Events » Business Essentials - Sydney

Two-Day Business Essentials Workshop

SPA's Business Essentials workshop returns to Sydney in 2017 on June 22 and 23 at AFTRS.

SPA Business Essentials is presented in association with AFTRS and covers the commercial framework in which producers must operate. The course is designed to provide you with the essential information to start, develop, and grow a film and television business.

The two-day workshop includes the following modules:

Legal Business Essentials 

  • Copyright and Purchasing rights for program exploitation
  • Chain of Title
  • Fair Use
  • Rights covered by industry agreements
  • Music rights
  • Value of intellectual property
  • Rights negotiation
  • Production contracts, financing contracts
  • Distribution and licensing agreements
  • Location agreements and product clearances 

Accounting Business Essentials

  • Legal structure of business
  • Legal structure of production
  • Tax structures
  • Tax Incentives and Concessions
  • Business Planning
  • Finance & Cash Flow issues of projects 

Employment Business Essentials

  • Fair Work Act
  • Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award
  • Negotiated Film and Television Industry Employment Agreements
  • Employee vs Contractor
  • Cast agreements, crew agreements 

Project Financial Management Business Essentials

  • Budget management
  • Cost Reports
  • Completion bonds
  • Production Investment Agreements
  • Tax Offset borrowing
  • Payroll tax
  • Cashflow
  • Fringes
  • Accounting systems

Industry Environment Business Essentials

  • Vital market statistics
  • Program popularity
  • Trends in spending and audience
  • Government regulation and assistance



DATE: Thursday June 22 and Friday June 23, 2017

TIME: 9.00am to 5.00pm
VENUE: AFTRS Building 130, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park NSW
INCLUDES: Afternoon Tea
PARKING: Parking is available at the Entertainment Quarter carpark. Reduced rates are available if you validate your ticket with AFTRS reception.


SPA Members: $350.00  |  Guild & Early Bird Discount (10%): $405.00  |  Full Price: $450


To receive the SPA members special discount, select ENROL on the AFTRS booking page, and choose SPA member registrant type.

Presented by Screen Producers Australia and the Australian Film Television and Radio School.


For lawyers attending the Business Essentials Workshop:
Seminars and other CPD activities are not accredited by The Law Society of New South Wales. Under the CPD Rules, if SPA’s Business Essentials Workshop is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law, then you should claim one “unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.


John Myers is the Regional Manager, Growth (NSW & ACT) for Media Super, the industry super fund for print, media, entertainment and arts professionals. John has been part of the Media Super team for the last 10 years, after working in numerous senior roles in the superannuation and greater financial services industry. He is a true believer in “super for life”.

Jonathon Venables is a Business Development Manager with Media Super, the industry super fund for print, media, entertainment and arts professionals. He has more than 11 years’ experience in financial services, joining Media Super in 2016 after working at ING Direct Australia and BT Financial Group. Jonathon takes great pride in helping members make the most of their superannuation and retirement.

A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, Tessa Mills joined the Australian Federal Government’s content funding agency Screen Australia in 2009, less than a year after it was created. She has held several roles including as Senior Manager of Program Operations (2014-2017), which is the department charged with fielding every incoming funding application and industry enquiry. During her time in Program Operations, Tessa oversaw over 5000 applications, directly working with a large proportion of the local screen industry.

In February 2017, Tessa became the Senior Manager of Policy and Research, overseeing the production of some of the industry’s most valued resources including the annual Drama Report and the Fact Finders section of the Screen Australia website. The Policy and Research Department are responsible for several milestone reports expected this year, including the Gender Matters first anniversary update and the Producer Offset Ten Years On study.

With numerous award winning credits to her name, Lisa Duff’s career spans over 15 years.  She was producer of the critically acclaimed documentary Sexing the Label, an insight into gender labelling in Sydney’s queer community. It received awards at both the Film De Femme in France and the Columbus Film Festival in Chicago and was released theatrically in Australia. Lisa has also produced a number of dramas and documentaries with Indigenous Directors including drama Road for Australian broadcaster SBS and Leah Purcell’s short drama Aunty Maggie & The Womba Wakgun for the ABC’s series The New Black. She also produced Nin’s Brother a documentary unravelling a family mystery and the repatriation of the remains of a Wiradjuri man shot by police in South Australia in 1960.

Andrea is an award winning documentary filmmaker who has been working across a broad range of factual programs in film, TV, digital and radio for 28 years — initially as a television and radio news reporter, news reader, TV presenter, director, creative producer, post producer, consultant executive producer for domestic and international broadcasters including ABC, SBS, Nine Network, Network Ten, Arte, BBC, National Geographic, UKTV, Discovery, S4C WALES and CBC Canada. Her credits include Life at 5, Outback House, Nerves Of Steel, The Floating Brothel, Rodney’s Robot Revolution, Class of 2011, Deserts, Australia’s Got Talent, Hello Birdy, Who Do You Think You Are (SBS) and Miracle Hospital for National Geographic.

Nick is an intellectual property and commercial lawyer. He has extensive experience in the media and entertainment industries with a particular specialisation in film and television. He also advises clients generally in relation to commercial matters and intellectual property.

He is also a Producer at Talk Films, a small independent film and television production company.

Chris has been in the film industry for almost 30 years and has audited over $3b worth of film and TV production from small documentaries to large international features and co-productions.

With a vast experience in production audits, Chris is aware of what is allowable and what not when it comes to claiming the various government rebates both state and federal.

Owen Johnston has worked for Screen Producers Australia for over a decade in both policy and industrial relations. Owen has produced feature films, documentaries, television drama, and commercials and is a former Director of Film Development and Marketing at the Australian Film Commission.

Mark Donaldson is our Manager, Business & Legal Affairs. Mark provides legal and research support, and assists in the development of policy campaigns and the negotiation of industrial and commercial agreements.