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Film Victoria

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Manager, Games and Digital Content
• Part-time – 3 days per week
• Fixed-term until 8 January 2016 (maternity leave replacement)

Film Victoria is the State Government agency that provides strategic leadership and assistance to the film, television and digital media sectors of Victoria. We invest in projects and people, and promote Victoria as a world-class production destination nationally and internationally.

Reporting to the Head of Screen Industry Programs, the Manager, Games and Digital Content is responsible for the development, management and delivery of Film Victoria’s games and digital content programs and initiatives.

The ideal candidate will have:
• Current and substantial experience in producing games and digital content along with an understanding of production processes and the computer software and hardware utilised by the games and digital content sectors
• A demonstrated understanding of the market place for games and digital content including digital distribution, games publishing and marketing practices
• Proven ability to recommend appropriate strategies to the games and digital content sectors to help develop their projects across a range of platforms including online, mobile devices and game consoles
• Established networks with games and digital content practitioners and businesses.

To learn more about Film Victoria please visit our website at www.film.vic.gov.au.

If you require additional information or would like to discuss the role further, please contact Ross Hutchens on (03) 9660 3271 or Clara Reeves on (03) 9660 3224 (Wednesday-Friday only).

How to apply

Interested? To apply, please click the Apply Now button or visit www.careers.vic.gov.au.

Candidates MUST include a short statement addressing each Key Selection Criteria as outlined in the Position Description (refer to www.careers.vic.gov.au for further details).

Film Victoria is an equal opportunity employer and embraces diversity amongst its staff. We strongly encourage suitably experienced people from all cultural backgrounds to apply, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Applications close Monday 22 December 2014.

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At the recent Disability Meets Digital event in the UK, Brad Giblin of Film Victoria presented a talk giving insight into the process behind the guidelines. He also covered what accessibility means in the games industry compared to other industries, and success stories from over the past year – including how the guidelines have influenced national government funding, providing a template for games funding in other countries and indeed any kind of digital media funding.

http://igda-gasig.org/events/film-victoria-update-a-game-accessibility-…

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In a striking contrast to the latest funding round from Screen N.S.W's Interactive Media Fund where $300,000 went mostly to app development and none towards games projects, today Film Victoria announced that 12 Victorian games projects will share over $540,000 through their "Screen Development - Games" and "Screen Marketing - Games Release" funding initiatives. The projects given the green light from Film Victoria are:

From Screen Development - Games:

  • BURDEN, Pixelpickle Games
  • FRAMED, Loveshack Entertainment
  • KINGDOMS RISE, Flyleap Studios
  • ORKZ vs HUMANZ, Twiitch
  • PACHIMOU RUN, M5859 Studios
  • SDK, Three Phase Interactive
  • THE FAMILY STARR, Pachinko Pictures

Screen Marketing - Games Release:

  • DUNGEON DASHERS, Sum, Andrew Liam
  • HOOVES RELOADED, Rubber Duck Software
  • PUZZLE PUPPETS, Matthew Pearce
  • TASTY TADPOLES, Mark White
  • TIME SURFER, KumobiusBURDEN, Pixelpickle Games

These projects were chosen for their quality, marketplace appeal and long-term business benefits which Film Victoria CEO, Jenni Tosi, believes will have a positive outcome for the local sector...

(Tosi) We have a wealth of talent and innovation in our local games sector and these studios have unparalleled access to technology and international markets, however they also face increasing competition.

With our support an increasing number of original games are being released by Victorian companies and this will help strengthen and grow the sector.

Submitted by Jenn Sandercock (not verified) on Mon, 19/03/12 - 8:15 PM Permalink

Great article!

On the note of how much it costs to go to GDC. If you've got the right attitude and you can write a good application, being a volunteer is also an option (http://gdconf.com/attend/volunteer.html) to get an all access pass.

Of course, you have to do some work, but the rest of the time you're free to attend sessions. It can be a great way to keep costs down. Also, if you don't know many people at GDC, the volunteer family will help you out. Everyone is so friendly, you'll be booked up solid instantly.

This is the tsumea GDC 2012 Breakfast Club. No, they aren't a rag tag mix-match of high school students but a carefully selected team of the finest games developers that Australia and New Zealand has to offer. And whilst these guys weren't exactly confined to the local high school library, they were instead situated somewhere more chaotic and undoubtedly more stranger.

This year, a huge contingent of local games developers made the trek overseas for the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco. As they returned, tired and suffering from severe jet-lag and post-GDC flu, we thought it would be a great opportunity to grab them each for an introspective on this year's must-go conference for all games developers.

We have:

The Managing Director and co-founder: Mario Wynards, Sidhe
Co-founding and steering a company through the rapidly changing game development space ain't easy, but Mario does it for one of, if not the largest, game studios in all of Australasia.

The Video Game Investor: Brad Giblin, Film Victoria
If you're a Melbourne games developer, you will most definitely know Brad Giblin and Film Victoria who have been essential for the growth of the Melbourne games development sector.

The Community Manager: Sam Mayo, Firemint
Sam Mayo is the tireless and fearless community manager at one of the world's greatest mobile games developers, Firemint.

The Art Director: Ty Carey (prev. Torus Games, now Divisive Media)
Ty fits the bill of "Art Director" to a tee, check out his incredible work to see for yourselves.

The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon
The man, the myth, the legend. He's the incredible audio force behind many triple A games including multiple Need for Speed and Marvel Super Heros titles.

The Programmer: Tony Albrecht, Overbyte
Tony is the programmer's programmer. You wanna hit the hardware in the most optimal way? He's the man to talk to.

The Game Designer: Luke Muscat, Halfbrick
Luke is the genius behind Halfbrick's major hits including Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. Enough said!

