AACTA Pitch: Web & Television Series

AACTA PITCH is a national pitching competition that aims to discover Australia’s next world-class scripted series for television or web.

With the audience demand and consumption for new, original drama and comedy at an all-time high, this is one of the most exciting times for emerging Australian content creators. Identifying and nurturing the best and most exciting new series ideas, AACTA Pitch provides meaningful support for creatives as they start their journey to the world stage.

The winner of AACTA Pitch: Web & Television Series in 2018 was MONSTER’S PLAYGROUND, with special mentions going to VIRGIN IN A SEX STORE, PIXEL RAIDERS and EMERALD WAY.

Held during the 2018 AACTA Shorts Fest on Wednesday 22 August and hosted by writer and comedian Justin Hamilton, over 150 audience members joined the AACTA Pitch judging panel at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction to hear the finalists pitch their series.

The duo behind MONSTER’S PLAYGROUND, Melbourne-based Darcy Prendergast and Seamus Spilsbury, also received an AACTA nomination for Best Short Animation for the pilot of the Claymation series at the 2018 AACTA Awards. Between them, they've created Nickelodeon mini series SUPAPHRESH, amassed a whopping (and near record-breaking) 14 Vimeo staff picks for their work, and have worked with brands such as Coca Cola, Samsung and Uber as well as musicians including Neil Young, Greenday, Gotye and Aloe Blacc.

Darcy and Seamus won:

  • A $5,000 cash prize;
  • Invaluable feedback and mentorship opportunities from AACTA, participating production companies, development executives and screen craft practitioners;
  • Post-production support from Spectrum Films to the value of $5,000;
  • Tickets to the 8th AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Industry Luncheon and Awards Ceremony; and
  • A year’s AFI | AACTA membership.

AACTA also congratulates all the 2018 AACTA Pitch finalists who each received a year’s AFI | AACTA membership: BULLDOG’S ALLEY, EMERALD WAY, GOOD GRIEF, THE MIRAGE, PIXEL RAIDERS, TRADIES and VIRGIN IN A SEX STORE.


MONSTER’S PLAYGROUND | Darcy Prendergast, Seamus Spilsbury – WINNER
With an AACTA-nominated pilot, claymation series MONSTER’S PLAYGROUND follows the adventures of fun loving siblings Bro-Bro, Siswa and their pal MONSTER! With his rusty and unpredictable magic, a clap of Monster’s hands can conjure a bathtub rocketship, attract a flock of winged hedgehogs and more often than not, place Bro-Bro and Siswa in sticky situations.

BULLDOG'S ALLEY | Jessica Pearce, Sarah Hickey
The filmmakers behind multi-platform web-series DEE-BRIEF hold a mirror up to Australian culture with BULLDOG'S ALLEY. When a small town heist goes all kinds of wrong, and a local hero dies as a result, two women hold a bunch of socially and politically opposing characters hostage in the local bowling alley.

EMERALD WAY | Sean O’Keeffe, Ben Matei, Jennie Tkaz
Set in a Nursing Home, sex, drugs and euthanasia are the backdrop for this complex comedy series. The Perth-based multi award-winning filmmakers behind the series challenge and celebrate what we think and feel about old age, how we view life and when life truly begins and ends in EMERALD WAY.

GOOD GRIEF | Amanda Reedy, Nicole Minchin, Amanda Jane, Natalie Harris, Jess Harris
From the minds behind AACTA-nominated series TWENTYSOMETHING and feature film THE WEDDING PARTY, GOOD GRIEF is based on comedian Natalie Harris’ sell-out stand-up show of the same name. Funded by Screen Australia Gender Matters – Brilliant Stories, the series follows Nat on her rollercoaster ride through the five stages of grief following the sudden death of her dad.

THE MIRAGE | Andrew Ryan
Two-time Sundance Sloan Fellowship Finalist Andrew Ryan brings you THE MIRAGE, a magical motel where guests can request anything they want, from the simple to the surreal. But with two hapless employees at the helm, it’s no surprise that as they make their visitors dreams come true each shift is riled with chaos and a severe lack of clean towels.

