‘G’day Mate’ spoken in an overtly Australian accent is enough to turn me off the rest of the film, if the accent ain’t authentic or at least I’m not convinced otherwise then I tend to wince and cringe despite how amazing the storyline is. If it were up to me there would be a system put in place to filter the overseas talent in efforts to eliminate terrible impersonating, well in actual fact there is a system where the MEAA (Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance) actors union review foreign visas for approval to work in Australian screen productions subsidised by Australian tax-payers however the reasonings go deeper than mine.
The process of consulting foreign visas seeking entertainment roles in Australia was established more than 20 years ago in an effort to protect Australian jobs in the entertainment screen industry. A Government enquiry poses a threat to this process, proposing there to be no need for the union to be notified of international actors entering the country to pursue work. MEAA president Geoff Morrell holds a concerned status on this movement, “Deregulation of the import rules would result in less chances for Australian performers to secure the significant roles in Australia that could set up a career.”
Actor Roy Billing disagrees with the need for such a scheme arguing it all comes down to finance, in order to increase the chances of Australian entertainers finding work there needs to be more content produced and for this to happen, alternative funding options need to be more openly welcomed. The Transnational Co-Production Program is a relevant strategy put in place to move the Australian screen industry onwards and upwards. Co-productions strengthen bonds between countries and promote TV and film projects internationally on an increasingly appealing level. Screen Australia states that a co-production is considered a national project and eligible to access all relevant benefits without having to meet the SAC (Significant Australian Content) requirements. This international agreement gives Australian cinema greater odds for success as there is double the promotion and support.
There is a deep understanding and appreciation for the need to keep Australian screen projects true to local stories and support local talent however globalisation has ‘forced the reshaping of Australian film and TV production’ (O’Regan & Potter 2013, p. 5). As our economy moves into the future, it is necessary to evolve and adapt in order to stay relevant and appealing; opening up connections through partnerships and recruiting foreign talent brings in the dollars and the interest, two things our industry needs. So thrive or fade?
Putting aside my personal dislike of terrible accents aside, ill be the bigger person and choose what’s going to drive our industry into a bright future.
O’Regan, T & Potter, A 2013, ‘Globalisation from within? the de-nationalising of Australian film and television production’, Media International Australia, no. 149, pp. 5-14
Zachariah, L 2015, ‘The Hollywood Invasion: Foreign Actors in Australian Films’, Metro Magazine, no. 184, accessed January 26
Wk 5 blog