Armidale startup Omelia recently received a $388,000 Accelerating Commercialisation grant to build their storytelling software for the film industry.
Film-making margins are getting squeezed
Profits in the film industry have dropped 8% annually the past five years. While the trend is improving, profit is expected to be flat for the foreseeable future.
The golden age of TV and streaming is not only keeping people at home. It is also driving demand for longer story arcs with complex characters that unfold over time. Downward pressure on box office revenue will drive film studios to generate more consistent returns, through safe films such as blockbusters and franchises.
As film makers need to continually create content in an environment of declining revenue, reducing costs will be an important consideration for producers.
A new tool to save time and cost
Writers’ rooms still use whiteboards and 3×5 cards to sequence plot and characters. Omelia’s trial customers told us that Post-It notes are the most disruptive thing that has been introduced to scriptwriting in 50 years. An inefficient writing process means this part of the value chain is ripe for disruption.
Omelia software replaces pen and paper with drag and drop dashboards that enable writers to create dynamic storytelling arcs.
Kate Armstong-Smith, co-founder and CEO at Omelia, said, “Omelia gives the writers’ room the capability to make changes to one element of a story and immediately view how that impacts the rest of the story universe.”
Joe Couch, co-founder and CTO, added, “We have taken the traditional A to Z script and re-imagined it as a multi-interface digital platform.”
Support from a big addressable market
The addressable market is up to $2 billion per year, confirmed by Aliavia, a California venture capital fund and one of Omelia’s investors.
Since 2019, the team has built a strong following in the industry. The minimum viable product was successfully tested in a production at the Sydney Opera House, R&J Remix. In this production, Omelia was used with the classic story of Shakespeare’s doomed lovers. The audience was able to reshape relationships between characters, creating a new story.
Pilots confirming the value of the prototype are being developed with anchor customers in Australia and the U.S. Investors and trial partners repeatedly told us that Omelia is “building a solution from the problem first”, which is a key reason for industry support.
The Accelerating Commercialisation grant will not only fast-track Omelia’s first-mover advantage but also generate export revenue from the team’s headquarters in regional New South Wales.