The Developer gone Indie: Andrew Goulding, Brawsome
Andrew made the move to indie-hood from the safe confines of a commercial games studio way before it was a common thing. Freeplay 2010 Award Winner in the Best Australian Game category for their Jolly Rover game.

The Indie developer: Alexander Bruce, Antichamber game
Alexander Bruce, winner of this year's GDC award for Technical Excellence for the incredible Antichamber.

The Upcoming indie: Rebecca Fernandez, Convict Interactive
Winner of the 2009 48 Hour Game Making Challenge in Brisbane and just recently successfully crowd-sourced their Triangle Man indie game, Convict Interactive is a rising indie studio worth keeping an eye out on.

How many times have you been to the GDC?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): I've kind of lost count at this point. Somewhere around a dozen times.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): Three

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): This year was my second year at GDC.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): This is my second time. Last time was around 2007.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): This was my fifth GDC, my first was in 2006 (back when it was in San Jose!)

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): This was my 4th visit. My first was in 2003 and in San Jose - I find them just as inspiring now as I did back then.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): Just the two, this year and last year.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): 4.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): I've been to the GDC for the past 3 years, and will continue going to GDC every year that I can. About 2 days into the first GDC that I attended in 2010, I'd already decided I'd be back the next year. The cost of attending GDC is tiny compared to the benefits that you get out of it.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): This was my first year! I did go to E3 last year though, so I had some idea of what to expect.

What was your main purpose for going?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): This year we had many reasons for going, so there wasn't actually a main reason as such. We got to cover off opportunities for recruitment, media coverage, publishing, development, licensing, and learning.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): Film Victoria supports the Victorian companies in attendance (around 30 this year), we meet with companies and people looking to do business in Melbourne or relocate, catch up on industry trends and new business opportunities, and meet with governments and organisations from around the world to discuss the best industry support mechanisms for studios/indies.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): Networking. Publishers are everywhere buying drinks for everyone, GDC is the perfect place to meet your game dev heroes and get drunk with them.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): Educational purposes and networking. I've recently moved to mobile and social games development so these sessions were high on my list.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): I primarily go to GDC to catch up with all my friends at the same place! I work with people all around the world and everyone is often so busy for meet ups at any other time of year, so being able to spend a week with all these people at once is marvellous!

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): My main purpose was to network and try to drum up some contract work - and it seems to have been pretty successful too. The secondary goal was to physically meet a lot of the twitter friends I've made over the last few years (and the secondary goal supported the primary goal).

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): My main purpose was to actually do some talks. I enjoyed last year's GDC so much that I really wanted to be a part of it, and was lucky enough to have not one but two talks selected to be a part of the conference schedule!

Apart from that, my goals were to check out some of the other sessions, and generally network with some of the insanely talented and interesting developers who are always at GDC.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): To market MacGuffin's Curse. And talk to publishers or investors about future projects that fit the kinds of games we're developing.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): I was speaking in two sessions at the Independent Games Summit at GDC this year, and also had my game Antichamber on the IGF Pavilion (where it ended up winning the award for Technical Excellence).

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): My main purpose was to meet with distributors to work out a deal for our upcoming game, Triangle Man

Overall impressions of this years GDC?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): GDC was pretty good this year with a real positive vibe. A stark turnaround from the sombre industry events of a few years ago.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The calibre of attendees and relevance for Victorian studios this year was really outstanding.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): A hell of a lot of positivity.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): I thought that the Australian presence was very healthy. Session wise, the art track was too light on - I'd have liked some deeper sessions here. I really enjoyed the Social Games Summit and felt it was well worth the trip to sit in on those talks.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): GDC this year was fantastic. There was so much buzz about the indie scene, monetization and alternative funding (eg: Kickstarter). People were positive and excited about the numerous changes and evolutions happening within the industry and the next 12 months look very exciting!

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): Lots of people, heaps of mobile stuff, being Indie is cool, really positive vibe, lots of hats.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): In terms of sessions, this year was a little more low key when compared to the mega-star cast they pulled together for the 25th anniversary last year! The presence of mobile and indie developers was stronger than ever, which was great to see.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Seemed more distributed across the Moscone Center this year, which is kind of good, but I don't think everyone knew where some stuff was, like GDC Play. Feels like things are picking up after two years of decline/non-growth.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): Busy! Way busier than I'd have wanted, because I had quite a number of press meetings organised, had to prepare for the sessions I was speaking at, and was also at my booth exhibiting for the three expo days. I guess next year is the year that I can just kick back at sessions or hanging out with friends again.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): Very good! Everything ran very smoothly and was very professional. There was definitely something for everyone in the industry - from students to experts and from each aspect of development (programming, design, art, sound, business).

From your time at this year's GDC, what seems to be the current trend or popular thing for developers at the moment?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): Indie development is definitely where it is at. The AAA console stuff is still there, and it is great to hear the stories and techniques behind it all. But it just isn't relevant to most people any more. The buzz was definitely around the indie scene.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The shift towards mobile and social seems to be continuing, but developers now have a greater understanding and appreciation of the pitfalls of those marketplaces.

Halfbrick also seem to be winning EVERYTHING, if that counts as a trend!

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): I think the newer business models and platforms are really maturing and are becoming more accepted in the development community. At last year’s GDC developers seemed genuinely scared of social and freemium games, but it felt like that was reversed at this year’s conference which is great for the progression of our industry.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): Social games and the fremium model are high on everyone's agenda and were hotly debated and discussed.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): Indie, Indie, Indie! But, with regards to video game audio, there’s a real trend towards pushing the boundaries in style and artistic direction. Developers are moving away from the “big Hollywood Orchestra” sound and are more open to different sounds and textures, which was demonstrated in Battlefield 3 so well. Then, there’s games like Dear Esther and Bastion that have really shown that game audio is moving away from predictability and they have proven the importance of defining a clear stylistic direction.

