22 February 2019

Regional Development Australia Chairman John Walkom was pleased to welcome American screenwriter Shirley Pierce and her partner from CRC Partners Australia Barry Pierce to the Orana this week.

“Dubbo is the potential location for a future Hollywood rom-com movie, I’m pleased RDA Orana could assist Shirley and Barry by making introductions and to scout potential locations for the feature film,” Mr Walkom said.

“This was a unique opportunity for RDA Orana to promote our fantastic region to a new industry for the area,” Mr Walkom said.

“Ms Pierce was especially moved by her visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.”

“It meant a lot to me,” she said. “I was amazed by the zoo and there is something about Dubbo that brought it into my creative space. There is something about what I found at the zoo that got my creative juices going.”

Ms Pierce’s screenplay is about a zoo veterinarian unlucky in love, despite being surrounded by nature.

“The Mating Game is the name of the screenplay. The zoo veterinarian can get animals to mate but not do the same for herself. I thought it was something that we could all relate to.

“One of the great things about Dubbo is that it makes a good setting for the script because it feels so natural.”

Ms Pierce was also the special guest at a Q &A session in the Black Box Theatre of Western Plains Cultural Centre, with the event jointly hosted by RDA Orana, Dubbo Filmmakers and the venue.

Describing her past work for Disney as a dream job, Ms Pierce enthralled the Dubbo audience with tales of her Hollywood career.

“Imagine going to work every day knowing that laughter is the goal and excellence is the expectation. I loved it there.”

Being a writer, Ms Pierce said she was more accustomed to being in a room by herself than dealing with a crowd. However, her storytelling ability is unique.

“You all have your own story to tell and I like to connect with people. I want to continue writing stories that touch people and change people and give them an insight into how they can make their day a little bit better.

“When I’m writing, it’s just something that I feel in my heart that people can feel. “That’s where I come from as a writer.”

Ms Pierce started her career as an actress and poet in New York city and wrote plays off-off Broadway. Some of her work was deemed by critics to be ‘like TV’.

“In New York, it’s an insult. In Los Angeles, they buy you a Jaguar.”

Needless to say, she moved to LA and the rest is history. Ms Pierce is now based in Australia.

Her writing credits include Dinosaur, Home on the Range, Meet the Robinsons, Misha, The Marine, Hard Wired, For Real, How to Make Your Man Behave, Hothouse Flowers, Kaleidoscope Murder on the Reef and Seducing Mr. Maclean.