Denise Roberts Screenwise Interview

Denise Roberts Screenwise Interview

Denise Roberts Screenwise Interview

Screenwise To Open Self-Testing Room For Film and Television Actors At The Newly Renovated Sydney Acting School

Screenwise is approaching the end of renovations which will double the size of the Sydney acting school. The additional space has created room for extra rehearsal space for students, a new acting studio and a self-testing room for actors wishing to audition for overseas film and television productions.

After mass renovations, the new studios and self-testing room are almost complete at Screenwise Film and TV Acting School in Sydney. One of the more exciting outcomes of the renovations is the creation of a fully equipped self-testing studio where actors who wish to audition for overseas productions can film and transmit their work. This opportunity gives Australian actors the chance to compete for roles that would not usually be available or easily obtainable to them. The renovations will be completed by mid-September 2011; for more information on the self testing room please contact the Screenwise office.

While applying the finishing touches to the new space, Screenwise is also currently auditioning for the 2 Year Diploma of Screen Acting and the Screenwise Showreel Course. Auditions opened on 1st September 2011 and will close on 1st November 2011, for a February 2012 intake.

The 2 Year Full-Time Diploma of Screen Acting is the first of its kind in Australia. The Government accredited course was established in 2011 after Denise Roberts, CEO of Screenwise and renowned Australian actress, recognised the need for a Screen Acting specific full-time Diploma course.

The Diploma focuses on the particular skills and knowledge required for acting on screen, which includes post-production. It provides acting students with intense training and mentorship from some of Australia's most elite actors, directors and casting consultants. All tutors are current industry working professionals. The course is comprised of 14 Units of Core Subjects and One Elective, giving students the opportunity to excel in their preferred area. The duration of the course is 1380 hours, delivered in 20 hours per week, over a two-year full-time program.

Based on the 'Roberts Method', the Course is a mixture of industry experience and professionalism with strong academic elements. Students are exposed to industry working professionals who are in the position to offer them the best and most up-todate advice available. Current Screenwise tutors include award winning actors, Nicholas Hope, Anthony Wong, Denise Roberts, Terry Serio, Martin Dingle Wall, Katherine Hicks and Road Train director, Dean Francis.

With the decline of theatre work for actors in Australia and the increase of quality local film and television productions, acting for screen is a vital skill that all actors should develop. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) statistics show that 85% of an actor's career-long income will be derived from television, which is why Screenwise chose to dedicate their services to providing actors with the specialised skills to not only meet the demands of today's Film and Television industry but also the opportunity to succeed as a reputable actor both nationally and internationally.

Highly regarded actors that have walked through the Screenwise doors include Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Todd Lasance, Samantha Noble, Andy Whitfield and Tabrett Bethell.

For students not ready or available to commit to a 2 year, full-time course, the Screenwise Showreel Course is one of the most popular courses and is also currently auditioning. The Showreel Course is designed for students wanting to take the next step to becoming a professional actor but who are not in the position to attend an intensive course such as the Diploma.

The course equips actors with an expert showreel, shot on location by professional directors, which is then passed on to the major Casting Agencies in Australia. This level of exposure for an actor is second to none. While studying at Screenwise, past Screenwise Showreel students have obtained acting roles in productions such as Rescue, Crownies, Packed to the Rafters and more.

Screenwise is Australia's leading Film and Television School for Actors and also offers a wide range of short and long-term drama courses tailored to suit beginners to advanced actors. For information on entry requirements, how to apply and fee structure, please contact the Screenwise office. Auditions are required for both the 2 Year Diploma of Screen Acting and the Screenwise Showreel Course and audition applications close on 1st November 2011.

Screenwise, Australia's Leading TV & Film School for Actors, offers a wide range of short and long-term acting courses tailored to suit beginner to advanced actors. Screenwise is a Government Accredited Registered Training Organisation employing award-winning Actors, Directors, Producers and Casting Consultants who are articulate and inspirational to students. Screenwise is run by founding CEO and Australian actress Denise Roberts (Underbelly Razor, Packed To The Rafters, Blood Brothers, Always Greener, GP).

Interview with Denise Roberts

Question: What does Screenwise offer?