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): The Indie scene is getting a lot of credibility now. The biggest crowd on the Expo floor had to be the IGF finalists' booths. One thing I hadn't seen before was the companies who's sole purpose it to monetise your product - my last GDC was in 2009 and even as recent as that, this was unheard of.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): The rise of mobile, casual and free to play is impossible to ignore, and its effects on the industry could be seen everywhere.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Figuring out how to get their games out there without a publisher. Especially through Steam and other distribution services, and how to stand out on the App store.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): I have no idea. I didn't get to any sessions at all. See my previous answer!

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): Definitely Indie games! It doesn't seem to be as widespread in the US, but that is changing. A lot of the talks involved multi-disciplines and catered to Indies.

What was the standout session or party you attended (and if it's a session, can you give us a brief summary of it)?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): Well, unfortunately, I had back to back business meetings all the way through the week. My long list of talks I wanted to see gradually got whittled down to the point where I couldn't make any. I did make a few of the parties, and the likes of GREE put on great events with good atmosphere and great company. Hands down the best party of the conference was the Wargaming.net event, one of the best industry parties I have ever attended.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The Government Roundtable was incredibly valuable and well attended (up about 500% on our meeting last year). US states are jumping on board with incentives like tax breaks and project funding, and they’re learning from the 15 years of experience governments like Victoria have in the area. It was fascinating to hear from a Whitehouse representative how they’ve identified games as a tool to address national problems in education, policy and innovation.

Oh, and Indie Game: The Movie. It’s incredible.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): Double Fine’s “Creative Panic: How Agility Turned Terror Into Triumph”. This was a fantastic look at how creating four smaller digital titles after a two week prototype session saved Double Fine. I attended this session with a colleague (SPY mouse lead programmer Josh Boggs), and we saw many similarities in how our studios operate.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): The session "Good design, Bad design, Great design" by Raph Kosher (Playdom) was a very inspiring talk on fundamental design principles.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): One of the standouts for me was heading around to the Skywalker Ranch to check out the Tech Building with some groovy dudes from EA, DICE and Blizzard. I’d never been out there before and even though it strictly wasn’t a GDC thing, it was amazing to see the serene working environment that Star Wars built.

I always went to a Mass Effect 3 art gallery showing one night which was awesome. Another night we had an audio party in a bar with duelling piano players who would play any written request - I passed one of the player’s a note that said “Skrillex” and he just looked at me funny, so I settled on Kung Fu Fighting instead.

Bar hopping between the various parties is always a lot of fun and is great for bumping into people that you haven’t seen in a while. I dunno, the whole of GDC is a standout and it’s hard to explain if you’ve never been, but just being around 22,000 developers from around the world for a week in San Francisco is a hugely inspiring experience. You’re in sessions and meetings all day, then there’s dinner meetings, then there’s parties until 3am, then you’re at a breakfast meeting at 8am - it just goes non-stop!

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): The 4am Pixeljunk party was surprising. It was in a little store in Haight Ashbury and was packed full of developers. On the far wall was a projection of Q-Game's latest game, 4am with the music blasting though a good sound system. It just had this really good vibe.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): The Game Design Challenge session was a huge highlight for me, watching 3 extremely accomplished designers attempted to tackle the task of designing a game that has a 'measurably positive impact on its players, and can be played in 60 seconds or less'. Very inspiring stuff!

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Sessions and parties weren't really on my list this year. The Flash Forward was a pretty good idea, and a fun way to introduce many sessions people might not know about. I hear my talk about Steam sales of Jolly Rover went pretty well =0).

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): A private party. Details shall remain secret.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): My favourite session by far was the "Pitching to Publishers" session which was run by a Sony representative. He bluntly and honestly outlined what game devs should and shouldn't do when pitching an idea to a publisher. These are the exact same things you should do when pitching to investors, so these tips were invaluable for any indie.

The most impressive thing you saw at the GDC?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): To be honest, no one thing jumped out. There are a lot of great stories, games, and people out there right now. If anything, the thing that impressed me most was something a little more intangible, and that is that the camaraderie and creative joy has come back into the industry.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The Wargaming stand on the expo floor (makers of World of Tanks) was equal in size and position to the Sony Playstation stand. That should illustrate just how important and profitable free to play games are becoming, even in hardcore markets.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): The Independent Games Festival section of the expo showfloor. Many of these indie titles were better than the stuff the console manufacturers were showing off…

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): David Cage's demonstration of Quantic Dream's Kara engine was quite impressive.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): The most impressive stuff is always under NDA! Mona Mur’s talk about her music on Kane & Lynch 2 was really interesting and she shared a lot of her methods on creating terror and depression through dissonant sounds. Dren McDonald’s talk on social game audio was also another standout - Facebook games have moved from 30 loops to full orchestra recordings in only 18 months!

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): The guy wearing 7 hats? Actually, no. On the Wednesday outside of Moscone West, on one street corner there were 3 girls giving out caffeinated soft drinks surrounded by lycra clad girls dancing while handing out invites to parties. On the next street corner was a guy shouting into a megaphone, demanding that we find god and repent. He was there, shouting, for at least 4 hours. That's impressive.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): I was incredibly impressed with the level of originality, ingenuity and overall professionalism of a lot of smaller indie style development studios. There are so many new start ups with developers who have been in the industry for years, who are bringing all of their experience and knowledge to the table in new markets. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our industry!

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): The GDC Play area, it felt like the place where the best games were being shown!

