Emerging Screenwriters Given Opportunity to Work on ‘NCIS: Sydney’

NCIS: Sydney, shot of Sydney skyline
Courtesy of Screen Australia

“NCIS: Sydney” has created a Script Department Program, which will offer up to five early-mid career screenwriters the opportunity to work on the program.

The program is a partnership between Screen Australia, Paramount Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), CBS Studios, EndemolShine Australia (A Banijay company) and the Australian Writers’ Guild. It is being billed as an “Aussiewood meets Hollywood initiative” which will provide Australian screenwriters with high-level training to further strengthen their career trajectory in scripted episodic storytelling.

The writers who are placed in the program will be offered 10 weeks paid work and go through all facets of the script development process, rotating through all rolse that make up a complete script department. They will work with senior script co-ordinators, writers and editors who will guide the process.

Applications are open now and close on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Applicatons will be considered and reviewed by CBS Studios, Endemol Shine Australia, Screen Australia and industry specialists. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, Oct. 28.

Grainne Brunsdon, Screen Australia’s head of content, said this is an exceptional chance for local creatives to upskill and position themselves for global success.

“We’re thrilled to facilitate this program which will enable early to mid-career writers to completely immerse themselves and learn in a writer’s room of an established world-leading franchise, here in Australia,” she said.

“In an increasingly competitive global entertainment landscape, this insight and experience is invaluable. We’re pleased to be working with partners Paramount ANZ, CBS Studios and ESA who share our passion for creating career pathways in the local sector.”

Beverley McGarvey, executive VP and chief content officer of Paramount ANZ, said: “We are so pleased that the first international series of the iconic “NCIS” franchise will be shot here in Australia. “NCIS: Sydney” comes with many fantastic opportunities for local actors, production crew and writers, to be part of such a legacy franchise, and now with the NCIS: Sydney S1 Script Department Program, there is even more scope for Aussie writers and creatives to learn, grow and contribute on a global scale.”

Peter Newman, CEO of Endemol Shine Australia, said the company can’t wait for “NCIS: Sydney” to showcase Australian storytelling on an international stage.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Screen Australia for this very important writers’ initiative on “NCIS: Sydney”, the first international iteration of this iconic franchise. We are proud to champion local emerging creative talent and look forward to seeing them thrive, learning alongside a number of Australia’s most experienced screenwriters to deliver an incredible series for Paramount Plus. ”

The local “NCIS” spin-off was announced in February, and is the first international iteration of the long-running program.

It will launch exclusively on Paramount Plus and Network 10 in Australia next year, before debuting internationally.

The original “NCIS” is a spin-off from “JAG”, and has run for over 400 episodes since its premiere in 2003. It’s already been spun-off into “NCIS: Los Angeles”, “NCIS: New Orleans” and “NCIS: Hawai’i”.

“NCIS: Sydney” will feature local stories and creative talent, Paramount Plus said, including the Australian creator of “NCIS: Los Angeles”, Shane Brennan. It’s unclear, however, how the show’s plot will play out in Australia, given the show revolves around fictional stories from real-life US agency, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS).

The NCIS’ primary function is to investigate criminal activities involving the US Navy and Marine Corps. It’s also charged with protecting US naval assets worldwide via a broader mandate of national security, counterintelligence, counter-terrorism and cyber warfare. The real NCIS does have a Global Operations Directorate which runs worldwide operations around espionage, counterintelligence, economic crimes, forensic services and technical surveillance, however its APAC operations are headquartered in Singapore.