Alumni – Elizabeth Packett, class of 1989

Then: Belmont High School Captain.

Now: TV screen writer/producer/editor and teacher.


Life lessons: the value of reading and having a laugh.

Liz offered straight up advice of “one of the best things you can do to be a good writer is to read.” She was a Belmont High student of the 80’s and remembers her schooling fondly and says she “had a blast” and loved the people she shared her school years with.

In 1989 she studied year 12 English, Literature, Art, Australian History and Legal Studies where she could legitimately spend time building the key skills for life of people watching, storytelling, creative writing and follow her curiosity.

Upon leaving high school Liz moved to Melbourne and studied professional writing for three years and it was during this time she got her break into TV writing. One lecturer gave her the opportunity to write some scenes (as paid work) and the rest is history. 29 years of screen writing, editing, and producing followed for such drama shows as Neighbours, Home & Away, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Newtown’s Law, The Secret Life of Us, Out of the Blue, Chuck Finn, McLeod’s Daughters, Water Rats, Breakers and How to Stay Married. Liz offered students insights into writing for TV along with commentary about the wide and varied jobs in TV.

Neighbours has recently wound up after 25years of presence of Australian TV and it’s interesting to note that Liz created the character Toadfish and her inspiration for the character is seeded in Belmont High fodder. Liz laughs that all the time she spent watching TV as a kid and going to school was a real-life training for becoming a script writer with an eye for character development and an ear for light comedy! Liz writes her reflections saying goodbye to Toadie after a long relationship together between two people who did meet until recently.

Being a freelance writer throughout her working career has provided Liz with flexibility to develop other skills and loves including secondary teaching of English and Literature.

Additional learnings from Liz to students:

  • Learn how to blurt in writing. Blurting out your first draft is the best way to get ideas down on paper. Turn off the inner critic, don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, edit later during the drafting process.
  • Learn how to ‘kill your darlings’ in writing. Even if there is a wonderful section of writing or character etc it might need to be ‘killed’ to ensure your work is tight, succinct and the best it can be.
  • Follow your curiosity – if you have a curious mind and feed this curiosity, life will be satisfying and entertaining. Being interested in people, issues, topic because that makes you interesting too.

Many thanks to Liz for returning to school and sharing her story. We wish her all the best for the three projects that she’s working on this year. Thanks also the wonderful Warren Whitney for his enthusiasm and preparation for Liz’s visit.