Alan Bateman told Barbara Hooks of 'The Age' in 1989, "When I joined (channel) Nine, part of the attraction was that I was given a green light to establish a proper drama unit as opposed to just having an executive in charge of drama. We will make our own material, but we will also take a far more supportive role with independent production. We will guide the script development. I will assist in putting the deals together and it will be a collaborative effort. I want to be involved from concept stage right through. But you need a structure under you to do that. You can’t do all that by yourself."
"Some screenplays are written 2 weeks before we start pre-production," Terry Hayes told Anne Thompson of 'Chicago Tribune' in 1988. "George (Miller) and I will bat the story back and forth with the writers and the directors for days and weeks and months until everybody can tell the story to each other thoughtlessly. It's easier to unravel something if it's not written down.
"At the end of every day you honestly can't tell who is the author of what idea. After we all agree on the story, the writers take a couple of weeks to churn the stuff out while the director gets on with casting. When the screenplays come in, they're really 10th drafts. Everyone sits down and reads the others' work. The writer doesn't feel so incredibly responsible, like he has to defend everything."
"It's idea-driven," George Miller elaborated. "You can't do it with everybody. We did 'Thunderdome' (1985) entirely our way. I did it on the 'Twilight Zone' movie (1983), and it was wonderful. I started to do it with 'The Witches of Eastwick,' (1987) which was the worst mistake I made. It was such a delicate, ironic comedy of manners, that when it became a major studio feature, it evaporated very quickly."
George Miller believed 'The Witches of Eastwick' was a "disaster" because "the budget was obscenely large. I stopped counting after $30 million, after so many silly mistakes; each one cost more than the budget for the original 'Mad Max' (1979). I knew when I made 'Witches' why America lost the Vietnam War: patrols of 10 people went off in 10 different directions. I tried to use collaborative methodology, when my real job was to be a traditionally autocratic film director. The more badly I behaved the more I was rewarded. Jon Peters or Warner Bros. studio execs can't do it. You have to pick people with like minds. It's important to be honest enough to say when an idea really stinks."
Terry Hayes maintained, "You must have the producers involved because many brilliant ideas are too expensive to be implemented. This way you don't have producers and directors going toe-to-toe over budget. It's very difficult to do in the studio structure because too many people have a vested interest in the power structure that exists. We're telling writers, directors and actors that we have to take responsibility for creating an environment in which all that matters is the ideas."
Back in 1988, Rowena Wallace played Elaine Seymour in the Nine network drama, 'All The Way'. She told Kelly Bourne of 'TV Week', "She (Elaine) married a solicitor who went into politics, provides her with a lovely life and lovely clothes and she doesn't really think much about anything of it until she falls in love with Michael O'Brien, a leader of the transport union."
Growing up, Rowena revealed, "I remember as a teenager not thinking the time was that unusual, but it must have been quite terrifying for my parents. I had a very sheltered childhood. I am an only child and I wasn't really mixing with a peer group. I spent most of my teenage years on my own until I joined a theater group and discovered there were people as weird as I was out there. I grew up in Queensland and later in Sydney.
"When you are a kid you don't think about the time you are living in. It's only as you grow older you begin to make comparisons – that's why it's been so interesting to look back on those events. I now (in 1988) have opinions about it all that were unformed then. I didn’t think of the Beatles as an amazing group that was going to change the face of music. I didn’t think I was participating in an era (on 'All The Way') that was going to go down in history as one of the most extraordinary times."
Rowena rose to TV stardom playing Patricia on 'Sons and Daughters' between 1982 and 1985. When Rowena was offered the part at the end of 1981, it was reported, "Rowena has a premonition the character would one day become the J.R. of Australian television. She is also convinced the show was meant to be." Rowena made known to Christine Richter of 'Woman's Day' in 1983, "I'm often described as a strong lady but I never used to be. The last few years haven't been easy for me personally – I've gone through a lot of ups and downs.
