Nick Barkla is an independent actor/writer/director/producer with over fifteen years’ experience in the screen industry.

Nick Barkla headshot

Nick's project

Nick will research the lives and experiences of youth involved in Melbourne’s justice system to develop a feature film screenplay treatment and a proof of concept teaser film. The six-month project will see Nick collaborating with young at-risk people involved in the justice system as well as youth workers, social workers, health workers, parents and carers. Nick will bring a group of young people with no acting experience together with professional actors for a series of performance workshops that will experiment with improvisation and self-devised dialogue as Nick investigates the best way to direct untrained performers. The learnings of the project will be documented as a case study and through a short documentary.

What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
Being awarded a Creators Fund grant enables me to expand my artistic process with the time and resources to really experiment and explore improvisation techniques and different ways of working with non-actors. It's a tremendous opportunity to break some new ground for me personally and professionally.

How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?
Having enough time to properly explore a rehearsal and performance process is crucial to the success of this project. The film industry is typically results driven, but the 'time' component of a project is mostly driven by the budget, and often negatively affects the end result. The Creators Fund enables me to have more time than usual in rehearsal and performance, and I'm therefore aiming for work that is deeper and richer than the norm.

What's the first thing you did when you found out you were awarded a Creator's Fund grant?
The first thing I did was grab my diary and start mapping out when I would be able to get to work on the various stages of the project.

What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?
Finding my cast and empowering them to tell their own stories through film and performance.

Where would you like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
By the end of the process, I'd like to see myself having empowered young people to express themselves dramatically, and to have helped them cause breakthroughs personally and professionally in the world of film/entertainment. I've always been passionate about dramatic forms of storytelling, whether it's through documentary or drama, but it's exciting to finally be creating something with a cast where we'll be shaping the narrative as we go, rather than filming events as they unfold. I think the skills and experience I'll gain with this project can only further my directing career, and hopefully lead to more exciting work in the future.