AACTA brainwave creates pitching competition for performers

Actors from 8-80 years old living anywhere from Sydney to Smataloona will be running at this pitching competition. They have nothing to lose but their authenticity.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has announced an online pitching competition which needs no more than a space empty of other human beings, some kind of visual recording device, common sense about public behaviour and some genuine acting talent. Competitors must also be at least 18 years old.

As a response to Covid-19 it is pretty good. Aspiring (and established) actors can record themselves in a small Covid-inspired scene provided by AACTA, and upload it to the net by April 26. The judging will be provided by Noni Hazlehurst AM, casting agent Kirsty McGregor and actor’s representative Aran Michael, who works with Margo Robbie.

They will see the pitches of ten finalists. The happy winner will receive 

  • A mentor meeting with renowned talent agent Aran Michael from AM
  • One-year premium membership to Casting Networks Australia
  • Two tickets to the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony & After party
  • Professional headshot package
  • $500 cash
  • Interview and profile piece on AACTA Connect – AACTA’s online content hub
  • $500 worth of Manfrotto product
  • Written feedback from the esteemed judging panel

AACTA is going to be posting tips on the net; maybe the whole set could be public. This has a certain capacity to turn hilarious in a good way. It seems to have fallen into the trap of naturalism, asking for ‘authentic, truthful and unique performances from first-time performers.’

There does need to be a person providing the other lines, which could be a problem if you are truly isolated, though we suspect a lively actor will find cunning solutions. 

According to Jayne-Louise O’Connell, the communications and digital marketing manager of AACTA, the previous pitch competitions have been more focused on creators. In 2018, Loani Arman won $15,000 to support her short film Our Greatest Escape.

Last year’s version was a partnership with Screenworks in Northern NSW, to provide support to develop a feature film incorporating regional areas. The intriguing finalists for AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes are also on the site. The final pitches will now be done online. 

It is not surprising that AACTA is focusing on actors, though it is a change in emphasis. So much of the AFI Awards are about performers, who bring almost all of the glam. This program is absolutely made for remote delivery.

O’Connell is also encouraging people to explore the new online members’ offering, which replaces the real-world screening programs. Temporarily.

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.