Screen Producers Australia is striving to simplify the often cumbersome process of arranging contracts for screen productions.

The initiative is being driven by Mark Donaldson, who joined SPA as manager, business and legal affairs, in February from Screen West.

“We hope to make the contracting process less of a burden for producers so they can focus more on the creative side," said Donaldson, who spent more than three years as head of business affairs at Screen West where he was involved in contracting features, TV dramas and documentaries and setting up funding initiatives.

“Contracting can be extremely complex because so many investors, financers and other stakeholders are involved.”

SPA intends to develop a range of boilerplate agreements that are not covered by existing industrial agreements.

Donaldson provides advice to producers on matters such as pay rates, annual leave and artists’ rights covered by the industrial agreements negotiated by SPA.

Also he is working with SPA’s commercial and industrial affairs manager Owen Johnston on negotiating four key agreements: the Motion Picture Production Agreement and the Australian Television Repeats and Residuals Agreement (which was last renewed in 2004 and is outdated) with the MEAA; and agreements covering series and serials and miniseries and telemovies with the Australian Writers’ Guild.

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