligible for our Hokianga Filmmaker Mentorship Programme (see ‘Mentoring’).

If you don’t have an idea, come along and listen. You might develop an idea during the workshop based on what you are learning.

Writing an outline

The outline should be half a page, describing what your film is about, what happens in the film, and what you want people to feel when they are watching it. You could also include why this story is important to you or why this story needs to be told. Remember to include details like, how long you expect to be (short films are usually 5-15 mins long), whether it is a comedy or drama etc, and the characters’ names.

If your project is a series – like a web series, then it is helpful to include a description of how the story develops over the episodes. You may also want to include a short summary of what happens in each episode.


You will have a chance to pitch your idea to the group on Sunday. Your idea might change throughout the weekend or you might end up pitching a new idea based on something you have learnt throughout the weekend.

Pitching the idea will give you a chance to get feedback on the idea itself and how to best communicate it. Four teams will be chosen to be part of a six month mentoring programme offering the chance to work one-on-one with an industry professional on writing the script or getting the film/project made. To be considered for mentoring, the project should be strongly connected to Northland – so either the team members live in Northland, or the story is set in Northland (or both). The mentoring is aimed at youth (recommended age 15-25 years old), so teams should include at least one filmmaker under 25 years old. School projects are welcome. Filmmakers over 25 are welcome to attend, pitch their idea and get feedback, but will not be eligible for the mentoring programme.


Four writers and their teams will be chosen to be part of our Hokianga Filmmaker Mentorship Programme. In the programme each team will receive 8 hours of mentoring, including a combination of group work and one on one mentoring, with a focus on getting their projects made. The programme will be carried out over a six month period. The details of the programme will be tailored by Script to Screen to suit the teams and their specific needs.



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