The ADG has announced the nominees for the 2019 Australian Directors’ Guild Awards (ADG Awards) and Zoe Pepper has been nominated for Best Direction in an Online Comedy Series for The Big Spaghetti.

The annual Awards recognise excellence in the craft and art of directing, as well as acknowledge individual contributions by Australian Screen Directors to film, television, documentary, animation and interactive media. The ADG Awards are the only opportunity for Australian directors and their work to be acknowledged by their directing peers.

The 2019 ADG Awards Ceremony and Gala dinner will be held at the City Recital Hall and Ivy Ballroom in Sydney, on Monday 6 May 2019.

Best Direction in an Online Comedy Series

  • Zoe Pepper for The Big Spaghetti

  • Corrie Chen for Homecoming Queens

  • Sophie Hyde for Fucking Adelaide

  • Nina Oyama for The Angus Project

  • Henry Stone for Be Your Own Boss



Lauren won! Mad Kids Founder / Managing Director / Producer Lauren Elliott has been recognised as one of Western Australia's 40 leading business entrepreneurs under the age of 40, out of 104 impressive nominees from across the state.

Established in 2002 by BUSINESSNEWS, the 40under40 Awards program is designed to recognise and celebrate Western Australia's 40 leading business entrepreneurs under the age of 40. The program recognises not only personal determination and commercial drive, but also the philanthropic pursuits that balance these young individuals' professional achievements, recognising the less public contributions to the welfare of Western Australia.

The black tie Awards Gala for 2019 was held at Optus Stadium in Perth on Wednesday 13 March. 750 guests celebrated the evening including the Mad Kids team Henry Inglis, Joel Gray and Clare Toonen together with Lauren’s family Kathy Elliott, Ryan Elliott, Alana Elliott and Luke Andrzejuk.

When asked what her top business quote was, Lauren said , “If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs. This quote always resonates with me. Whenever I face challenging days, it propels me to see the bigger picture, reminding me of the personal and professional gratification I'm working towards.”

Check out the entire class of 2019 here and check out some images from the night below.



THE CAST OF KGB: Clarence Ryan, Bjorn Stewart, Genevieve Morris, Mark Coles Smith, Jesse Phillips, Aaron McGrath.

THE CAST OF KGB: Clarence Ryan, Bjorn Stewart, Genevieve Morris, Mark Coles Smith, Jesse Phillips, Aaron McGrath.

Together with Screenwest, Screen Australia and ABC Indigenous, we are thrilled to announce KGB, a comedy web series created by Western Australian indigenous filmmaker brothers, Luke and Dan Riches, has been greenlit by the ABC thanks to Screenwest’s Indigenous Online Initiative – Originate.

Originate is a Screenwest and ABC Indigenous narrative web series development and production initiative for emerging Western Australian Indigenous screen practitioners looking to hone their storytelling skills across a series of episodes. The successful series is awarded development funding, production funding and an experienced Executive Producer, as well as a series commission by ABC Indigenous.

Set in Perth’s notorious KGB (Koondoola, Girrawheen, Balga), the series follows two rookie detectives, tough guy Jack and gentle giant Nigel, as they deal with the chaos of their new jobs, no-nonsense boss, work rivals, drug dealers and culprits who consistently turn out to be family members. Despite battling their own insecurities at every turn, and the fact that Jack bullied Nigel in high school, these two might just turn out to be KGB’s finest detectives.

The series boasts a stellar Australian cast including Clarence Ryan (Wrong Kind of Black, Cleverman, Wanted), Bjorn Stewart (Black Comedy, Get Krack!n), Genevieve Morris (No Activity, Bloom,Comedy Inc.) Mark Coles Smith (Pawno, Last Cab to Darwin, LIFT), Aaron McGrath (Mystery Road, Glitch, Jasper Jones), WAAPA alumni Jesse Phillips and indigenous theatre stars Lynette Narkle and Amy Smith, as well as a number of up-and-coming Western Australian performers.

The Riches are the founders of Ardiol Media, a Perth-based production company. After leaving behind their day jobs to pursue their dreams in the film industry, the brothers received a crash course in television production through the making of Lost Diamonds, a documentary coming soon to NITV. The boys are excited to endeavour on a web series comedy which they describe as Hot Fuzz meets Black Comedy.

