Essential Crew | Essential Screen Skills
Essential Crew (EC) has solidified its place as the leading expert for crew in Queensland’s Screen Industry. As a crew booking agency, we provide Companies, Producers, Productions, Heads of Department, Agencies, Brands, Studios and Post Production Companies with the most effective, professional solution to finding available and experienced crew. Currently representing almost 300 freelance crew, Essential Crew aims to constantly evolve to meet the needs and expectations of Australia’s expanding Screen Industry. EC’s focus is on continuing to assist crew to secure work and achieve their career goals, ensuring productions filming in Australia always have access to experienced and enthusiastic crew. Essential Crew Training Courses and Emerging Crew Program launched in 2014 and 2015 with the aim to educate and nurture the emerging sector, arming new filmmakers and emerging crew with the vital information, real world view and ‘know how’ they need to begin and maintain careers. This service is now known as Essential Screen Skills.
Essential Screen Skills (ESS) is the training arm of Essential Crew. This has expanded to providing workshops, courses, masterclasses, panels, professional development, work experiences and connections to Industry. ESS combines screen industry and professional knowledge with educational experience to create specifically designed programs and initiatives to improve the workforce capabilities of the screen industry. ESS has a strong focus on nurturing new people into the industry whether that be school leavers, university graduates, people transitioning from other industries and those returning to the industry after a break.
Essential Screen Skills delivers the Screen and Media project under the Gateway to Industry Schools program, which is proudly supported and funded by the Queensland Government.
In 2022 Essential Crew was awarded Queensland Screen Business of the Year at Gold Coast Film Festival.
Director – Laura Clelland
As owner of Essential Crew, Queensland’s Crew Booking Agency, Laura champions the immense talent of our Australian crew to Australian and International Productions. Essential Screen Skills is an extension of her long term commitment to help nurture and grow the industry. Laura is a Queensland based Producer and Director, passionate about creating entertaining and engaging content. Having freelanced in production in Queensland for over two decades, her experience began at Network 10 and has since included work on national television commercials, online series, Australian / US television series and features. Her passion for crew and production is evident in her ownership of Essential Crew, Essential Screen Skills and guest lecturing (freelancing and the industry) at various universities and film schools including Bond University and Griffith Film School. This focus on helping emerging filmmakers is demonstrated by speaking engagements and moderating panels. Her role on the Screen and Digital Games Industry Advisory Group for Jobs Queensland further cemented her commitment to the industry. Laura was one of Screen Producers Australia ‘Ones to Watch’ Alumni (2018), selected by the Australian Directors Guild delegation (2019) and selected to pitch her project at MIPTV in Cannes (Kids Live Action Pitch 2019). Laura is actively creating and producing high quality Australian content right here in Queensland.
Project Manager – Moneth Montemayor
Moneth Montemayor is a passionate Arts Educator who firmly believes that a quality arts education will enable young people to develop skills in empathy, expression and understand themselves, others and the world around them. She has worked in the Department of Education (QLD) for more than 11 years as a teacher, year level coordinator, pedagogy coach, master teacher and Head of Department. As an advocate for arts education Moneth holds the positions of Co-Chair of the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM), Co-Chair Queensland Advocates for Arts Education (QAAE), President of ATOM Queensland and board member of the National Advocates for Arts education (NAAE) representing Media Education. She actively challenges and consults with key stakeholders and has contributed to ACARA Media Arts curriculum and QCAA Secondary Syllabus reviews. Moneth’s skills in pedagogy and curriculum has been utilised through the production of English, Drama, Media Arts and LGBTQIA+ education resources for organisations such as SBS Outreach/Learn, Matchbox Pictures, QCAA and QUT. As part of her practice she seeks and creates opportunities for teachers and students to bridge the gap between real world industry experiences within and beyond the curriculum.
Project Officer – Sheree Ramage
Sheree Ramage has 15 years of project management experience within the film industry, having worked on prestigious international and local events such as the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Edinburgh International Film Festival, London Film Festival and Brisbane International Film Festival. She has a passion for fostering opportunities that ignite and develop young people’s interest in film, having previously coordinated the Cine Sparks youth program and Queensland New Filmmakers Awards at BIFF, and securing the participation of Brisbane film students in the European Film Awards’ Young Audience Award. In 2021 she founded the Asia Pacific Young Audience Award, which screens three Asia Pacific films to a jury of young people aged 14-17. This gives them exposure to and space for discourse about international cinema, as well as creating industry connections and tertiary insights for future pathways in film. She recently produced the AWGIE and SPA-nominated short film When The Sky Was Blue (Rae Choi, Australia, 2021) and has been Chair of Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival.
