Nicole Dade ponders the post-pandemic future of story telling

Nicole Dade and Leah Purcell.

As a development producer, writer, script editor and assessor, Nicole Dade is pondering the future of storytelling once the pandemic has passed.

Among the questions she is mulling over: What stories do we want to tell when we have no idea what we or the world will look like?

How will stories resonate with the themes that the world is facing now? How can those themes be embedded in existing work or in creating new work? Is there still a place for feature length drama?

While she doesn’t pretend to have the answers, she is gratified to see Screen Australia and state agencies divert more funding for development.

“While there is opportunity, it is still extraordinarily competitive,” Dade, who spent four years as a development executive at Screen Australia, tells IF. “It is a time to be bold and brave about the stories we now tell.”

Dade is starting to address some of those themes in projects in which she is collaborating. One is a feature she is co-writing with Kiah Roache-Turner about first-responder paramedics.

She sees some similarities with Kiah’s Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead in that both deal with protection, family, love and loss. “We are looking at ways to shift the story to suggest a post-COVID world,” she says.

Another is Monster Face, a horror movie from writer-director Leonie Savvides, which Nicole is script editing. Developed with support from Screen Australia, the plot follows two young women whose pre-occupation with their images leads them into dark and strange territory.

The opening scene is set in a heaving, sweaty, crammed nightclub, innocuous enough in the pre-pandemic era, which can now be imbued with foreboding.

After script editing Leah Purcell’s revenge Western The Drover’s Wife the Legend of Molly Johnson, she is continuing to collaborate with Purcell on a TV series spin-off, which would look at Molly’s life and death through the eyes of her children.

Among the other projects she is developing is Family Happiness, a TV series backed by Create NSW’s She Directs development initiative and Dame Changer’s accelerator program Mentor To Market.

Jasmin Tarasin is attached to direct the mystery-drama scripted by Dade, set in a seemingly idyllic rural community, to be produced by Linda Micsko for Photoplay Films, for which Nicole works as a development producer.

Another is Stuck, a TV drama based on the real-life experiences of men or women who leave their partners, abduct their children and move overseas.