Madeleine Ruskin and Gina Song.

Production assistant Gina Song and script editor Madeleine Ruskin are the recipients of this year’s Victorian Screen Development Internships, with the pair to complete paid placements at Paramount Australia and New Zealand, Blackfella Films, and Fremantle Australia across the next 12 months.

An initiative of VicScreen, the internship program is designed to create pathways into the screen industry for Victorian creatives from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, First Peoples of Australia, and people who are gender diverse or living with a disability.

Starting this week, Song and Ruskin will gain first-hand experience across the entire process of developing content, from sitting in on a writers’ room, to assessing scripts and funding applications and working with principal producers at production and distribution companies.

Song, whose work has been featured in The New York Times and SBS Voices, described the internship as the “perfect masterclass” to hone the skills needed to achieve her dream of being a screenwriter and producer.

“I’m just getting started in my journey, so there’s been a lot of ups and downs,” she said.

“Breaking into the industry can often feel difficult, so I’ve been lucky to have been a part of a lot of student arts events that introduced me to great collaborators and mentors. Student and community arts gave me such a solid starting point and I’m looking forward to learning more in these next twelve months.

“I’d also love to take the knowledge I’m gaining here to give back to the student art spaces that helped me, whether that’s in providing script notes, looking over a budget, or maybe even one day helping a story go into production.”

Ruskin, who previously worked as a Scripted Coordinator for SBS and in script development for Such Much Films, said she aimed to use her internship as a gateway to make it easier for other disabled and chronically ill people to be a part of the industry.

“I fell in love with the screen industry when I was diagnosed with the first of several chronic illnesses as an adolescent,” she said.

“I found comfort in the magic of stories on screen, which helped me to travel to far off places and distract myself from the loneliness of being disabled and chronically ill.

“Since then, I have been determined to work in the screen industry and to be a part of creating stories that make such a difference to other people’s lives, as it had for me.”

This will be the third year of the internship program, which counts Nikki Tran, Davey Thompson, Ravi Chand, and AP Pobjoy as alumni.

VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher congratulated this year’s recipients and looked forward to helping them “hone their talent”.

The Victorian Screen Development Internships have proven to accelerate participants’ careers, and we are proud to continue to see alumni take strides in the industry.”

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