Max Dann was born in Yarraville, Victoria, the setting for most of his books for children and adults. Dann worked as a carpenter's apprentice, handyman, factory worker, and gardener before taking up writing full time.
Like many of his fellow television script-writers, including Doug McLeod, Brendan Luno, and Louise Fox, Dann got his start in television scripting skit comedy: in this case, Fast Forward. Around this time, he also contributed material to the scripts for the feature films The Big Steal and Spotswood, both set in Yarraville.
In the 1990s, Dann contributed scripts to a number of television programs across a variety of genres, including Wedlocked, Flipper, Full Frontal, Crash Zone, and SeaChange, as well as writing the film scripts for Mumbo Jumbo and Siam Sunset.
This blend of writing for both children's and adults' television programs continued after 2000: in that decade, Dann contributed scripts to programs such as Stingers, Worst Best Friends, CrashBurn, and McLeod's Daughters, as well as writing for numerous Jonathan M. Shiff Productions.
Most recently, Dann has produced scripts for Bed of Roses, and written the film scripts for The Sunset Six (a film about a formerly successful rock star who is terrified of playing live, despite his band's desperation to stage a comeback) and Ektopos (a claustrophobic independent science-fiction film about a failing lunar mining colony).
His sense of the absurd is reflected in most of his books for children, particularly the series that features the characters Roger Thesaurus and Dusting. Dann won the Book of the Year Award of the Children's Book Council for Bernice Knows Best (1983). He has also written books for older readers and adults.
A co-Australian and German television series, Dance Academy revolves around Tara Webster, a young woman who has grown up on property in outback Australia all the while dreaming of becoming a dancer. When she makes it into the National Academy of Dance, Tara realises that her life is about to change forever. As the series progresses, she also comes to realise that she is not alone in this journey.
Alexandra Wilson is a normal girl living in an average suburb. She can sing brilliantly (she's a songwriter at heart). She's funny and driven. Alex's band is her life, and her band-mates, expressive Amanda Tucci and realist JB Deekes, are her closest friends. There's also Marcus, their lead guitarist: he's a year older, and, well, rather attractive. Alex has two grounded parents, Anita and Jim, and one very centre-stage younger sister, Zoe. Life is very normal. But ...
Since birth, Alex has caused a succession of strange, somewhat magical events. Fortunately, she's been able to conceal, ignore, or deny them all. But then Kuru, a young man dressed in exotic robes, and Anala, a decorated adult elephant who has a tendency to vanish now and again, arrive on Alex's doorstep. Kuru explains that Alex is actually Princess Liliuokalani Parasha Khaled Persphone Amanirenas of Manjipoor.
Alex is not so sure about that! But the magical effects she seems to cause have recently blossomed. It's scary. Alex asks Kuru and Anala to leave, but they won't go anywhere. They are under the royal command of Omar, Chief Advisor to the former Queen Nefari, to bring the princess home to rule.
Manjipoor is an exotic, mystical kingdom that exists very close to our world--but not in it. The nation was born six hundred years ago when 'gifted' people (sorcerers, oracles, and witches) fled persecution and created their own territory, and later, for their protection, moved it to a parallel location by magical means!
Kuru's mission is made easier when Alex's parents accept him as an 'exchange student' and he is invited to stay at their home. He does his best to fit in at Alex's school. Alex keeps her identity as a princess a secret from everybody but Amanda and JB, but it's an ongoing problem concealing a wilful, sometimes-invisible elephant in her backyard.
Omar's recent revelation of the existence of Manjipoor's secret princess shocks and threatens Vashan, the last royal relative in a conflicted and dying dynasty, who fully expected to rule. Aided by his skilful servant Diva, Vashan acts--first subtly, then overtly--to prevent his cousin Alex from claiming her inheritance.
Back in 'The Old World'--our world--Kuru's persistence with Alex starts to have an effect. Alex begins to practise and accept her magic--and it often goes awry. It's not easy being a teenager with magical powers! Alex uses her magic to rectify some very teenage-related issues, as well as to bend the occasional rule, but she draws the line at using magic in her music or for the band. They've got to prove they're good enough without it!
Following an encounter in Manjipoor where Alex learns some of the history of her real mother, Queen Nefari, and is introduced first hand to Vashan's enmity, she awakens to the strong qualities developing inside her and the need for her in Manjipoor as a princess.
Simultaneously, Alex, Amanda, Marcus, and JB improve as a band. They get gigs, and Alex's confidence as a singer increases. Alex finds the pull between both worlds conflicting. When Vashan becomes increasingly bold in his endeavours to undermine and overtake Alex, his actions precipitate a series of stunning revelations affecting the lives of Alex, Kuru, Anala, and Omar and the future of Manjipoor. Alex finds she must make a choice about where her real destiny lies ...
Source: Jonathan M Shiff Productions website, http://www.jonathan-m-shiff.com.au/ Sighted: 15/12/2009
Mortified2006-2007series - publisher film/TV children's fantasy
Mortified follows the trevails of eleven-year-old Taylor Fry, as she copes with the general embarrassment of having parents, as well as being annoyed by her sister, jealous of her neighbour, and completely oblivious to her best friend's crush on her. The program inserts some fantasy elements into the otherwise straight comedy-drama by having Taylor speak directly to the camera, using elaborate fantasy sequences to explore her daydreams, and showing her over-active imagination as bringing seemingly inanimate objects to life.
Mortified was the last major work of television producer and screenwriter Angela Webber before her early death in 2007.