Down Under: Australia & New Zealand|
Australia: Koalas and Road Warriors. New Zealand: Kiwis and Middle Earth. The Land Down Under. The Land of the Long White Cloud. With diverse populations and ecosystems, both countries have elements of mystery and adventure, while also remaining culturally accessible. With long-standing recognition of both countries as viable production centers – due to favorable exchange rates and the bright light of Hollywood productions bringing money and infrastructure – the region continues to grow and thrive.
According to the Australian Film Commission, in 2002-2003 (the most recent timeframe with statistics available), more than 16,000 Aussies work in the production industry. Of the more than four hundred companies that work in media production, more than half were directly linked to commercial production. Much like the rest of the world, however, Aussies are trying to get the most bang for their buck. While the overall number of commercial productions are on the rise, budgets are much tighter and margins are slimmer.
Commercials are the third largest area of production in New Zealand, and experienced a very slight decline in numbers according to the 2006 Screen Industry in New Zealand report compiled by the New Zealand Film Commission. However, more than 2,000 businesses in New Zealand say they support the screen industry, an amazing figure for a country of only 4.2 million people.
Much of the work in Australia and New Zealand comes from abroad. In Auckland, New Zealand, “the strongest markets in terms of our clients are Australia, the US, the UK and Japan,” says Michael Brook, Executive Manager of Film Auckland. Brook says Singapore, India, Korea and Brazil are developing markets for his area. Australia sees much of its foreign-originated work coming from Asia, although most Aussie companies set up satellite offices in the US or the UK.
What are some of the reasons people come from so many places to shoot in Australia or New Zealand? Euro RSCG Chicago completed a project in New Zealand for Valspar paint, and beautiful scenery and talented people were part of the reason for shooting there.
"New Zealand is a spectacular micro-climate,” says Monica Wilkins, Director of Film and Broadcast Production/Executive Producer at Euro RSCG Chicago. “It has everything from deserts to mountains to oceans to jungles to waterfalls. Each type of climate lends itself to very rich colors. This amazing scenery, along with the fact that it was winter in North America, made New Zealand the best country, literally in the world, to shoot this beautiful spot."
Elyse Maguire, Creative Director and Copywriter at Euro RSCG Chicago continues: “There is a strong film community in New Zealand, thanks in part to Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings. The crews were great to work with and were instrumental in making this shoot such a success."
Australia has its fans as well. The combination of unique locations and favorable economics make an attractive package. “Depending on where you are based, Australia provides favorable economic conditions, great weather and a pretty spectacular range of natural landscapes,” says Shane Gibson, a copywriter with advertising agency Three Drunk Monkeys.
Production companies are flourishing in this part of the world, and in this month's feature we speak with five of them: New Zealand's The Sweet Shop & Flying Fish and Australia's Filmgraphics, Renegade Films & The Guild of Commercial Filmmakers. Get ready to go south -- to the Southern Hemisphere. To Australia and New Zealand!