Dustin Clare fighting for local content

It’s not uncommon for actors to moonlight as waiters or work in call centres in between jobs.

Not so Glitch‘s Dustin Clare who has taken a different approach, running his own film production, distribution and sales company, Fighting Chance Films.

For Clare, whose credits include Spartacus, Tidelands, Satisfaction and Pacific Rim: Uprising, the finance side of storytelling, complements his creative side.

“They are all very interconnected,” he tells TV Tonight.

“I produced a documentary The Meaning of Van Life which is about people living out of vans and the freedom of the movement.

“And Sunday sold to 9GEM, Stan, Rialto TV, Maori Channel, Sundance in Europe.”

Fighting Chance Films now represents over 30 indie films and is growing. Clare is also active on committees for the Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance and is Chair of the non-profit Screenworks collective in Northern Rivers.

Gaining an insight into the business cycle has made him vigilant in the campaign to require minimum local quotas of Streaming platforms in Australia.

“There are a lot of profits going off-shore.”

“There are a lot of profits going off-shore. So what we want to see is a percentage of revenue staying in Australia, contributing to new content. And licensing pre-existing content,” he explains.

“We want to see a 10% quota on streaming services which operate in this territory.

“I think it’s a very low base. Europe has 30% minimums on platforms.”

Indeed, his  productions Tidelands and Wolf Creek have all screened on Streaming platforms. However Glitch is premiering its third and final season on ABC ahead of a Netflix playout.

In Glitch he plays Noregard Head of Security, Mark Clayton-Stone, an ex-military who served in Afghanistan, but suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“His job is to round up every single one of the risen”

“His job is to round up every single one of the risen,” he continues.

“The task is a lot harder than expected because some of them have powers and strength. So it adds to the difficulty of capturing them all. But it all builds to a big showdown.

“The reason I wanted to be a part of it was I felt strongly that I wanted to work with Emma (Freeman, director) again. I think she’s a really talented director and I don’t think she’ll stay in Australia on a long-term basis.

“She’s quite a find.”

“That was a job on a big scale with big production values.”

Clare is also recognisable to audiences after starring in the NZ-produced Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.

“That was a job on a big scale with big production values. Having the ability to build those kind of sets with that many extras in an arena was a big beast. This is much more personal and not so structured in terms of hierarchy. So you move quicker on smaller ones.

“It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot,” he adds.

Yet he also finds time for Comedy, having recently appeared in ABC’s Rosehaven.

“Luke (McGregor) and Celia (Pacquola) were great to work with and Andy Walker who produced Satisfaction is a really fine producer.

“There’s no serious, no angst. It was just a lot of laughs.”

“Once you have started making your own content… you understand the necessity of financing”

Thanks to roles both on camera and behind it, Clare now has a more wholistic perspective to industry. But passion and storytelling remain central, now with a fighting chance for Australian production.

“Once you have started making your own content, telling stories and releasing others you understand the necessity of financing and how hard it has become in the current circumstances. Streaming has some fantastic opportunities but there is a pushing down on what the content is being made for. That has an affect on wages and conditions industry-wide,” he insists.

“We can be welcoming but we also have to be careful not to give away the bare minimums we have fought for over many years: actors, directors, writers.

“All we’re saying is we want to make sure there is some money going back into Australian productions.”

Glitch airs 9:30pm Sundays on ABC.

3 Comments:

  1. There should be no forced Australian quotas at all, especially older content, I’m tired of the local industry expecting to be constantly subsidised. We are finally getting access to a good variety of new content thanks to original TV productions from streaming services.

  2. From Dustin’s point of view I can understand his desire to protect the Australian independent film makers but the global streamers are absorbing a lot of movie / TV production capacity worldwide and Australia should share an increased part of it just as Europe and Asia are doing right now, but not solely by government regulation but by investment, including film tax credits. Making productions with limited audience appeal will always have some niche marketing value but also limited profits.

  3. The quotas should have nothing to do with re-licensing Australian content and should explicitly relate to producing Australian content.

    A relicense quota would just go to the distributors with the biggest Australian catalogues being Shine Endemol and Fremantle with all profits going overseas and very little by the way of royalties flowing back to Australian creatives.

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