Essential Screen Skills – Screen and Media Industry Advisory Board Members
The purpose of the Screen and Media Industry Advisory Board is to provide strategic direction and leadership to assist in bridging the gap between industry, schools, students and communities.
Members comprise a combination of Screen and Media Industry representatives and State and Non-State School representatives who have a desire to influence the future of educative learning and Industry skills development in Screen and Media in Queensland.
The Industry Advisory Board is an integral part of informing the direction of Essential Screen Skills by providing relevant, current advice and input to achieve the project outcomes.
Lynne Benzie has over 30 years in the film, television and entertainment industry. Her career started in the United Kingdom in Engineering, she then migrated to Australia where she developed a very diverse background in the Insurance, Finance, Legal, building and Information Technology industries, which led her to a position with EMI Records in promotion and marketing. Lynne joined Village Roadshow Studios in 1990 as Personal Assistant to the General Manager. After 5 years of being involved in the operations of the Studio she was promoted to Studio Manager, then to Vice President Studios Operations and in January 2008 was promoted to President of the Studios.
Lynne holds various board and committee memberships including Ausfilm Australia, Bond University – Film and TV advisory board, QUT – CI Faculty Advisory Committee, Jobs Queensland Advisory Committee, Gold Coast Film Festival and Screen Queensland.
Lauren is a Brisbane-based production manager/producer with over 7 years’ experience working in the industry. A Griffith Film School alumni and recipient of the 2017 Australians in Film Entertainment Internship, Lauren has worked on such films as the documentary Frackman (2015) and the award-winning Early Winter (2015). Joining Ludo Studio in 2017, Lauren has since worked on the multi-award-winning animated series, Bluey (2018), The Strange Chores (2019), and the AACTA winning online series Robbie Hood (2019). As part of the key creative team at Ludo Studio, Lauren continues to develop and produce original stories for Australia and the world.
As an owner and director of Cutting Edge, Michael has over thirty years experience in media and entertainment. His extensive knowledge of all aspects of broadcast, post production and production has seen the international success of Cutting Edge as a first class service provider. From network news and sport, to international feature film and television production, Michael’s leadership has seen Cutting Edge grow to become Australia’s largest post services providers locally and globally.
Karyn worked for a short time in a regional Queensland television station prior to working as a Media Arts and Film, Television and New Media (FTVNM) educator. She is currently a teacher who also works for Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) as an expert FTVNM and Media Arts Teacher Group Leader for FTVNM to provide professional development for teachers in 36 schools in the Brisbane Archdiocese. Karyn is contractually employed by the Queensland Curriculum Assessment Authority (QCAA) in several roles to support the implementation of the new Senior FTVNM Syllabus. She also holds a position on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and QCAA Prep to Year 10 Learning Area Reference Group. She works on a contractual basis as a curriculum writer for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, to design teacher toolkits. Karyn is a Vice-President and State Conference Convenor of ATOMQ.
With a penchant for finding irony in human stories, Dean Chircop is a writer and director known for his audience appealing stories. Dean has directed some of Queensland’s most successful short films including the Dendy Award nominated The Parlour starring Tiriel Mora (The Castle, Frontline) and Bloody Footy starring George Kapiniaris (Acropolis Now, Wogboy). Bloody Footy screened in competition at the prestigious Berlinale (Germany), Tribeca Film Festival (New York), Pacific Meridian Film Festival (Russia) as well as dozens of other local and international film festivals. Dean joined the Griffith Film School (GFS) in 2009 as a drama specialist and is the departmental Head of Directing and Program Director of the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production degree.
Greta is an experienced film educator who has taught in a variety of Queensland high schools across the state for the last 15 years and is currently based at Brisbane South State Secondary College. She is the Treasurer for Australian Teachers of Media Queensland and is passionate about advocating for media and film education across all educational contexts.
Aaron is an extremely highly regarded Actor, Producer, Writer and Director based in Cairns in Australia’s tropical north coast. He is one of Australia’s most recognised Indigenous (Torres Strait Islander) Actors and is increasingly in demand off-screen as a Producer.
