The Mercury, Scripted Ink. and the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) are thrilled to announce today the creation of a Writers’ Room at The Mercury in Adelaide, made possible by the generous donation of screenwriter and showrunner Shane Brennan.
Mr Brennan is an Australian television writer and producer best known as the Executive Producer of the worldwide hit police drama NCIS, as well as the creator of the NCIS spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles.
The Mercury provides emerging filmmakers with a pathway to a screen career and is home to a screen culture community. The Writers’ Room is a key attraction of the revamped business model of The Mercury, a not-for-profit screen body with a newly established board and management.
The model proposes a monthly low-cost subscription that provides subscribers with year-round access to cinema screenings, workshops and upgraded filmmaker facilities. The facilities include a production office, edit suite, colour grade room, sound editing & mixing suite and, thanks to Shane Brennan’s significant gift, a purpose-built Writers’ Room.
“The Mercury will be in a position to take emerging filmmakers from script to screen, giving valuable time to the development of screenwriting, and paying professional screenwriters as mentors to give stories the attention they merit, in line with industry standards,” says The Mercury’s General Manager Lisa Bishop.
One of the values of the new board is collaboration, which saw Bishop reach out to Sally Hardy, SA representative on the National Executive Council of the AWG, with the idea for a Writers’ Room. Sally thought it was the perfect project for Mr Brennan, who has a passion for the development of emerging screenwriters, and Scripted Ink., a joint venture between Mr Brennan and the Australian Writers’ Guild aimed at shaping, building and investing in the Australian screen industry and Australian writers.
Mr Brennan says, “The plans for The Mercury sound promising and I was impressed with the idea of facilitating AWG members to work with emerging screenwriters. Having a supportive filmmaking environment like The Mercury gives stories the best chance of getting to the screen, particularly as writing for screen is never an end in itself.”
Mr Brennan also serves as President of the Australian Writers’ Guild, the professional and industrial association for Australian performance writers, whose vision it is to improve rights and opportunities so that screen and stage writers may thrive as a dynamic and integral part of Australian storytelling.
Starting from the 1st July, The Mercury will run weekly writing consultations for filmmakers who have draft scripts and story ideas. Coupled with this will be a monthly “Script Club” along the lines of the “Book Club” concept. Bishop says, “We are looking forward to revealing our new products and services for the emerging sector with a new model effective 1st July this year”.
Kirsty Stark 0422 433 543 email@example.com Mark McGowan 0419 695 487 firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Board of the Mercury CX today outlined a clear plan to its members to usher in a new era for the much-loved arts organisation – including the announcement of a monthly subscription model.
The Board presented its carefully considered Strategic Plan at its Annual General Meeting tonight, after the association was left in a financially precarious position in 2022.
Co-Chair, Peter Hanlon, from Mess Productions said: “We’ve worked very hard with Mercury staff, members and industry stakeholders to develop a new business model and think beyond the typical income streams for arts organisations – which are philanthropy, sponsorship and grants.”
Mercury CX is a member-run organisation founded in the 1970s and has a passionate membership base. The organisation has listened to its members and is inviting deeper engagement with the community through this ‘one-ticket-all-access’ subscription model.
Alongside unlimited access to standard film screenings, subscribers will have year-round access to workshops, upgraded production facilities and equipment, a monthly Script Club, regular networking and mentoring sessions and a creative screen culture community – all for just $25 per month (with scholarship memberships available in a commitment to equity and accessibility).
Fellow Co-Chair Kirsty Stark from Epic Films said: “The Mercury has been an invaluable organisation for South Australian screen makers and cinema goers since its inception, and at the heart of the new business plan is the opportunity for a new generation of diverse audiences and creatives to connect in a vibrant screen hub in the heart of the city.”
From a screening perspective, the long tradition of the Mercury CX’s Silver Screen and Cinematheque programs will be expanded with new offerings including Heaps Good Cinema, a program of South Australian- made short films, and Cinema Mechanica, curated by local Screen craft Guilds, which will give audiences an insight into the mechanics of filmmaking through the selection of world class movies that epitomise excellence in their craft.
In this exciting new era for the Mercury CX, Interim General Manager Lisa Bishop has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the much beloved icon.
Ms. Bishop said: “We simply could not have developed this new business model without the support of the SA Government and Arts Minister Andrea Michaels, who has backed our vision with grants of over $200,000.”
Ms Bishop also thanked the generosity of philanthropists, enabling the Mercury team to turn underutilised office space into cutting edge filmmaking facilities, including a Writer#s Room, Production Office, Edit Suite, Mini Studio, Colour Grading Suite and Sound Editing and Mixing Theatre.
Microsoft Word – Final MercuryCX Media Release AGM 30052023.docx
Also announced tonight was the significant contribution from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), which will again provide $240,000 in project funding to deliver the QuickSilver, Launch Lab and Script Club programs for emerging filmmakers.
SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “The SAFC is pleased to continue its partnership with The Mercury, providing funding to deliver programs and opportunities that support diverse, emerging practitioners to develop, advance and professionalise their careers in the screen industry.
The SAFC has long been committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the South Australian screen sector and boosting industry participation of people from historically under-represented groups, through initiatives such as the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and First Nations Screen Strategy.
In alignment with these strategies, and with the findings from the SAFC’s recently released South Australian Screen Industry Workforce Development Strategy, the SAFC supports The Mercury’s plans to work closely with emerging screen makers from a range of backgrounds to develop their skills and ensure businesses within the South Australian screen sector are equipped with a skilled workforce.” says Kate Croser.
The Mercury’s new programs commence July 1 and will be outlined in an event aptly named Mercury Rising to be held at the Mercury Cinema Tuesday June 27 at 6pm. Sign up to the subscription waitlist here: https://forms.gle/hwWGoSYh3oH1qkMQ6
Interviews and images please contact:
Kirsty Stark 0422 433 543 email@example.com Mark McGowan 0419 695 487 firstname.lastname@example.org INFO ON MERCURY CX:
The Mercury was established in 1974 and is a membership-based not-for-profit incorporated association and charity. It acts as a bridging organisation that provides emerging screen makers with a pathway into a professional screen career. It is also home to screen culture communities and operates exhibition programs and events out of the Mercury and Iris cinemas. Its objectives are to develop screen makers and screen audiences, through the provision of equipment, facilities, advice, training, cinema programming, events and production initiatives. It works closely with screen partners including the South Australian Film Corporation, Channel 44, the Adelaide Film Festival, educational institutions and local screen businesses.
The new board appointed at the 2023 Annual General Meeting comprise:
Kirsty Stark Peter Hanlon Nara Wilson Adrian Tisato Lisa Scott Daniel Tune Maddie Parry Kath Dooley Rebecca Summerton
Producer, Epic Films & Founder, CrewHQ Producer/Writer, Mess Productions Arts SA Senior Project Manager, ATSI Arts Principal, GT Legal Pty Ltd
Producer, Highview Productions Screen Student, Flinders University Writer/Director/Producer, Mess Productions Associate Professor, UniSA Creative Producer, Closer Productions
Discover the range of activities undertaken by Mercury CX during 2020 with the full Annual Report. From all the productions supported by Mercury CX to the winners of the South Australian Screen Awards 2020, the range of measures of adapting to COVID-19 and the first ever online edition of Screenmakers Conference, discover the breadth of activity from this centre for story excellence.