‘It’s been amazing to have that insight’: Lâle Teoman on getting a foothold at Goalpost

Lâle Teoman. (Image: Sally Flegg)

By her own admission, Lâle Teoman tends to write “quite ambitiously”.

Given she has a television series, feature film, and novel in the pipeline, all while completing a 12-month placement at Goalpost Pictures, you would hasten to agree with her.

The Sydney-based creative was selected to join the production company as the NSW recipient of the inaugural SBS Emerging Writers Incubator, coming under the guidance of founding partners Rosemary Blight and Kylie Du Fresne.

Her contributions have so far included being part of the script department for Stan’s mystery series Black Snow, for which she worked on location in North Queensland across five weeks alongside creator Lucas Taylor and producers Blight and Kaylene Butler.

She will continue to be involved in post-production via placement with Screen NSW to be undertaken following her time at Goalpost.

Teoman told IF she had been able to take a “deep dive” into the development process at Goalpost through participating in writers’ rooms and meeting with other writers, directors, broadcasters, and agents, adding the appointment of Polly Rowe as development producer in May meant her placement coincided with an “interesting time” at the company.

“I’ve been getting a really hands-on experience and exposure to the development process,” she said.

“I’m really excited Polly Rowe has started because we really hit it off and I travelled down to MIFF with her to attend 37ºSouth for Goalpost.

“It was really interesting to be on the other side and receive all the different pitches from the other writers and producers.”

Teoman hopes to use the experience in progressing her own work, which encompasses a mix of genres.

Her focus at the moment is an offbeat mystery thriller television series that she hopes to finish before her time at Goalpost comes to an end in December, but there is also a dystopian gothic romance feature script, and a surreal coming-of-age novel inspired by beat generation writers.

Other potential projects include dark comedy play that she is considering adapting into a feature film or television series, as well as a potential long-form version of her web series Black Tulip, for which she was awarded the 2019 Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Award.

“I’m trying to generate a lot and hope that one of them grows legs,” Teoman said.

Despite having always written — Teoman began writing a novel at 15 and completed a feature film script at 22 — telling stories has not always been her primary focus in the industry.

She has also acted in miniseries Lessons from the Grave and Let’s Talk About, along with shorts What Remains and Libby.

Teoman, who is half-Turkish, said the journey she took as an actor led her to take writing more seriously.

“Diversity wasn’t always a hot thing, so I found that as an actor, while there were some roles here and there, the ones that were available for people of a different ethnic background were quite stereotypical in my mind and I just didn’t fit into them,” she said.

“So I thought, ‘I’ll just write my own’, and then I realised I was way more suited to the writing than I was the acting because I am quite an introverted person.”

Teoman admitted it had been “a long time coming” to be able to gain momentum in the field but was philosophical about being classified as “emerging”.

“On the one hand, I’ve been writing since I was young, but on the other hand I think it’s one thing to write in isolation and another to be part of the great spider web of an industry that we have,” she said.

“Now that I have been working right in the centre of things with Goalpost, I’m seeing all that is underneath, whereas I was at the tip of the iceberg before.

“But I guess emerging is just when you are able to connect with others in what you are doing; you can be doing something but you don’t really emerge from that unless you are connecting with others that are doing the same thing.”