Skip Ahead Initiative Returns, Offering Creators $900,000

Skip Ahead funding recipient 'Bad River'
Courtesy of Screen Australia

Skip Ahead is back, the initiative from Screen Australia and YouTube which assists online storytellers expand their creative ambition and production values.

The program offers up to $150,000 for a maximum of six YouTube projects, with both scripted and documentary offerings encouraged to apply. It is targeted at those with an existing audience on the platform.

For the eighth instalment of Skip Ahead, short-form projects on YouTube Shorts up to 60 seconds in length will also be eligible.

Since 2014, the program has supported 33 teams with over $4.2 million to develop their skills and build their careers.

Superwog’s pilot was funded through the program, as was Aunty Donna’s “1999”, which has helped the group go on to create long-form series “Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun” for Netflix and and the upcoming “Aunty Donna’s Untitled Project” on the ABC. Racka Racka also received funding from Skip Ahead in 2016. The group’s debut feature film “Talk To Me” will soon debut at the Adelaide Film Festival.

Screen Australia’s Lee Naimo, head of online, said the program has proved to be a powerful launchpad for Australian online creators to expand their vision, scale their content and take their stories to global audiences.

“We can’t wait to uncover the next crop of local creators this year. We are looking for a solid mix of scripted and documentary projects and we encourage applicants to push the boundaries – this is a fantastic space to be bold and try new things,” Naimo added.

Ed Miles, director of YouTube Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are consistently impressed by the unique and powerful projects produced by Skip Ahead alumni and we are proud that this initiative can provide an important step in the careers of many Australian storytellers.

“This year, we’re excited to open up applications to Shorts creators too, reflecting the ever-changing screen content environment. We can’t wait to see who will be in this year’s crop of creators – and know that they will continue to tell stories that delight and inspire – and we are thrilled to play a part in helping share their voices around the world on YouTube.”

Applications are open to content creators who either have a current YouTube channel with a substantial existing subscriber base and/or content that has achieved a minimum of 1 million views.

On top of the funding, successful applicants will participate in a workshop in February in Sydney.

Applications close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 and can be completed here.