Screen Australia and Google announce Skip Ahead participants

Top, L-R: Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher; Mithuna Yoganathan. Bottom, L-R: Saksham Sharma; Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of Hot Department.

Screen Australia and Google Australia have announced the content makers who will share in $480,000 of production funding as part of this year’s Skip Ahead program.

Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher, Mithuna Yoganathan, Saksham Sharma, and Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of Hot Department will participate in workshops next month to develop their projects with industry experts, including Skip Ahead alumni Adele Vuko.

Now in its seventh year, Skip Ahead is designed to support Australian online content creators who have YouTube channels with a substantial existing subscriber base and/or content which has reached significant viewership.

Previous participants include Aunty Donna, Skit Box, and Bush Tucker Bunjie, as well as The Van Vuuren brothers, whose comedy series Over and Out, funded through Skip Ahead 4, went on to win Best Short Form Series at Canneseries in 2019.

Of last year’s projects, Celebration Nation was nominated for an AACTA Award and Small Footprint has hit over 1.1 million views across the series.

Screen Australia online head Lee Naimo said the agency was proud to again be partnering with Google Australia to give creatives a “powerful launch pad”.

“Each of these teams are already producing unique and engaging content that is resonating with audiences and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to take their project to the next level,” he said.

“We know the power of Skip Ahead to propel the careers of some of Australia’s best online content creators, like Superwog whose initial pilot was incubated in Skip Ahead 3, and last year the first episode of Superwog Season 2 was announced as the #2 most watched YouTube video in Australia.”

The funded projects are:

Hot Department: Dark Web: This 6 x 5 minute comedy will explore the strangest parts of the internet, following interlinked sketches centring around various characters’ online browsing habits when they think no one is watching. A chunky, retro computer will lead viewers into a rabbit hole of lost tapes, cursed deep web videos, surreal infomercials, viral music videos, deranged TikToks and needy viruses. Dark Web is created by writers Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of comedy duo Hot Department. Emma Holland joins the writing team with writer/director Liam Fitzgibbon and executive producers Max Miller and Jono Mastrippolito. The series will release on the Grouse House channel which was launched by Skip Ahead alumni, Aunty Donna.

Quantum Experiments At Home: In this six-part series, physicist Mithuna Yoganathan will demystify quantum mechanics and guide viewers step by step through experiments they can do at home. Directed and produced by Yoganathan, and produced by Emma Watts, this project will release on YouTube channel Looking Glass Universe, which aims to help build people’s confidence to learn science.

The Followers: A true-crime parody about a wellness cult in the Aussie bush and a rookie journalist’s endeavour to uncover their dark secrets. This 5 x 5 minute comedy will be written, produced, and directed by Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher, and produced by Jessica Pearce. The series will be released on YouTube channel Goodall & Gallagher.

Unknown Filter: This 5 x 5 minute thriller series is centred on Saksham, a university student who goes viral on his YouTube live stream, when the app detects an unknown face in the darkness and viewers discover that it is not a glitch but a spirit following and guiding Saksham. Writer and producer Saksham Sharma teams up with director/producer Enzo Tedeschi (Deadhouse Dark). This series will release on Saksham Magic.