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): Standing on stage looking out at the crowd at the IGF ceremony. Very few people get to walk up there to accept an award, and the experience of actually doing that myself was certainly something I won't forget.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): I think the Indie Games Festival was fantastic. Getting to see all these indie and student games - and being able to talk to the developers was inspiring. The innovative ideas and game mechanics were a fresh change from the "blockbuster" titles.

And what was the oddest thing you saw?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): A girl in a short pink dress and a Stormtrooper helmet handing out fliers. I'm sure there are photos floating around.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): Tom Killen getting up at 6am every day? People surviving for 5 days on a diet of coffee, burgers and assorted cheese topped fried goods?

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): Well, the NOS tent blaring terrible music each day was pretty hard to grasp… but the oddest thing was definitely the guys holding up the ‘God hates game developers’ signs near the west hall.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): Grown men drinking from a punch bowl with tea cups in a bar. Alright, it was us.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): GDC always comes with a few oddities. There was a girl outside Moscone West one afternoon dressed as a Ballerina, but she had a Stormtrooper helmet on. In the same area there was a guy with a big sign saying “God Hates Game Designers” (http://tinyurl.com/8xu5cvs).

At one audio party I walked into the Audio Director behind Battlefield 3 having a friendly argument with the Audio Director behind Modern Warfare 3 about gun sounds. That was a fascinating and hugely funny moment.

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): San Francisco is full of crazies. From homeless people talking to mail boxes, to loonies trying to convince you to ride with them on their UFO to visit Jesus. It's hard to pick the oddest thing that that much crazy around.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): Probably a bunch of 'protestors' on the corner next to the convention centre holding up signs declaring 'God Hates Game Designers' and 'Thou Shalt Not Monetize'.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Gabe Newell's face on a pole.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): No idea. Can't give a decent answer to this at the moment.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): GDC booth babes. I really don't think they have a place at this conference. I can see why they appear at E3, but I don't think they are effective at GDC at all. One of them was a girl wearing only lingerie and a Storm-trooper helmet.

What's your take on the overall state of the global games industry from the conference?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): We have bounced back as an industry from the devastation of a few years ago. It is tough as ever to make great games and break through the noise, but new platforms, distribution channels, and fresh consumers are creating new opportunities, especially for the small guys. It is the Wild West and the old rules have gone out the window.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The entire industry seems to be on the up. Several big console developers were hiring (Blizzard, Rockstar) and there are some incredible games being produced at all levels that are pushing the medium forward dramatically.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): Game developers are incredible human beings. No matter the business model, platform, genre or whatever – there are developers out there working on amazing ideas.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): It certainly feels healthy and a lot of people are excited about new ways to monetize their products.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): The Game Development industry is now in the hands of the people it should be - the game developers! There’s small teams making millions on indie smash-hits, well-known veterans being funded directly by fans, and more people are buying and playing games than ever before.

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): In spite of layoffs happening with painful regularity, there was still a positive vibe at this year's GDC. With some indies making it really big, there is this sense of hope. A trust that good games, creative games can still be written and you can make a living from it. Or, in some cases, get so filthy rich that you can buy your own island to live on and fill it full of robot monkey butlers.

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Picking up after a few years of decline, we're moving forward as the indies that have managed to hold on and make a business of this are finding their feet and maturing.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): I don't really attend GDC to pay attention to the global games industry or trends. I go there to hang out with friends, to check out the games at the IGF pavilion and to keep advancing my own work.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): It is definitely in a state of change with the Indie uprising - but this year seems to be embracing that change rather than being confused by it. I think we'll see a lot more innovation and the big publishers changing the way they work with developers. Embracing casual games as "real games" seems to be more acceptable now too.

For those of us thinking about attending a GDC for the first time, could you tell us: how much would it cost overall to attend a GDC's? (travel, hotel, prices & expenses etc)
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): we expect to spend about NZ$5k on average per person we are sending over by the time you include flights and accommodation. It can be above or below that depending on what kind of pass you get, and how cheap you can get flights and accommodation.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): The Victorian Government supports people to attend the market if they’re a registered company and have a clear export strategy. The funding available ($2,500 and up) can significantly offset the cost to attend the market. I’d estimate the minimum cost for the 5 days is around $3,500.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): The exchange rate is great for Aussie tourists right now, but who knows what it’ll be like in a year. You can get a fairly decent hotel for around US$100 a night right in the middle of San Francisco through wotif.com. There are quite a few hostels around too, which are cheap… but you might not get a great night sleep. Food and alcohol are fairly affordable, though prices aren’t usually listed with tax – and don’t forget to tip. Probably a good idea to budget at least US$100 per day for food/shopping/transport etc.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): I was lucky enough to have my trip paid for, but if you're in Melbourne and you have a legitimate business reason, Screen Victoria has a grant that really helps get you over. There's quite a financial difference between staying in a Hostel and Hotel - a hotel room around Union Square will cost you around $200 a night. A Hostel might cost about a quarter of this price. Food is quite reasonably priced - I got around with $400 in my pocket for seven days, and that included all of my expenses (taxis, late night drinking sessions, gifts, tips etc).

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): The first bit of advice is to find a travel partner to share costs with. Splitting a hotel will save you a lot of money, and GDC is a lot more enjoyable when you’re sharing the experience with someone else. Hotels can be anywhere from $100 a night to $1,000 a night - just depends on how well you’re latest game is going I guess?

Flights to San Francisco range from $1,000 - $1,500 return, which is really quite good. On top of that you probably want around $50 - $100 a day for food and drinks. GDC usually costs me around $2,500, and if you’re operating as a business you can claim a lot of it against tax. There’s also various Government funding based on where you are which is definitely worth checking out too!

