Who I am

Cracking Yarns was created by Allen Palmer, an Australian screenwriter who’s worked in Hollywood and the UK, and who now teaches at AFTRS, Australia’s national film school in Sydney, and one of the Top 20 Film Schools in the world.

Me with my wonderful wife, Meredith Curnow

After a fumbling first screenplay, I was encouraged by US-based Australian producer/director, Lynda Heys, to head to Los Angeles to study at UCLA Extension and it was a life-changing experience. Alongside writers like fellow-Australian Stuart Beattie (Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean), I studied under tutors like Christopher Vogler (The Writers Journey) and was introduced to the work of mythological guru, Joseph Campbell. (I also worked on the lot at Universal Pictures and one day did photocopying for Steven Spielberg – but humbly declined a credit.)

After graduating, I honed my understanding of story as a reader for the Sundance Institute in LA, and the Script Factory and Granada Film in London. I was also a Reader for the UK Film Council and was a judge for their “25 words or less” competition.

I’ve also done a bit of writing. My TV series Close Quarters was developed for the BBC and optioned by Company Pictures (Shameless). I adapted the novel Happiness for FilmFour and my feature, Like me only rich, was optioned by Harbour Pictures (Calendar Girls).

My romantic comedy Falling for Figaro (aka Her Bloody Opera) was funded by Screen NSW and Screen Australia, and was recently financed by a major US investor – 17 years after I started writing it.

My most recent screenplay Celebrity Leave Pass was a Quarter Finalist in Final Draft’s 2012 Big Break Screenwriting Contest.

I consult on story to several Australia film production companies, mentor past students, and share my thoughts on film through my screenwriting blog.

I am now on the teaching staff at AFTRS, Australia’s National Film & TV School, where I teach on both the Award and Open programs. Here aremy upcoming screenwriting courses.

Cracking Yarns is my business and my passion.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

DENNIS DALRYMPLE April 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Forget it. I wrote a nice note and it disappeared.

Paula Howard December 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

Allen, I just found your website and enjoy your articles.

I disagree with you about Ennis’s character in Brokeback Mountain. Ennis was not simply trying to have his cake and eat it too, as you say. Rather, he felt the reality of death threats. His father had made a point of showing his children the corpse of tortured gay man. (Jack didn’t feel that threat in the same way; he felt the reality of contempt from his father and others, but he could live with that. … )Ennis told Jack from the start that if they lived openly together they would be killed. He did not want to be killed, or his lover to be killed. Given that Jack WAS killed, his assessment of the “unsatisfactory situation” was correct. … Wanting not to be killed, and wanting Jack not to be killed, doesn’t make him a hypocrite as you suggest.

Annie Proulx has written about the fact that a gay youth was tortured and killed in Wyoming just as filming started. And the story is 40 years earlier, in the 1960s and 70s … Timing is everything! In that time and place, wasn’t Ennis just being realistic?


Allen Palmer June 21, 2013 at 11:32 am

Hi, Paula,
The physical threat was real, certainly. But, what you are saying is that Ennis lacked the courage to declare his love to the world. He didn’t honour his higher self, and he suffered as a consequence. His actions might be understandable, but he came to regret his failing, and it’s why the film is a tragedy. I didn’t judge him to be a “hypocrite”. I merely observed that he was inauthentic.

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