"We were surprised to be selected given the competitive field of applicants, but also super thankful and excited for the opportunity Screenwest and the ABC are providing us. KGB will allow us to explore our creativity in a whole new genre." said Luke and Dan.

KGB will be Executive Produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids, produced by Taryne Laffar and written by the Riches, together with emerging WA screenwriters Joel Gray (Small Town Hackers, Aussie Rangers) and Clare Toonen (You, Me and Karen, Rift). The Riches will direct, with Henry Inglis (Small Town Hackers, DAFUQ?) as Director’s Mentor.

“I’m so glad KGB won because I really want to watch it! I feel very privileged to be selected by Screenwest and ABC as EP, and I’m excited to be mentoring Luke, Dan and our Series Producer, Taryne Laffar. This opportunity is a real coup for Mad Kids as it will allow us to support emerging indigenous Western Australian talent, as well as produce a show that we think is bloody funny.” said Lauren.

Following a competitive Originate Stage 1 Development Workshop about web series production, how to examine collaborative techniques, what concepts work well for short form narrative, how to effectively reach your online audience and how to execute using minimal resources, KGB was selected by an expert industry panel from 11 shortlisted Originate applications.

“Online series are the new short film in terms of carving a career pathway, and this initiative in particular will provide Luke and Dan with invaluable experience and access to the large ABC audience.” said Devina McPherson, Screenwest Indigenous Programs Manager.

“ABC Indigenous is a proud supporter of new Indigenous voices in the screen industry. Partnering with Screenwest on the Originate initiative ensures that we can continue to provide amazing career opportunities for exciting Western Australian Indigenous talent like Luke and Dan Riches. We can’t wait to share this show with our ABC audience!” said Kelrick Martin, Head of Indigenous for ABC.

Lee Naimo, Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia said, “Screen Australia champions the development of home-grown online projects, and this is a fantastic opportunity for the Riches brothers to further develop their careers, working with EP Lauren Elliott whose credits include the AACTA-nominated Small Town Hackers, Lucy Durack’s screenwriting debut, LIFT and ABC iview original series, DAFUQ? KGB reimagines the much-loved detective comedy genre with a fresh local twist and I’m confident its relatable characters will resonate with audiences when it premieres online in 2019.”

Mad Kids are the team behind a number of original digital and television comedy projects including Small Town Hackers, LIFT, The Big Spaghetti, DAFUQ?, The Legend of Gavin Tanner, The Shapes, Henry & Aaron’s 7 Steps to Superstardom and viral sensations It’s a Snap! and Set Yourself Free.

We kick off filming in Perth this month and the series will premiere on ABC iview in 2019.


Mark your calendars! Our romantic comedy LIFT is making its broadcast debut on the most romantic day of the year. The screenwriting debut of musical theatre and TV star Lucy Durack, LIFT is set to screen on Network Ten’s 10Peach on Valentine’s Day.

A seven-part series, LIFT starts Durack, Duncan Ragg, Mark Coles Smith and Vivienne Garrett. When serial temp Olivia (Durack) steps into an elevator for her 46th job this century, she needs to make this one stick. Inside she meets strait-laced Simon (Ragg) preparing for a nerve-wracking rooftop marriage proposal. Despite a disastrous first impression, confusing office politics, interfering colleagues (Coles Smith and Garrett) and Simon’s impending nuptials, these two might just fall in love, one elevator ride at a time.

LIFT was created & written by Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray of writing collective Platinum Lining, directed by Western Australian director Zoe Pepper, produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids and Executive Produced by Chloe Rickard of Jungle Entertainment.

LIFT was funded by Screenwest’s Elevate Initiative and made its world premiere at CinéfestOZ Film Festival in Busselton in 2018. It was 1 of 6 projects selected by an expert industry panel from 14 writer/producer/director teams who were shortlisted from 57 applications.

The broadcast is an especially exciting one for us - LIFT is the first Mad Kids project to air on commercial TV in Australia!

Catch all seven episodes at 9.20PM on February 14 on 10Peach. Going on a hot date and might miss it? The series will also be available to stream on TenPlay and YouTube.

