Leadership and Learning

“Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other”. President John F Kennedy.


As I revisit a teaching role with the Australian Film, Television and Radio School I consider I may be learning more than I lead.

I have a long relationship with the AFTRS believing that as leaders it is a privilege maybe even a duty to give something back, pass on the experience and expertise gained over the years and hopefully encourage budding creatives in their chosen field. So after a long absence I have returned. The course I’m running was devised by Vikki Madden and developed by Alexa Wyatt . Their notes and weekly assignment tasks and topics have at times challenged me. Too often as creatives we dismiss the dissection of our art, we take umbrage at the “how to” books and seminars, passing it off as teaching us how to suck eggs. And yet it is acknowledged that innate talent is not always successful with out craft. And craft can be taught. I find teaching craft exciting. In order to answer the students’ questions and give objective feedback to their assignments I must do the exercises myself. Processes I do daily, almost on automatic pilot I now had to break down, label and to justify the elements of the various drama series set as viewing assignments. So how did these processes become almost automatic? I was taught. My fellow creatives may not have used words like ethos when developing the dramatic world of the project or described a character as a Vulnerable Vixen or even as the protagonist or antagonist but at every story table, script meeting, rehearsal and in every edit suite the craft of story telling is learned.

In my career as a Showrunner, I am a leader. I guide people through the creative process from the inception of an idea to the visual representation on the screen, and I often have to make unpopular decisions. I base the guidance and decision making on the learning I have accumulated over the years.

Therefore I agree with the words of President Kennedy, leadership and learning are indispensable.

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