A lot of it comes down to how much you’re willing to spend and what you want out of GDC. If you’re just looking for some networking and to enjoy some sessions, your GDC pass for the week will be around $500 - $1,000. If you’re a developer and you want to show off your new project then you can do GDC Play or Game Connection, which can be a few thousands more. If you’re a smaller developer though, you can get a basic pass and simply cruise the halls showing your demo to anyone who is willing to check it out.

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): Flights from $1500 to $2000, accom around $800, registration $950, daily expenses ~$70

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Travel and accommodation will set you back around $2,000, if you're sharing cheap accommodation and can find very cheap flights you may be able to scrape in for $1,500, but that's a very big *may*. Passes go for around $600 for Summits and Tutorials and a few hundred for an expo pass, the full passes are $1000+. If you can commit to going at least 3 months in advance you'll save hundreds of dollars on everything.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): This really depends on how you do it. Flights outside Australia always seem to be around $1600 or more every time I do it. For the passes, I'd recommend whatever is the cheapest way to cover the Independent Games Summit and the Expo floor. I only ever really go to the IGS and then hang out around the IGF Pavilion, so this year most people just bought the Independent Games Summit passes for like $325. For accommodation, there's Hostelling International Downtown San Francisco, which is where a whole bunch of indies stay. Gather a group of 4 friends and book a shared room there and you're set.

It's pretty easy to spend a bunch of money quickly at GDC on partying with friends and exploring San Francisco. It's not necessarily cheap, but it's the most useful event of the year, most of the good networking happens outside the conference itself (at parties / meals / drinks with friends), and the benefits of going far outweigh the costs of attending. It can be difficult to quantify the benefits of having attended GDC, as how much you get out of the event really depends on how much you put yourself out there and talk to people, but it has always been pretty invaluable to me.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): I bought an all access pass which set me back about $1300 (that was with an IGDA discount). My flights were about $1300 return (I recommend flying Delta - they are great). I stayed at a hostel which was less than $300 for the whole week. I probably spent about $500 on food, drinks and transport during my stay - you could definitely spend less if you didn't drink any alcohol.

What preparations and advice would you suggest for first timers wanting to attend a GDC?
(The Managing Director, Mario Wynards): It depends on what you want to achieve, but the best approach is to run a tight ship so you can get the most out of the show. Make sure you have a mobile phone and a way to check your email. Plan your meetings well in advance by reaching out to those you want to meet at least several weeks before the event, but bear in mind you may pick up a few meetings at the show so be flexible. Work out what talks you want to see before you go, not at the show, though don't be afraid to change around on the day. Print out your schedule and keep it with you. If you are meeting with people, make sure you have their phone numbers in case there is an issue, and send them your photo ahead of time if you have never met before and are meeting in some public area. You'll be tired, you'll get hungry, but push through to get the most out of it as you can always have a long sleep on the plane on the way back down under.

(The Video Game Investor, Brad Giblin): Relationships are everything. Try to meet with fellow local studios to determine your approach, and get a few solid meetings set up early in the week. Identify your five key targets (publishers, press, etc) and pursue them above all else. Talk to Film Victoria or Multimedia Victoria beforehand and we’ll help you get there and make the most use out of the market.

(The Community Manager, Sam Mayo): Arrive a few days early to adjust, take comfortable shoes, and enjoy your time in beautiful San Francisco! Oh and go to all of the parties, they’re great.

(The Art Director, Ty Carey): Orientate yourself as much as possible with the layout of the conference halls, and the immediate city before heading down there. Do some early thinking on what sessions you really want to attend - there's often some really hard choices. If you want to attend parties, look into these as early as possible as tickets become hard to find or expensive. Everyone's there to mingle - don't be afraid to approach and talk to people.

(The Composer, Sound Designer, Audio Director: Mick Gordon): Again, find a travel partner - someone to share costs with, and share GDC with! For networking purposes it’s a good idea to go with someone who works in a different field - if you’re an artist, go with a programmer. If you’re a designer, go with an audio engineer, etc. This will help you both with networking because you’ll be able to introduce each other to people who you may not necessary meet. Furthermore, two heads are better than one, especially when trying to search out the various “secret” parties that happen during GDC!

Secondly, make sure you’ve got your business cards, website and demos ready-to-go. You want to make sure people can easily contact you after GDC, and good self-promotional materials definitely help.

Lastly, go to make friends. Not to make clients, not to find business partners, not to find a job - go to make good friends. The game industry is incredibly tight-knit and people work with who they know - I’ve been working with the same people for years!

(The Programmer, Tony Albrecht): Work out why you are going, then plan everything around that. If you are pimping your game, make sure you have meetings set up with publishers and other people of importance. If you're going there to educate and inspire yourself, make sure you have all the sessions sorted out that you want to attend (and don't get so hammered at the parties that you fall asleep in the sessions). And in both cases, pick the parties that you want to attend and make sure you get invites. The parties are a fantastic place to meet people that you'd never bump into normally, giving you a great opportunity to chat with studio heads and swap business cards.

To me, GDC is about networking. Be polite, talk to lots people, don't get too drunk, have fun.

(The Game Designer, Luke Muscat): The more preparation you put in, the more you will get out of the week! Reach out to developers that you want to meet and get in touch with, you will be surprised how many of them will be at GDC and happy to meet up and chat. Figure out which sessions you want to see and which ones you simple cannot miss. There is always more to do at GDC than time allows, so being prepared and having your priorities straight will help you get the most out of an incredible week!

(The Developer gone Indie, Andrew Goulding): Start planning 3 months before the event, to start reaching out to people you'd like to meet over there, and follow up with those that are going to be the busiest regularly leading up to the conference. Make sure you have your passport and ESTA filled in. Make sure you have comfortable shoes, and cold and flu tablets and pain killers, because it can be a generally grueling experience if you're making the most of it. And I know it might sound silly, but double and triple check your dates and times! And if you're planning on a calendar, make sure it's on San Francisco time.