Aaron is an established Television, Feature Film and Stage actor and is a four-time AACTA and Logie Award nominee for Male Actor of the Year for his performances in R.A.N. and EAST WEST 101. He is best known for his appearances in BLACK COMEDY, which was nominated for Most Outstanding Comedy Program at the 2015/2018 Logies. Aaron has also been active behind the camera writing and directing short films and TV Series since 2006. Aaron is an owner of Lonestar – a production company based in Cairns, Queensland.
Veronica Fury is an Executive Producer and Principal of WildBear Entertainment. Veronica has over 60 commissioned television and feature documentaries to her name. Prominent credits include TIFF selected Machete Maidens Unleashed! and AACTA award-nominated film Curse of the Gothic Symphony. In 2015 Electric Boogaloo premiered at London Film Festival and TIFF before being released by Warner Brothers. Her recent feature documentary Iron Fists and Kung-Fu Kicks was commissioned by Netflix and had a 2019 MIFF premiere and her latest feature, Brock: Over the Top was just released by Universal Pictures and ABC TV. Veronica’s recent television credits include Aussie Mega Mechanics and Demolition Down Under as well as Scottish Vets Down Under, currently screening on ABC iView.
Dean Gibson is an Aboriginal filmmaker with over 15 years’ experience in creating, writing, directing, editing and producing content. His work has screened on ABC3, ABC1, SBS and NITV and includes children’s television, documentary and drama.
In the documentary space, Dean recently delivered Incarceration Nation to NITV/SBS in which he is the Writer and Director. Incarceration Nation is a Feature Documentary focusing on the systemic racism of the justice system within Australia. The documentary has been shortlisted as a finalist for 2022 Walkley Awards.
Dean was also the writer and director of ‘Wik vs Queensland’ that world premiered at the 2018 Sydney International Film Festival. ‘Wik vs Queensland’ has since gone onto win the 2018 ATOM Award for Best History Documentary & Best Long Documentary at the 2018 First Nations Media Awards.
Dean also designed and oversaw a program for emerging Indigenous filmmakers in 2014 in collaboration with Screen Queensland and Screen Australia, called The Production Line, as part of his passion for helping others; particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals to gain opportunities in the industry.
Dean currently sits on the Board of Screen Queensland, the Board of Queensland Theatre and the newly established Griffith University Film School Advisory Board.
Aimee is an executive member of the Australian Teachers of Media Queensland, in which she helps organise learning and professional development experiences such as the European Film Awards and Young Audience Awards. Aimee is currently Head of Department of the Arts at Brisbane State High School, where Media Arts and Film, TV and New Media (FTVNM) are taught from years 7-12. She has significant involvement with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority in the Queensland Core Skills system and Queensland Certification of Education assessment quality assurance roles. Aimee is a co-author of the recently published textbook, Nelson’s FTVNM QCE Units 1-4, and sessionally lectures FTVNM curriculum students at several universities.
Ross holds the position of Manager, Industry Engagement in the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. Ross is extensively involved in the departmental engagement arrangements with industry to help employers, small business and other industry stakeholders provide information which can shape government decision making, including investment settings, program design and training product development.
A large portion of Ross’s time in the State Government has been in the vocational education and training (VET) sector where he has been actively involved in creating links between industry, schools and the training sector to develop effective pathways for students into employment. Ross was also a St Joseph’s Nudgee College Board member from 2015-2019 and represented Australia in Rugby Union from 1982-85.
Gabrielle is a producer, line producer and production supervisor who has delivered or supervised over 250 hours of scripted and unscripted content. She has worked on US feature films shooting in Queensland and in Queensland and Australia’s screen funding agencies across all areas of film and television – development, financing, production and business affairs. Her roles include Production Supervisor for Lifestyle, Food and Entertainment programs at SBS Australia and as the Production Business Supervisor at Beyond Productions for scripted and non-scripted productions including the Emmy Award winning Netflix series, Beat Bugs. She was the Supervising Producer based in Los Angeles for the 3D Netflix children’s animation series, Motown Magic and Supervising Producer for the Esports broadcast for Gfinity Australia. Gabrielle was the Film & Television Adviser for City of Gold Coast.
