Michael Cleland


Cinema and Television

The Great Australian Film (funding distaster)


Jim Schembri wrote about three recent Australian films that have failed at the box officeMy favourite Australian dud film of all time is The Wannabes.

I remember when I saw this Nick Giannopoulos film. I was so angry when I saw that film, I emailed Film Victoria at the time with “do not finance” plea to any further Nick Giannopoulos projects. Funnily enough, they did not reply to my email.

That film should never have made it past a draft script and was a total waste of taxpayers’ money. The same could be said for a lot of Australian films.

I have friends that work in the industry and they need to work, but funding bodies should be a lot pickier with what makes it to production.

So much of it comes down to script. If the script is bad, the final product will be bad.

I know that funding bodies are obligated to take risks to get the great Australian story out there and to keep the industry working, but please, please, PLEASE don’t base films on rubbish scripts!

Here’s my review of this motion picture triumph on IMDb. And just for good measure, I resourced and wrote the “Reaction” section for this film’s entry on Wikipedia.

Author: Michael Cleland

Michael is a passionate web geek who is sure that most problems can be solved with a big bowl of ice cream. A believer in social good and fan of great, useful content, Michael is an advocate for web accessibility, usability and mobile web based on open standards. You can find Michael on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. You can read more on Michael in the About page.


  1. Its not about being pickier its about what happens before they start rolling cameras. Failed Investment in Australian Films is mostly due to poor structure and recognition of the need to NOT to go into production untill the script is solid. The importance and value of investing in rigorous script development as the blueprint is virtually non exsistant. Funding to a max number of drafts is just crazey. If it is not on the page prior to production it will never succeed.

    There is a need to have a variety of styles represented in our eclectic cultural mix. You might not have liked the Wanabees, you might not like that type of comedy but the reason it didn’t hit the box office mark is because the people who should have said it needed another draft or six didn’t. Comedy is a challenge because it is such a polarizing form Of entertainment, people are rarely indifferent when it comes to their assessment.

    Next of course is the development of film makers- short films are virtually being phased out when it comes to the seeding of talent.

    Preproduction and marketing are also extremely undervalued and therefore underfunded. Why all the state and federal arts funding bodies don’t pool marketing resources defies belief.

    There should be a commercial element for a percentage of films greenlit. And self indulgent arthouse and experimental films made from the proceeds:)

    Anyway few thoughts

    • I agree with you. Personally, I thought Nick Giannopoulos’s work was funny a long time ago, but I definitely agree with you that there is still a market for his work.

      I absolutely agree that the script has to be good before project proceeds to shooting. I didn’t know that funding can be limited to a specific number of drafts. That’s just stupid. Just imagine if cars were rolled off the production line missing their brakes because funding for the engineering design ran out and they were directed to “just get those cars into showrooms.”

      If the script is a turkey, then nobody wins. The film won’t make much at the box office and so funding bodies recoup less money, meaning potentially less money to go back into future projects.

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