PIXEL RAIDERS | Ben Shackleford, Stephanie Bendixsen, Gus Ronald
Based on the popular book series of the same name, PIXEL RAIDERS comes from the mind of Australian video game critic Stephanie Benixsen (GOOD GAME). Trapped inside an un-tested video game, Riley and Mei-Lin must use their gamer knowledge to battle various foes and beat each unique game world within the digital realm or be stuck inside the game...forever!

TRADIES | Zack van Prooije, Matthew Davies, Johannes Beer, Rijen Laine
Having worked with Netflix, SBS, Foxtel, ABC, the Turnkey Productions team brings you TRADIES, which follows the ups and downs of a small construction company on the brink of bankruptcy; lying, cheating and stealing their way out and back into debt while they struggle to stay afloat amidst sexual harassment cases, divorce and the dysfunctional tradies that drink work there.

VIRGIN IN A SEX STORE | Kaleb McKenna, Kristian Barron, Joshua Gilbert
From the creators of Screen Australia funded web-series FOUR QUARTERS, VIRGIN IN A SEX STORE follows 19-year-old Hugh who, desperately saving for a European holiday that he’s convinced will change his life, takes a job at Paula’s Pleasure Palace – his mum’s business. There’s just one problem; he’s a virgin.



Senior Producer Scripted and Unscripted, Princess Pictures

Mike is currently the Senior Producer, Scripted and Unscripted, with Princess Pictures; a dynamic film and TV production company with an international reputation for working with intensely creative talent. Prior to that, Mike was with Screen Australia since it was founded in 2008, and before that with its predecessor agency the Australian Film Commission since 2005. In his role as Investment Manager, Mike managed many Award-winning projects including online content, TV series, feature films, apps, interactive, documentary and video games. Mike had special responsibility for innovative digital production, exploring new platforms, finance and revenue models. Amongst many special initiatives, Mike initiated and managed Skip Ahead with Google/YouTube and Fresh Blood with ABC TV.



Drama Development Executive, Foxtel

Carly joined the Foxtel drama team in 2015 after working in the factual group for six years. She has since worked across WENTWORTH, A PLACE TO CALL HOME, THE KETTERING INCIDENT, SECRET CITY, FIGHTING SEASON, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and the many dramas Foxtel currently has in development.



Investment Manager – Online, Screen Australia

Lee Naimo is a producer, actor and one third of award-winning musical comedy trio The Axis of Awesome. With The Axis of Awesome he has toured the world for the last ten years, written and produced hundreds of online videos and generated an army of fans worldwide. Lee is also Creative Producer for INSERT COIN, a 52-part sketch comedy webseries that was part of the Official Selection for Melbourne WebFest 2017, and is currently the Online Investment Manager for Screen Australia.



Drama Development Manager, Jungle

After completing her Bachelor’s in Creative Arts (International Studies), Shay Spencer started her career in 2010 as the directors attachment on Jonathan Teplitzky’s feature film, BURNING MAN before working as a producer’s attachments on Stephan Elliott’s, A FEW BEST MEN. She then worked with BAFTA, PGA and Oscar®-winning producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher across their slate of projects during their time in Australia working on Baz Luhrmann’s THE GREAT GATSBY.

In 2012, Shay joined the newly created drama department at FremantleMedia Australia. During her six years at FMA, she worked on the full slate of drama projects and across the life span of creating scripted content and was involved in some of Australian television’s most exciting and successful series, including WENTWORTH, WONDERLAND, MARY: THE MAKING OF A PRINCESS, the Paul Hogan and Olivia Newton-John biopics and the recent adaptation of one of Australia’s most iconic novels, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. In 2016, Shay was appointed to FremantleMedia’s shadow board after a competitive process was untaken among the nearly 3000 FM employees globally. She reported to FremantleMedia’s global operating board to offer creative, innovative and bold approaches to help shape the future of the business.

Most recently, Shay joined Jungle Entertainment to manage their growing drama development slate. Here she continues to commit to bringing diverse and exciting stories to the screen. Shay also currently completely her MBA.

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