(The Indie developer, Alexander Bruce): Don't be shy. If you attend GDC and only go to sessions and then return to your hotel, you'll get next to nothing out of it. If you talk to as many people as you can and spend a lot of time being a friendly person, you'll meet a hell of a lot of interesting and incredibly useful people.

(The Upcoming indie, Rebecca Fernandez): Take lots of business cards!
Don't stand up during question time of a session just to tell the speaker how much you loved their game - there is time for this privately afterwards and someone behind you probably has a burning question that actually relates to the session topic.
Wear comfortable shoes - you will be doing lots of walking.
Don't acknowledge the homeless people. It sounds horrible but as soon as you give in to (or even look at) one, you will be swarmed by many of them.
If a developer is talking to the media then don't interrupt!
Smile and don't be scared to talk to people - everyone has a story to tell.
Australians are the best people to hang out with - take the opportunity of everyone being in one place to get to know your fellow countrymen!

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Submitted by souri on Fri, 09/09/11 - 3:01 PM Permalink

Yeh, unfortunately the first I heard of it was when The Voxel Agents and Wicked Witch were smack talking each other before their match on twitter, so it was all already set up and going at that point. If the tournament continues next year, it would be great to have an even greater number of game devs there!

Submitted by James Croft (not verified) on Fri, 09/09/11 - 4:24 PM Permalink

Hi guys, just to let you know, if you're interested in competing in the next season, please send us am email at playwellcup [at] g mail [dot] com. We've had a couple of companies already express interest, so drop us a line and I will make sure you're in the loop for when the next one comes around.

I apologise if we weren't out there more before we began; it's kind of a catch-22, no coverage until you have something to show, can't show anything until you begin! Hopefully you'll follow & enjoy the current tournament; last night's Film Victoria vs. Liquid Interactive was intense. I can't wait to cast it.

The first week has ended for the 2011 Play Well Cup, a 6-week Starcraft 2 tournament between local games developers and online/media companies, with all donations and proceeds going to the Child's Play charity. It's an exciting event instigated by James Croft who was inspired by the work of popular Starcraft 2 game casters on youtube as well as the distinct lack of local Starcraft 2 action.
The Play Well Cup is an Australian Starcraft 2 league where geeky AU companies battle it out in support of Child's Play — a charity raising money for the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane & the Sydney Children's Hospital.
The companies and organisations who've signed up for the tournament are: Here are just two of the matches that are available for viewing right now! Check out the rest at http://www.youtube.com/playwellcup Wicked Witch Software - Age (Terran) & SnIpHeR (Protoss) VS The Voxel Agents - Skyeborg (Protoss) & Sambot (Terran) SEGA Studios Australia - Matt (Terran) & Paz (Protoss) VS Firemint - MarsSpider (Terran) & Nerdnina (Terran) Oohh boy, never forget the importance of scouting ;) For all the news, tournament updates, and sponsorship details, head on over to the Play Well Cup website at: http://www.playwellcup.com.au/ Alternatively, you can also keep up to date at the Play Well Cup page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/playwellcup or follow their Twitter account at https://twitter.com/PlayWellCup
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The next round of the Film Victoria Games Investment program closes May 9th so get your pitches and prototypes ready!

Funding of up to $100,000 is available, capped at 50% of the project budget. We'll fund full games, prototypes and anything in between. We'll also happily contribute to the marketing costs associated with launching the game.

Full guidelines, eligibility, application forms and contact details can be found here:

http://www.film.vic.gov.au/game

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The first round of applications to the Film Victoria's Games Investment Program is fast reaching the 29th of October deadline (this Friday!). If you haven't submitted your application, you don't have too long now!

After consulting with Film Victoria, Chris Watts from Play-Bit Entertainment saw fit to share the extra information on various factors of the funding program as well as some additional thoughts with a write up at the Play-Bit website. The article will be useful for developers who are in the process of forming their application in knowing what is expected of them by Film Victoria, and if you have any further questions, I'm sure Chris or Film Victoria would be happy answer them via the Play-Bit website or through here.

From Chris's article..

Fact: Film Vic will not fund more then 50% of the budget of the project. The other 50% provided by the developer does not have to be completely cash in the bank. When a developer puts a monitory value to their hours spent on the project unpaid. That’s known as “In-Kind” which is an important factor that can be added to your games budget.

For the highly informative piece, head on over to the Play-Bit Entertainment website at the following link...

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Submitted by souri on Thu, 14/10/10 - 1:57 PM Permalink

So what does everyone think? Seems like it's perfectly suited to the more higher-range sort of indie development to the smaller established studio which Melbourne has a few of.

I think this would be the perfect opportunity for those proven smaller studios who are known for work-for-hire projects to get the additional support they need to get onto self-published digitally distributed games.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/10/10 - 4:21 PM Permalink

Forgive me if I have read this wrong but it looks more like a matched investment scheme now as it says no more than 50% of the project budget will be funded. I can imagine there were a lot of things funded by Film Vic in the past that never amounted to anything and this is one way of making sure the projects have a bit more viability.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/10/10 - 6:00 PM Permalink

This is great, but....

Shouldn't this be of benefit to the GAMES industry?

"reach a targeted audience, and ultimately strengthen Victoria's screen industry."

Gee thanks!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/10/10 - 11:38 AM Permalink

Any news on NSW following suit????????

Would be a great boost to the industry here.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 15/10/10 - 6:40 PM Permalink

Just a note, I couldn't find the application deadlines anywhere, but it looks like Gamespot has some more details..