I am the Head of Department for Performing Arts at Bremer SHS and have been teaching Film, TV and Media for nearly 30 years. My love affair with film began when I was about 8 years old and my mother took me to see Fantasia. Other than my children, it has been the enduring love of my life. I am extremely privileged to be able share this joy with the students I teach every day and get paid for it.
Jessica is a Samoan-Australian Brisbane based producer working across both scripted and unscripted formats. Jessica graduated with a Diploma of Screen and Media in 2013 and since then has written, produced and directed her own short films and worked across countless long form factual series for International broadcast including four series of ‘Baby Animals’ for DRG and ‘You’re Called What?’ for Discovery Kids. In 2018 Jessica launched Purple Carrot Entertainment and produced short documentary “FEZ” for ABC Arts. She is currently working at Ludo Studio as their Office Manager assisting them across their large slate of scripted projects.
Mark has over 25 years’ experience in entertainment and sports operations management. Most recently as Festival Director of Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in The Hollywood of the Outback, Winton (Outback Queensland), he grew attendance by 311% over his nine years and implemented education pathways in partnership with Griffith Film School while leading the major event. Mark’s other executive positions have included Operations Manager for the 2021 Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) and 15 years at Queensland Rugby where he was Head of Operations for eight years following other senior roles. As a long-time Director of his firm MDM Consulting Group, some of Mark’s high-profile clients were major radio and television network Southern Cross Austero, Queensland Cricket and community broadcaster Briz 31.
Trevor has over a decade of experience teaching Media Arts and Senior Film, Television and New Media at a number of high schools in Queensland. He is currently teaching and co-ordinating Senior FTV & NM at Indooroopilly State High School along with teaching Media Arts to Juniors. Trevor has been involved with quality assurance systems for the QCAA as a member of the South Brisbane District Review Panel for Senior Film, Television and New Media.
Dr Darren Paul Fisher
Darren Paul Fisher is an international award-winning screenwriter, producer and director and Head of Film, Screen and Creative Media at Bond University, Australia. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Screen Queensland/Australians in Film Greg Coote Scholarship, awarded to screen practitioners with a successful track record of creating compelling drama for the screen.
Darren wrote, produced and directed the hit sci-fi mystery feature Frequencies, which won a multitude of festival awards before a global release to rave reviews, including those in The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter.
Darren works across both film and television, and is currently developing a television series with TAP/NBCUniversal. Feature film projects include creature-feature horror-comedy Claws for Todd Fellman/Story Bridge Films.
Darren made his debut writing and directing the British teen comedy Inbetweeners for Universal. He holds a PhD in mainstream narrative feature filmmaking, and is currently completing a book on screen storytelling entitled Film As Argument, due for publication later this year.
With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Andrew is seen by many as an experienced and trusted mentor. He has been instrumental in shaping the careers of some of Australia’s top producers and directors and has been the driving force behind multiple award-winning, multinational campaigns. Andrew has spearheaded Taxi Film Production from its humble beginnings in 2001 to the dynamic powerhouse that it is today. Through his forward-thinking and creative approach, Andrew has grown flagship brand Taxi to encompass an assortment of enterprises fit for today’s dynamically evolving landscape. Officially penned in 2018, The Taxi Group encompasses Taxi Film Production, Traffic Film and Video, Tasty Pictures, Welcome Fiji, Changer and Born and Bred Talent.
Essential Crew has solidiﬁed its place as the leading expert for crew in Queensland’s Screen and Media Industry. As a crew booking agency, we provide Companies, Producers, Productions, Heads of Department, Agencies, Brands, Studios and Post Production Companies with the most eﬀective, professional solution to ﬁnding available and experienced crew. Founded by two experienced Production Managers in 2003, Essential Crew has run under the direction of Laura Clelland since 2006.
Currently representing over 230 freelance crew, Essential Crew aims to constantly evolve to meet the needs and expectations of Australia’s expanding Screen and Media Industry. Essential Crew’s focus is on continuing to assist crew to secure work and achieve their career goals, ensuring productions ﬁlming in Australia always have access to experienced and enthusiastic crew. As an added service to the Industry, we launched our Essential Crew Training Courses and Emerging Crew Program in 2014 and 2015, to educate and nurture the emerging sector, arming new ﬁlmmakers and emerging crew with the vital information, real world view and ‘know how’ they need to begin and maintain careers. In 2020, Essential Crew proudly embarked on delivering the Screen and Media Gateway to Industry School Program.