Skip Ahead gifts $725,000 to YouTube creators

2016 Skip Ahead recipients Racka Racka. 

Four YouTube creative teams will share from pool of $725,000 in funding, thanks to Screen Australia and Google’s joint initiative Skip Ahead.

Now in its third year, Skip Ahead is designed to support the next generation of YouTube creators to make ambitious content and build their careers.

Recipients will make a narrative-driven film of at least 30 minutes in length. It could be a film, series pilot or proof of concept, but must be a one-off standalone.

Among this year’s recipients are Adelaide’s Danny and Michael Philippou; aka Racka Racka. The brothers will create RackaRacka: Live, a one-off 30 minute comedy that sees them on a rampage in a haunted, abandoned theatre. Triptych (The Babadook) will produce.

Fellow brothers Theo and Nathan Saidden, the brains behind Superwog, will present a half-hour comedy The Superwog Show. It’ll be the story of Superwog, his dysfunctional family and his best mate. It’ll be produced by Princess Pictures (Summer Heights High, Jonah from Tonga, It’s a Date).

Sisters Charli and Ashlee Kelly, who head up popular kids-only baking show Charli’s Crafty Kitchen – will create animated series Crafty Kingdom. It will be made in partnership with Brisbane animation studio Like A Photon.

Science educator and communicator Vanessa Hill, who runs the YouTube channel BrainCraft, will make a 45-minute documentary Mutant Menu, exploring how genetic manipulation can create superheroes. The project will be produced by Margie Bryant (Who Do You Think You Are?).

Screen Australia’s investment manager Mike Cowap said the Skip Ahead initiative had grown year on year, and that Screen Australia was thrilled to continue to partner with YouTube, “a powerful force in online video and the advancement of technology and storytelling generally.”

“These successful creators have great instincts for filmmaking and engaging with large audiences. They have earned this opportunity to make longer, more challenging narrative work, and we’re excited to see the result. We’re sure their audiences are going to love it,” he said.

YouTube Asia Pacific’s Head of 'Top Creators', Kristen Bowen, said: “We’ve been consistently impressed by the projects from the talented alumni of Skip Ahead and we’re sure that this year’s crop of creators will continue to make projects that delight and inspire. We hope this next wave of funding will allow these Aussie creators’ voices to be heard at home and abroad on YouTube.”

Previous Skip Ahead recipients include SketchShe, Aunty Donna and Axis of Awesome. 

The 2016 projects are:

RackaRacka: LIVE (working title) 

A live stream vlog from wannabe filmmakers on a rampage in a haunted, abandoned theatre… What could possibly go wrong?

YouTube channel: RackaRacka *(3,250,931 subscribers • 412,875,755 views)

Creators: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou

Producer: Triptych Pictures

Genre: Comedy, Horror

The Superwog Show (working title)

A half-hour comedy following the dysfunctional Superwog family. While the parents deal with a marital breakdown, Superwog and best friend Johnny must learn to deal with adulthood and independent life.

YouTube channel: Superwog *(613,312 subscribers • 114,543,283 views)

Creators: Nathan Saidden, Theo Saidden

Co-Producers: Princess Pictures, Century Entertainment

Genre: Comedy 

Crafty Kingdom

An energetic animation series that follows the adventures of princesses Charli and Ashlee in their candy kingdom as they bake together fun, imagination and deliciousness, based on their hit YouTube show Charli’s Crafty Kitchen.

YouTube channel: Charli's Crafty Kitchen *(675,401 subscribers • 697,218,868 views)

Creators: Charli Kelly, Ashlee Kelly

Producer: Like A Photon

Genre: Animation 

Mutant Menu

There are individuals walking among us with something very close to superpowers: immunity from disease, extreme longevity, speed, stamina. Now brand new science may let us harvest their unique genetic gifts and make them our own – grab a booth and together let's choose the next generation of humanity from the Mutant Menu.

YouTube channel: BrainCraft *(321,257 subscribers • 15,646,928 views)

Creative team: Vanessa Hill, James Hutson

Producers: Serendipity Productions

Genre: Documentary