"I think working through that and then having this character to play has brought out elements in me that were previously dormant. I have noticed the changes in myself. I was always rather shy and retiring but we don’t know our strengths until they’re put to the test. I've taken courage from Patricia – she borrows from me and I think I've probably borrowed from her. What happened I guess is that the excess of the character has made me much more confident as an actor and as a person."
As Patricia Hamilton, "They really want her to get her comeuppance but I reckon they would be disappointed if she did because they'd have nothing to look forward to … Certainly for the convention of a continuing serial the character's working very well. I enjoy tossing ideas and opinions around with other people. I know I have a problem in that I tend to get a little bombastic and domineering and a little loud mouthed about what I think. If I feel strongly about something then I'm quite vocal."
In the 1990s, Rowena could be seen on 'Pacific Drive', produced by Village Roadshow and New World Entertainment for the Nine network. Inspired by 'Melrose Place', some 390 episodes were made and originally shown on Australian television in 1996 and 1997. Production of the series started in September 1995. Producer Bruce Best explained, "It's probably 'Melrose' crossed with something. The physical production itself is definitely groundbreaking. It's not vulgar, there's no gratuitous sex, but you see enough bodies to make it interesting. Let's face it, you don't need a PhD to watch it, but it's good fun none the less."
Also starring Danielle Spencer, Libby Tanner and Kate Raison (who played Sheridan Sturgess on 'E Street' during the 'Mr Bad' years, 1991-92) the 5-day-a-week 30-minute drama, 'Pacific Drive' was described as "more a lifestyle than a street, Pacific Drive is Australia's best address: heaven on earth. A vibrant city pulsating with you, glamor and intrigue. This is the place where the rich and the beautiful come to live, work and play: where dreams merge with reality and where sun, sand, surf make the ultimate backdrop to ambition and obsession."
Jacqueline Lee Lewes reported in May 1989, Forrest Redlich of Westside Television Productions flew to New York for 7 days with "(channel) Ten's (then) personable new American boss" Bob Shanks to work on "the bible" (some 10 weeks worth of storylines) for the series 'E Street'. 'E Street' was about inner city life. Bob explained, "The chief thing is to concentrate on our core characters, the stars of the program, not the guest stars. That's the direction we're taking. Each core character now will have a much more important storyline in terms of volume and I hope in terms of audience interest. They were becoming more peripheral as the guest star became the star each week. Which is OK, but it wasn't working. And stories won't be so dark, so gloomy all the time."
Bruce Best described 'E Street', "We wanted to make it very non-specific as to where it is set. We never actually show the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House or Centrepoint. We like to think that it could be part of Port Melbourne, for example. Hopefully viewers will be able to relate to it wherever they are." Forrest Redlich added, "It's blue collar drama. We’re trying to create a real community."
Kris Noble was co-executive producer of 'Pacific Drive'. Unlike 'Paradise Beach' (1993-94, Villiage Roadshow Pictures), Kris Noble told 'TV Week', "What we're trying to do here is a fun adult melodrama. We're making it in the tradition of all good soap operas, like back in early days of 'Peyton Place', 'Dynasty' and naturally, 'Melrose Place.'" In 2002, Kris Noble told Amanda Meade, "You put the same amount of energy into what you think might work as into what people might think is a failure, and then you wait and wait. It's a very competitive time. Something new has got to be unique and why would you stand out in a crowd?" At the time, he was discussing about the series 'Young Lions', "It's not going to be cops and robbers and chases and explosions. It's a far more emotionally satisfying show."
Created by Michael Jenkins and set in inner-city Sydney, Kris Noble insisted, "To put together a show and to have great characters you need an engine that's going to drive the show. Our engine is a bunch of young detectives in the modern world and the pressures they have to face day to day and the impact on them personally. It sounds like a drama cliche but we always make sure there is something driving the characters. The packaging is a cop show, but there are episodes without a crime; we ('Young Lions') go different places every time."