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Skip Ahead

Skip Ahead is a joint initiative of Screen Australia and Google to help a new generation of online storytellers to expand their vision and the ambition of the content they create for online audiences.

Since 2014, over the course of 3 funding rounds, it has supported 14 YouTube Channels to push themselves and their audiences, and support them to work towards sustainable career. Past recipients include Mighty Car Mods, Superwog, RackaRacka, SketchShe, and more.

The program aims to cultivate original Australian narrative-based content made specifically for global online audiences. Skip Ahead is an inclusive initiative, both in the filmmakers involved and the stories told. Australia has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world. For the purpose of these guidelines, diversity encompasses cultural background, disability status, sexual orientation and gender identity. We also strongly encourage collaboration between creators, and the benefits of working with a reputable producer. 

What funding is available?

Up to $100,000 is available per project for successful Australian YouTube content creators who have YouTube channels with a substantial existing subscriber base.

Eligible applicants can propose the format of the project, such as a series of eight 5–7-minute episodes or an alternative that is appropriate for their creative concept and the YouTube distribution platform.

Up to six projects will be funded.

Who can apply?

An application must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to apply for funding through this program:

The project that is the subject of the application must:

  • comprise narrative content intended for upload to YouTube (for example, factual stories and performance-driven narrative video blogging is eligible, whereas genres such as ‘How to...’ and lifestyle are not considered narrative-based and are not eligible)
  • not be advertorial or intended primarily as advertising or marketing material.

The creative team for the project must:

  • include a content creator or team of content creators responsible for either:
  • a current YouTube channel of any genre with at least 50,000 subscribers OR
  • a maximum of two current YouTube channels of any genre, with a combined subscriber base of 70,000 OR
  • a YouTube video which has achieved a minimum of 1 million views on a channel which has a subscriber base of at least 10,000 OR
  • a YouTube team collaboration, where the combined subscriber base for both channels is at least 20,000 and at least one of the videos on either channels has achieved a minimum of 1 million views

Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade, with the exception of the restriction on full-time students, which will be waived in this case.

Genuine collaborations between a YouTube content creator(s) and established production companies and/or entertainment properties are encouraged and may strengthen an application.

What materials do you need to apply?

Applications must be made through the Online Application Portal which includes the following:

  • a brief profile of your YouTube channel(s)
  • an optional personal statement if relevant should any member of the team choose to share their life experiences including elements like cultural background, geography, gender, or sexuality, for example, and whether this has informed their project
  • a top line production budget
  • a top line production schedule
  • a statement confirming your right to make the project including a list of all Chain of Title documents, covering all copyright material to be used, such as music, artwork, stories, novels, etc.
  • a talk-to-camera ‘video pitch’ (maximum of 3 minutes) that encapsulates how your application addresses each of the assessment criteria.

In addition, you must also attach and submit the following documentation:

  • a two-page pitch document that describes the proposal, details the audience development and social media strategies to promote the series to a wider audience than the creator’s existing subscribers (including plans, if any, for alternate releases beyond the Channel), and a plan for how the creator might continue to grow the channel following the release of the Skip Ahead film
  • scripts if available
  • a one-page statement describing the YouTube track record and achievements of the Key Content Creators, with links to notable videos.
  • If available, a Solicitor’s Opinion letter on all Chain of Title documents including any rights to content or underlying material that has not been originally created by the applicants. Note: You will need to list all of your Chain of Title documents in the application. If you are successful, a Solicitor’s Opinion letter will be required and the amount of up to $1000 can be included within your budget to cover these costs.
  • If there is Indigenous content or participation involved, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a plan, signed evidence and/or consent covering the full production process based on Pathways & Protocols

What is the process?

Eligible applications will be considered by Screen Australia executives and industry specialists as required.

Funding decisions will be made against the following criteria:

  • the creative strength and distinctiveness of the proposal, including the concept and entertainment value (30%)
  • the potential of the project to expand the subscriber base of the applicant’s channel(s) and/or reach new audiences and opportunities for commercialisation (20%)
  • the viability of the proposal with respect to the budget and scale of the project (20%)
  • the track record of the key participants involved in the proposal and the likelihood that this program will demonstrably develop their skills in made-for-web content production (30%)

Other factors, including availability of funds, diversity of slate and the diversity of the team, may also influence Screen Australia’s funding decisions. Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed.

Decisions on applications are final. Screen Australia will advise applicants in writing of the outcome of their application. Where an application is declined, the applicant will be advised of the reason.

Terms of funding

Funding is in the form of a grant. Screen Australia will enter into a grant agreement with the successful applicants. Screen Australia will not require a copyright interest.

Successful applicants must make the production publicly available for the first time on YouTube from end of August 2018. They must maintain the content on YouTube for a minimum of 18 months.

The successful applicant and production must comply with YouTube’s terms of service and community guidelines.

Other terms, including delivery requirements, marketing and credit requirements for Screen Australia and YouTube, will be detailed in the funding agreement.

Further support:

In addition, Screen Australia and Google/YouTube may offer funding support to successful applicants to participate in a workshop.

Screen Australia may also facilitate informal link-ups between creators and Australian production companies interested in skills exchange or creative collaboration.

CONTACT PROGRAM OPERATIONS

We encourage you to contact the Program Operations team before you submit your application to discuss any eligibility questions and ensure all the required supporting material is in place. This will mean we can process your application as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Program Operations: 1800 507 901 or email Online.