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Skip Ahead

Skip Ahead is a joint initiative of Screen Australia and Google. Since 2014, over the course of four funding rounds, Skip Ahead has supported 19 YouTube content creators to push themselves and their audiences, and support them to work towards sustainable careers. Past recipients include Mighty Car Mods, Skitbox, RackaRacka, SketchShe, Superwog, Wengie, Braincraft and more.

For the first time Skip Ahead will be encouraging documentary based projects to apply.

Why?

Skip Ahead aims to:

  • help a new generation of online storytellers to expand their vision and ambition
  • cultivate original Australian narrative content made specifically for global online audiences 
  • ensure the storytellers and stories being told reflect the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia, all of which are important culturally, creatively and economically. 

Who?

Applications will be open to:

Original content creators or a team of original content creators responsible for either:

  • a current YouTube channel with at least 25,000 subscribers, OR 
  • a maximum of two current YouTube channels with a combined subscriber base of 40,000, 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
  • be capable of delivering the project with the funds requested and within the agreed time frame (by September 2019). 

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.

 The project that is the subject of the application must:

  • comprise narrative content intended for upload to YouTube. For example, factual stories, performance-driven and narrative video blogging are eligible
  • not be a ‘How to...’ or lifestyle program 
  • not be advertorial or intended primarily as advertising or marketing material. 

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

What?

 What you can apply for:

  • 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.

How?

Applications include the following materials:

  • 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 (This is includes the key production costs) 
  • a top line production schedule (pre-production, production, post-production, delivery, release date)
  • 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. Note: we may require a solicitor’s opinion letter on Chain of Title documents if you are successful. 
  • a talk-to-camera ‘video pitch’ (maximum of 3 minutes) that encapsulates how your application addresses each of the assessment criteria below. It should express what makes your project unique and why you are driven to make it
  • 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, and a plan for how the creator might continue to grow the channel following the release of the Skip Ahead content 
  • scripts or outlines if available 
  • a one-page statement describing the YouTube track record and achievements of the key content creators, with links to notable videos
  • 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.

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.

Successful applicants must make the production publicly available for the first time on YouTube from end of September 2019. They must maintain the content on YouTube for a minimum of 18 months.

Successful applicants and productions 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.

In addition, Screen Australia and Google/YouTube may offer funding support to successful applicants to participate in a workshop. This is likely to be scheduled for February 2019.

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

Applications close on 5pm AEDT 16th November 2018. 

Applicants will be notified by the 21st December 2018.