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Slate Development

Screen NSW is committed to supporting NSW based production companies and is re-introducing the Slate Development Program.

The Screen NSW Slate Development Program is for eligible NSW production companies and is intended to provide significant development opportunities for all suitable and eligible screen content for any eligible NSW production company while ensuring the advancement of talent from under-represented groups.

Slate Development can be applied for a maximum of $100,000 for a slate of three projects for TV Drama, Factual, Features, Online and Immersive Narrative. Funds are strictly limited and will be assessed on a competitive basis. 

Screen NSW is committed to supporting increased participation in the industry of people from under-represented groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from CaLD backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQI people, people from western Sydney and people from regional NSW. Screen NSW is also committed to supporting gender balance for both above and below the line talent.

Eligible applications are assessed once annually and will be assessed by the Screen Investment Team.

Opening date: Friday, May 12, 2023

Closing date: 5pm AEST, Tuesday 13th June, 2023

Potential applicants are advised to contact a Screen Investment Manager by emailing to discuss your application.

How much can I apply for?

Slate Development provides a maximum of $100,000 for a slate of three projects.

Who is eligible?

Screen NSW general eligibility requirements can be found in the Terms of Trade, which should be read in conjunction with these guidelines.

Applicants must be a NSW based individual or company.

The Slate Development program is targeted at significant production businesses in NSW with a proven ability and capacity to service a slate of three or more projects for TV Drama, Factual, Features, Online and Immersive Narrative and proven ability to finance, produce and release theatrically and/or via broadcast/streaming and/or online.

Applications must include at least one Key Creative for each proposed project from Screen NSW’s Strategic Priority Area groups, which include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from CaLD backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTQI people, people from western Sydney and people from regional NSW.

Applications must also include at least one female-identifying Key Creative for each proposed project in line with NSW gender equity targets.

Applicants must have a slate of three projects that would be eligible for NSW development investment, and you must intend to produce and/or post produce your projects in NSW.

Projects that have received development funding from Screen NSW that have not yet acquitted are not eligible to form part of the Slate Development Application.

You must hold the rights in the projects.

What project formats are eligible?

The Slate Development program supports projects intended as TV Drama, Children’s TV Drama, Factual, Features, Online and Immersive Narrative.
Applicants may apply for funding to support a slate that is a mix of formats and genres.

What can I use the money for?

Funding can be used to fund or contribute towards the funding of:

  • Development of a slate of three appropriate projects from story outline stage onwards, including option payments, writers’ fees, script editors’ fees, script-printing expenses, etc.
  • Costs associated with developing and financing projects
  • Fees for the applicant(s) or other key members of creative team(s), who must be NSW residents.
  • If intending to undertake a writer’s room for any scripted fiction projects, the Development Attachment Scheme facilitated by Screen NSW must be budgeted for.
What do I need to submit?

You must submit all core materials listed on the form.
For Slate Development, we assess short documents and draft scripts. We also prefer that you have opened a dialogue with a distributor, broadcaster or online content commissioner.
The creative materials required may vary according to the project type.

Your short document should demonstrate the following:
• The key dramatic beats of your story and how they will play out within your chosen genre
• A clear beginning, middle and end
• Identified pivotal story points
• The intended genre, tone and mood of the film
In addition to the application form responses to ‘Target Audience, Financing, Marketing & Production Overview’, we also require a ‘Pathways to Audience Plan’ (up to one-page). Projects must be able to demonstrate who the audience is and how the project will reach its audience, including the kind of market partners for whom you are developing the feature for, specifically naming distributors where relevant.

We are generally looking for a preliminary pitch document and an indication of intended market.
We generally do not require marketplace attachment up front however we are unlikely to fund more than a mini-bible without broadcaster interest.
If you have secured broadcaster development funds, please indicate this in the ‘previous funding’ or ‘other funding for this stage’ section of your application form.

Your pitch document should concisely describe:
• Your subject matter
• Your intended narrative, line of enquiry or argument
• Your intended stylistic approach
• Your intended audience
• How you plan to tell your story (observational sequences, archival footage, interviews, recreations, etc.)

If your program is reliant on the participation of a particular person or people, you will need to have a document verifying that they consent to take part.

Your application materials should provide:
• A description of the story, journey or experience
• Any visual designs or early prototyping
• Information on intended audience and distribution strategy
• Any web metrics or sales figures for previous interactive projects

How and when can I apply?

The dates for the round running in 2023 are:

Opening date: Friday, May 12, 2023

Closing date: 5pm AEST, Tuesday 13th June, 2023

All applications must be received through the Screen NSW online grants administration system, SmartyGrants,

The application form can be found here


How will my application be assessed?

Your application and each project will be competitively assessed against the following criteria:
• The strength and distinctiveness of the idea and/or story
• The strength of the story and the quality of the submitted materials
• The plans for use of the funding
• The potential of the project to reach its target audience and its viability in terms of likely budget relative to market
• The track record of the key creative(s), including the financial track record and experience of the applicant and any key creatives
• The potential of the project to contribute to a robust screen industry in NSW.
If we commission a First Nations assessment, the project will be assessed with reference to Screen Australia’s guidelines Pathways & Protocols: a filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts.

If your application is not successful, the projects may be submitted for Early Development, Advanced Development or Market Travel.

What are the terms of funding?

Please refer to the Screen NSW Terms of Trade.
Applicant and applicant company will not be eligible for single development applications until 2 out of 3 slate development projects have been delivered.

For further information contact:
Development & Production