First application deadline October 29.

"Applicants can make any type of game, and we'll assess it based on its innovation, marketability, and quality," Sdraulig said. "We'll fund games for any platform, including social networks, mobile, handheld, console, retail, and digital."

http://au.gamespot.com/news/6281892.html

Submitted by bradgiblin on Sun, 17/10/10 - 2:48 PM Permalink

Hey Folks,

Souri - You're correct, we'd expect this program to cater for indie teams who are serious about building their business and smaller studios looking to complement contracting work with their own IP development. That said, given the current market conditions even larger studios should find benefit from an additional $100k towards an internal project.

Anonymous(s) - The matched investment has been introduced due to the demand on the games programs of late (an increased in applications of 45% last year). We've also seen a correlation between successful projects and significant investment by the applicant, illustrating the importance of the applicant owning most of the risk, creativity and recoupment in a project.

Also, Film Victoria defines the screen industry as including games, film and TV.

Email me if you're interested in the program and we can talk through your project.

Cheers,
Brad

Submitted by souri on Wed, 20/10/10 - 4:08 AM Permalink

37.5% tax credit does absolute wonders...

With its new Montreal studio, THQ is aiming high: THQ Montreal plans to hire some 400 developers across all disciplines over the next five years. 30 staffers are already employed there, general manager David Gatchel told audiences at an on-site press conference attended by Gamasutra.

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/31061/InDepth_THQs_Bilson_Talks_Big_AAA_…

THQ's Danny Bilson lays it out pretty plainly...

"It's all about money. There's no issue with talent; it's just economics - and if the government finds subsidies there, absolutely we would build out. I wish that Los Angeles or California would give us 37.5 per cent on the labour; then we'd be building out here. If it was in Manchester we'd be building out there. If it was in Lyon, we'd be building out there."

http://www.develop-online.net/news/36125/THQ-Wed-build-a-mega-studio-in…

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/10/10 - 12:40 AM Permalink

As another example of how insignificant this is - check out the support that the Singapore govt has extended recently ...
http://www.socialtimes.com/2010/04/singapore-investing-14-million-into-…

Ever wonder why Lucasfilm/LucasArts, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Koei are setting up big studios there instead of in Australia?

Frankly there is no way to compete with a country in our region that is hungry to establish itself as a media hotspot of the 21st century, and has a sovereign wealth fund worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Australia cannot compete.

The Games Investment Programme assists Victorian games developers to create a diverse range of games for any distribution platform with an emphasis on technical, creative or design innovation.

This programme recognises the need to support games developers to create a prototype or full game on any distribution platform. It assists games developers to create original IP, attract further investment, reach a targeted audience, and ultimately strengthen Victoria's screen industry.

Maximum funds available: Up to $100,000 for games on any distribution platform and no more than 50% of the project budget. Contact us to confirm if the program can support your project

Deadlines : Two per year – Check the website for dates, Subject to available funds
Overview : Provides funding to develop a prototype or full game on any distribution platform
Who is it for? : Games developers

Intention of the program
The aim of the program is to support the development of a diverse range of games for any distribution platform with an emphasis on technical, creative or design innovation. The program works to ensure the development of better quality projects, capable of attracting further investment and reaching an identified audience.

This program addresses the need to support games developers to pitch to distributors, publishers and other third party investors through playable prototypes which demonstrate the technical, innovative and creative elements of their game.

The program also supports the full production of games that that are intended to be sold directly to consumers through digital distribution platforms.

About the program

Up to $100,000 is available for game development on any distribution platform, and no more than 50% of the budget for the game will be funded by Film Victoria. Funding can be used to support staffing requirements and other costs associated with game development.

Funding for marketing activities can be included within the budget and is considered integral for projects that intend to sell direct to consumers.

Funding in the proposed budget can also be allocated to engage a highly experienced mentor to support key project personnel with the creative, technical and/or business elements of the project.

Applicants can only submit one application in any round of the program.

How applications are assessed
Funding is competitive and we look for original, marketable and quality projects. We also look for projects that engage the unique features of the selected development platform and applicants that have access to the development kits for that platform.

Applications should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the marketplace constraints including size limitations, approval processes, development costs and technology limitations. Applicants are also expected to undertake market analysis that clearly identifies competitors, market gaps and audience trends.

Given the highly competitive nature of both the program and the global games marketplace, applicants are expected to clearly and objectively identify the projects unique selling points.

Please contact the Administrative Support Officer no less than 2 weeks before the program deadline to ensure that your application can address the requirements of the assessment panel.

Eligibility Criteria

Individual applicants

  • Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Lived in Victoria for at least the last six months
  • Ownership / control of 100% of copyright in a project, or shared ownership and/or control of copyright under an approved joint venture arrangement
  • Knowledge, resources and expertise required to complete the project
  • Experienced team attached to the project
  • Proof of necessary licences, approvals and development kits (where applicable)

Company applicants

  • Incorporated in Australia and based in Victoria
  • Ownership / control of 100% of copyright in the project, or shared ownership and/or control of copyright under an approved joint venture arrangement
  • Knowledge, resources and expertise required to complete the project
  • Experienced team attached to the project
  • Proof of necessary licences, approvals and development kits (where applicable)

The majority of the development work for the project must be undertaken in Victoria and use Victorian talent for the project to be eligible for investment.

Film Victoria must receive your complete application by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Should you have any concerns about your application you must contact the Program Manager no less than 2 working days prior to the deadline.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/05/10 - 1:40 PM Permalink

Bother!

This is yet another knock to the industry.

We really have so much potential, but unfortunately it needs more government support than just letting us drill a well or dig a hole.....

Seriously Victoria could rival any other development hub in the world if we had a level playing field.

