On Sunday, PAX Online got practical and local, as Film Victoria’s games & digital content representatives Meredith Hall and Liam Routt sat down with developers Grace Bruxner (Worm Club), Jake Strasser (House House), and Mike Blackney (Team Fanclub) to talk all things funding.
These three devs, who are responsible for creating Frog Detective, Untitled Goose Game, and Dead Static Drive, respectively, used their Film Victoria funding very differently, but each of them attribute their success in part to this early support of their work. On top of production funding, and marketing and release funding, the state agency offers support and advice to developers at all stages, whether they’re applying imminently or not, as well as programs to support both projects and teams. The panel also gave their advice for devs hoping to apply for funding of their own.
‘Untitled Goose Game felt like a risk in its early stages; it felt like this weird dumb decision. I think the reason that lots of cool stuff comes out of Victoria is because Film Victoria is here, letting people take these kinds of risks.’
GETTING STARTED WITH GAMES
As Strasser put it, Film Victoria’s 25 years of funding games at all stages of development has contributed hugely to the state’s well-earned reputation as a hub of independent development. ‘Untitled Goose Game felt like a risk in its early stages; it felt like this weird dumb decision. I think the reason that lots of cool stuff comes out of Victoria is because Film Victoria is here, letting people take these kinds of risks.’
Untitled Goose Game was the product of years of creative exploration, and some steep learning curves when it came to business development. Before House House released the goose, they made Push Me Pull You, their first game. After they released the Push Me Pull You trailer, a Sony representative expressed interest in releasing the game on Playstation, but, as newcomers to the industry who had been making the game in their spare time, House House hadn’t yet formalised a business to trade under.
The team applied for a Film Victoria games release grant which allowed them to pay for a lawyer and an accountant to help them formalise House House, which in turn meant they could receive support from Sony.
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All three developers also used Film Victoria funding to travel overseas, forming strong professional relationships that shaped the trajectory of their work. In an isolated creative industry like Australia’s, access to travel is vital. Travel to conferences, festivals, and other networking opportunities lets Australian developers connect with a wide variety of publishers, investors, and collaborators, who can help turn a good idea into a well-funded and well-publicised game.
Film Victoria’s Funding guidelines for games are available on their website