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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Make a movie like Mike Leigh

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Screenworks has partnered with the Australian Directors Guild to bring another opportunity for northern rivers writers, directors and actors to increase their skills. The Mike Leigh Process: Character-based Improvisation masterclass will be presented by writer/director Robert Marchand in Byron Bay 19–23 October.

Mike Leigh makes films that are idiosyncratic, funny and heartfelt. Starting without a script, he spends time with each actor alone to create a unique character. The actor is sent out to research the background, class, work situation, home life and any other relevant aspect to this character, which is then developed further through improvisations.

Northern rivers-based writer/director Belinda Chayko (Lou) was impressed when she did The Mike Leigh Process masterclass a number of years ago and says, ‘From a writer’s perspective, the course shows you how to find the unexpected in characters’ reactions to situations. There is a scene in my most recent film, Lou, that came directly from participating in the workshop.’

Writer/director Robert Marchand, a recognised authority on the Character-based Improvisation Process, received endorsement from Mike Leigh as a result of his final-year project at AFTRS and is currently completing his PhD on the process at Flinders University.

Robert Marchand’s Mike Leigh Process workshop is a practical investigation of this unique process. It examines Mike’s methods from beginning to end in a dynamic, informative and interactive five-day workshop – participants acquire direct, firsthand experience by taking part in progressive character- and scene-building exercises.

According to Robert Marchand, ‘The performances in Mike Leigh’s films generally exist on a level of detail and intensity not often found in conventional scripted films’.

The five-day Mike Leigh Process workshop is touring nationally and running in Byron Bay for the first time, this being the most northerly location for this national tour. The workshop will be held at various locations around Byron Bay Oct 19–23. There are limited spaces available, by application only. For more information visit www.screenworks.com.au or contact Screenworks 02 6687 1599.


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