Denise Roberts: Screenwise is a film and TV acting school. I used to be on a show called GP on the ABC for seven years and I noticed that the actors coming through were theatre trained but they didn't know about acting for TV and film - it's a completely different art form. I realised that we were in need of a school like Screenwise and I opened the doors eleven years ago; Screenwise is specific to film and TV acting.

Screenwise is a government training organisation and we run the only two year full-time Diploma in Screen Acting. The 2 year full-time course is for domestic and international students and teaches everything from working on green screen to dialogue replacement; we cover everything an actor would be confronted with when working on TV or film.

Years ago if a bird or a plane went over the sky, during filming, we would stop and re-shoot; now they don't have the time or the budgets to stop, they have to continue and every week an actor will have to do additional dialogue replacement in a studio to replace the dialogue that was lost, on location due to surrounding noise. Additional dialogue replacement is a difficult thing to do and actors who have come from theatre are often thrown into a studio, post production and this can often take an inexperienced actor an hour.

The course also covers props and how to handle the fact that scenes are not shot in sequence, an actor may be in bed with someone on the Monday and on the Friday they are just meeting them for the first time. Working out of sequence is a skill in itself and we teach our students to handle that.

Screenwise also offers part-time courses which run for six weeks for those who want to try out acting to see if they enjoy it or not, we offer beginner, intermediate and advanced short courses including an American Dialect course.

We bring in well-known directors to hold master workshops throughout the year. The main two courses are the 2 year full-time course and the Showreel course. The Showreel course is part-time and is a great course because students can do the course whilst still working and at the end they have a showreel to get them an agent.

Question: How does it feel when a student of Screenwise lands a role on a television show or movie?

Denise Roberts: I am very proud, it is fantastic. Todd Lasance is in ABC's Crownies and has also been on Rescue Special Ops, he started off in McLeods Daughters and Home and Away and is now one of Australia's most popular actors.

The late Andy Whitfield, who played Spartacus, also came to Screenwise. Chris Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas studied at Screenwise before heading off to America were they are doing extremely well.

Question: Could you talk about the renovations that have seen Screenwise add a fully equipped self-testing studio?

Denise Roberts: We are so close to America now and due to the latest technology actors don't have to go to America for their first audition due to the great technology. It can get expensive for actors to self-test due to the costs involved in uploading to the web and renting websites, we decided to open a fully equipped self-testing studio for actors because it would be a lot cheaper for actors. Certainly in Sydney there is nothing like this fully equipped self-testing studio, most actors are doing their self-testing in their bedrooms, which doesn't look too professional. We have opened the self-testing studio and kept the price right down, so actors can have the best possible chance.

Question: Can you talk about the application process for Screenwise courses?

Denise Roberts: Yes there is an appointment and interview for the 2 year full-time Diploma and the Showreel course. Applications are open for the two year full-time Diploma in Screen Acting on the 1st of September and are close on the 1st of November, the call backs are in November and December and the course intake starts in February.
The Showreel audition interviews are open all year round.

Question: Could you explain the Roberts Method?

Denise Roberts: I have studied theater and like a lot of other actors I have been in the industry for over 30 years and when you have worked for as long as I have, on stage, TV and film you grow and develop your own techniques and methods. These methods tend to be a hybrid of all the methods and techniques you've learnt over your career. However, as you get older you develop your own method from experience.

The Roberts Method is a practical and scientific way of looking at acting so that anybody can be an actor, if they are given the right tools. How good of an actor the student becomes is defined by how they apply those tools to their talent.

Question: How do you juggle acting and your CEO role at Screenwise?

Denise Roberts: Screenwise has grown quite a big and we have a quite a few staff members, I have a General Manager who helps run Screenwise and when I am filming she takes control of Screenwise. We have many, many tutors who teach here and they're all award-winning actors, directors and casting consultants.

Question: What is a typical day like for a student at Screenwise?

Denise Roberts: The Diploma students are loving their course because they get to go to film schools were they work with directors and explore different techniques and skills for shooting their own short films. I think they really love the course because it is full on and nonstop and not once have they had to stand in the one spot and be a tree. There are no trees here at Screenwise (laughing)!

Interview by Brooke Hunter
91506NSW Diploma of Screen Acting. RTO provider code 91699. VET FEE-HELP Approved for eligible students