Watch our brand new trailer below:



The Big Spaghetti has been officially selected to make its North American premiere at the acclaimed Slamdance Film Festival 2019.

The Big Spaghetti is a five-part web series created and written by Adriane Daff, Zoe Pepper and Tim Watts, directed by Pepper, produced by Susannah Day and executive produced by Lauren Elliott from Mad Kids. The series tells the story of Gabby (Tim Watts) who seeks solace in Melissa’s (Adriane Daff) home to mend her broken heart and reinvent her life. But when Gabby’s fierce alter ego becomes the object of Melissa’s affections, their blissful playground breaks apart at the seams.

The Big Spaghetti held its World Premiere at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival in July 2018. It subsequently screened at the 2018 Next Gen Webfest, winning Best Director for Zoe, Best Actress for Adriane and Best Editing.

Founded in 1995 by a group of indie filmmakers, Slamdance runs concurrently with Sundance Film Festival in Utah every January and focuses on emerging filmmakers and low-budget independent films. The festival boasts a slew of acclaimed alumni including Christopher Nolan, Lena Dunham, Lynn Shelton and Bong Joon Ho.

"Slamdance's ongoing commitment to first-time filmmakers provides an opportunity to be cherished. The festival was a legitimate platform to get my work out there during a time when no one was asking to see it." — Christopher Nolan

The Slamdance Film Festival 2019 will run from January 25 - 31 in Park City, Utah.

Watch the trailer for The Big Spaghetti below and check out the complete festival lineup here.

Lauren Elliott Nominated for 40under40 Award


Mad Kids Producer and Managing Director Lauren Elliott has been nominated for a 2019 40under40 Award!

Established by Business News here in Western Australia, the 40under40 Awards recognises and celebrates WA’s 40 leading business entrepreneurs under 40. Held annually since 2002, the awards boast an alumnus of over 600 business achievers. Past winners have represented a variety of industries including business, the arts, academia, technology and service to the community.

Lauren, who is currently undertaking the role of Series Producer on season two of the ABC’s hit comedy Squinters, was put forward for the awards program by her Mad Kids team earlier this year. After starting out producing comedy videos for YouTube on nights and weekends, Lauren has spearheaded Mad Kids’ growth over the last six years, including securing broadcast commissions, receiving Screenwest’s $100,000 Emerging Producer Initiative and launching Ad Kids, our commercial division.

So far in 2018, Lauren has been nominated for an AACTA, produced two ABC comedy series (Squinters and Sando), two web series (LIFT and The Big Spaghetti) and five commercials including our most recent campaign, Nature Knows Best, for Water Corporation.

The rest of us at Mad Kids are keen to see Lauren’s hard work rewarded and are keeping our fingers crossed for her! In addition to the 40 winners, one entrepreneur will also be awarded the People’s Choice Award, voted by the public. Voting is open NOW and closes Friday 11 January 2019. Cast your vote for Lauren here: https://www.40under40.com.au/Peoples-choice

The 40under40 Awards will be presented during a black-tie gala evening on 13 March 2019. Wanna come? Tickets are available here: https://bit.ly/2FXxm0A.

Good luck Lauren!


Mad Kids is excited to announce that Lauren Elliott has undertaken the role of Series Producer on the new season of Jungle Entertainment’s comedy Squinters!

A hit for the ABC at the beginning of this year, the half-hour series is returning for a second round with filming currently underway in Sydney and Los Angeles. A celebration of the comically mundane ritual of the daily work commute, Squinters was described by the Sydney Morning Herald in February as “unequivocally one of the funniest comedies of the year.”

Season two features a diverse cast of new and returning Australian actors, including WA-raised cast members Andrea Demetriades, Ernie Dingo and Mandy McElhinney. We’re no stranger to Mandy’s comedic talents - she featured in our ABC TV pilot, The Legend of Gavin and the New Best Mate alongside Squinters co-creator, Adam Zwar.

Lauren’s first introduction to Jungle Entertainment was in 2016 at SPA’s Screen Forever conference, where Jungle partner and COO Chloe Rickard was appointed Lauren’s mentor as part of the Ones to Watch program. Squinters marks Lauren’s second producing gig on a Jungle production in 2018; earlier this year she undertook the role of Associate Producer on comedy series Sando, which premiered on ABC in March 2018.