I salute all at Film Victoria for their tremendous work to date. They have been remarkably pro active. It is such a shame that the budget wasn't doubled rather than halfed, the benefits in employment would probably more than covered the extra costs!

Submitted by souri on Thu, 06/05/10 - 2:01 PM Permalink

I guess this news comes as a bit of a shock, considering the boom in the DLC / Social gaming marketplace and the recipients of the latest round of funding - it seemed like this initiative had so much potential if it were expanded. Now would have been the right time for it.

I've also just read lately that the Singapore games industry (an industry with a very close proximity to our own) has just received S$20 million (roughly $16 million AU) dollars worth of support for a variety of games initiatives for the next three years. That's right, $16 million for 3 years, compared to a paltry $1 million over 2 years for the biggest games industry sector in Australia. It's embarrassing, and there's no doubt anymore that we have been left behind.

Canada, France, China are the countries more well known for incredible Government backing, but many other countries like Singapore have easily leapt over us to become much bigger players in game development simply because the officials "get it". It's no surprise that LucasArts and others have set up in Singapore, and Andrew Carter taking a whole bunch of Aussie developers to Singapore to develop the Otherland MMO was a decision he likely doesn't regret.

Submitted by souri on Thu, 06/05/10 - 6:07 PM Permalink

Ok, there seems to be some confusion about the game funding situation. Screenhub have an article about it (can't read the article, since you need to be a subscriber), but you can get the jist of it here...

According to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Innovation, the Victorian government has doubled its support for the Digital Media Fund administered by Film Victoria. According the Games Developers' Association of Australia, it has been halved. Someone is orbiting Pluto - but who?

Submitted by souri on Tue, 11/05/10 - 10:20 PM Permalink

Got sent the article a second article from Screenhub with Film Victoria confirming that the budget has indeed been halved. Unusual to hear another government department say that it had been doubled, however. That's quite an error to make.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/05/10 - 7:37 AM Permalink

Im currently doing a degree in games design, and through the course of the degree, i have become aware that getting a job in Australia will be more difficult than i first thought. But looking at the jobs market overseas, i see great potential for fresh graduates to get a job as a Lowly QA pleb.

The round about comment that Im trying to make is that through Fee-Help i have created almost $35,000 worth of debt for myself, The catch is that it is payed back through deductions by the Australian Tax Department. If i dont earn money under the Australian Tax system, as far as im aware, i wont pay that back.

Given the recent explosion of Gaming related degrees, isnt in the governments interest to try and boost the australian games industry, so they can see that money again?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/05/10 - 7:08 PM Permalink

Unless you surrender your citizenship you will always be earning money under the Australian tax system, so you don;t need to worry about that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/05/10 - 9:16 PM Permalink

you don't need to give up your citizenship - live 184+ days OS and you are away "for tax purposes" in that financial year.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/05/10 - 11:22 AM Permalink

Is that the new law Rudd brought in this year, or is it the old law which is about to be replaced with what I described?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/05/10 - 11:45 AM Permalink

the key is being non-resident, all of the changes effect only those who earn foreign income and are classed as *resident* here in Australia.

I have actually done this in the past - use the "183 day rule" to solve the problem - if there is one - but hey, who wants to live anywhere else anyway - the US is stuffed and the UK is really stuffed!!

Screenplay reports that Melbourne game developers have suffered a set back as support supplied by Film Victoria's Digital Media Fund has been halved by the Victorian Government. The Digital Media Fund has been extremely beneficial for the Melbourne games industry in sparking new opportunities and helping developers realise their goals. In a recent budget announcement, only $1 million would be provided to game initiatives for the next two years, sparking disappointment from the Games Developer Association of Australia (GDAA) as well as Melbourne game developers.

Tony Reed, CEO of the GDAA, expressed his thoughts on the importance of the fund to Screenplay...

Without question, Film Victoria has been a strong advocate for the creation and delivery of original content, offering programs that have allowed Victorian studios to develop games for a global audience which ultimately generate jobs for the local industry," said Mr Reed.

"The Film Victoria Digital Media Fund has enabled some of Victoria's most creative minds to develop truly unique concepts and directly encouraged the investment of millions of dollars into the Victorian game development industry."

Infinite Interactive, a Melbourne games developer who in the past benefited from the initiative with their break-out hit, Puzzle Quest, also shared their response to the announcement...

"I am extremely disappointed to hear that Film Victoria's budget has been slashed," said Infinite's CEO Steve Fawkner. "After a very tough year for the Australian games industry, we need the government to show some support, not turn their backs on us like this."

The funding cut-back decision has puzzled many considering the Victorian Government's stance on game development as a "growing local industry with high commercial potential", as well as the numerous export awards received by Victorian game developers over the years. It would seem that the rise of independent games development and the burgeoning opportunities in DLC market space would mean that an increase to the Digital Media Fund would make much better sense.

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Film Victoria’s Digital Media Prototyping, Production Investment and Downloadable Games Initiative funding rounds close Tuesday 27 April 2010. This funding offers Victorian producers, publishers and developers financial assistance in the development of locally owned intellectual property.

Film Victoria’s new Downloadable Games Initiative seeks to empower local producers looking to develop digital distribution projects for Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, WiiWare, iTunes, Steam and other relevant digital distribution platforms. Funding is limited and investment of up to $75,000 is available. Producers should contact Film Victoria prior to submitting.

Film Victorias longstanding Digital Media Prototyping funds enable local producers to create product prototypes with up to $500,000 Sony PlayStation® 3 / Microsoft Xbox® 360 / Nintendo Wii® game projects; $150,000 for online, handheld and PC projects and $50,000 for mobile phone projects. Funding is limited and producers should contact Film Victoria prior to submitting.

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