Squinters is supported by Screen Australia in association with Create NSW and will screen on ABC1 and ABC iView in 2019.

Congratulations Lauren!

Squinters stars Andrea Demetriades, Rose Matafeo and Susie Youssef. Photographer: Toby Burrows

Squinters stars Andrea Demetriades, Rose Matafeo and Susie Youssef. Photographer: Toby Burrows


We were thrilled to produce and direct The Brand Agency’s new campaign for Water Corporation, Nature Knows Best, which has just landed on TV and online.

Henry Inglis took the reins as Director alongside Lauren Elliott as Producer and Michael McDermott as Director of Photography. It was our biggest Ad Kids project to date and our first collaboration with The Brand Agency, who brought us on board earlier this year to execute their funny, mockumentary-style concept about a crew of ‘Water Watchers’ who ensure that the community stays water wise.

We got to cast four of our favourite comedy performers, Broden Kelly as Cockatoo, Zach Ruane as Bilby, Amberly Cull as Quokka and Ben Sutton as Tree’. Caitri Jones exceeded all expectations with her four incredible costumes built from scratch. We produced 12 spots all up, including a 30 second TVC and a 2 minute digital short. Check it out below and view the entire campaign on Water Corporation’s website here.


We are thrilled to announce that Small Town Hackers has been nominated for an AACTA Award in the category of Best Online Video or Series!

Created by Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis and produced by Lauren Elliott, Small Town Hackers was the first Australian series to be commissioned by Above Average, the digital studio founded by legendary comedy producer Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Portlandia).

This recognition by AACTA is the most prestigious industry-based nomination Mad Kids has received to date. Henry picked up the 2018 ADG Award for Best Direction of an Online Comedy Project and the series is also nominated for Best Web Series at the 2018 ATOM Awards, with the ceremony set to take place in Melbourne in late November.

The series was released online globally one year ago today, after premiering at an exclusive screening event in Hollywood thanks to Australians in Film. It has since screened at festivals across Australia and the globe including Melbourne Webfest, Berlin Webfest, Revelation Perth International Film Festival, CinéfestOZ and Next Gen Webfest where it won Best Comedy, Best Editing and Best Actor for Sam Campbell.

The series tells the story of Alex Gout (Tim Watts) who, when he returns to his backwater hometown of Durran, is shocked to discover the police lied about the death of his high school sweetheart, Lucy Boddington. Alex must enlist the help of his idiot younger brother, Devon (2018 Barry Award winner, Sam Campbell) and his ragtag gang of wannabe hackers (Adriane Daff - The Irresistible and Trystan Go - The Family Law) to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Watch the entire series here.

The 8th annual AACTA awards ceremony will take place on 5 December 2018 at the Star Event Centre. Tickets to the event are available here.

View all the other nominees for feature film, television, documentary and short form here.



Hold the phone! Our web series Small Town Hackers has just received a 2018 ATOM AWARD nomination in the category of ‘Best Web Series’.

The ATOM Awards recognise film and media excellence. Since 1982, the ATOM Awards have been celebrating the best of Australian and New Zealand screen content from the education sector and screen industry professionals. They are the second-longest-running film and media awards in Australia, behind the AFI/AACTA Awards, having been held annually for over thirty-five years.

This year, The 2018 ATOM Awards feature thirty-four categories covering everything from feature-length films and television programs to animation, short fiction, educational resources, and new media including web series, apps and games.

Small Town Hackers is one of four Australian web series to receive a nomination in its category. The web series was directed by ADG Award winner Henry Inglis and written by Mad Kids’ Inglis, Matt Lovkis and Joel Gray. It was commissioned by US platform Above Average and collectively the series has received over 400,000 hits on YouTube.

But wait, there’s more! Rift, a short drama written by Mad Kids production co-ordinator Clare Toonen, has also received a nomination for ‘Best Tertiary Short Fiction’. The film, made in collaboration with the Aboriginal Theatre students at WAAPA in 2017, was made during Toonen’s year of post-graduate study at the WA Screen Academy.

The winners of the 2018 ATOM Awards will be announced on Thursday 29 November at a live ceremony at the Alex Theatre in Melbourne.