Press release from TM Publicity

Filming began today in Queensland on the new multiplatform comedy series for ABC, The Strange Calls produced by Emmy award winning production company Hoodlum.

Starring Toby Truslove, Barry Crocker, Katherine Hicks and Patrick Brammall, this 6x 30 minute comedy is Hoodlum’s second multiplatform series, following Slide, which Hoodlum created and produced in 2011 for Foxtel in partnership with Playmaker Media.

The Strange Calls is produced by Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield and written and directed by Daley Pearson, who wrote and directed the cult film $quid currently in post-production.

Productions begins just days after the announcement that Hoodlum has received International Digital Emmy® Award nomination – it’s sixth Emmy nomination – for its series Slide. Hoodlum has won two Emmys previously for their work on ABC’s LOST and ITV’s Primeval Evolved.

The Strange Calls narrative will play out over TV broadcast, Twitter, Facebook, and with scripted content on The Strange Calls website including webisodes and video blogs.

“Multiplatform is a style of storytelling that includes but goes beyond just the traditional TV broadcast or cinema screen, by using digital platforms, like bespoke websites and social media networks to tell more story and give the audience more opportunities to engage with the world of the show,” says Tracey Robertson.

Leigh McGrath, head of Hoodlum’s Original Production Division, is Story Producing and also a co-producer, Leigh joined Hoodlum in early 2011 following a career as scriptwriter and story editor on such Australian dramas as Home and Away and Neighbours, later moving to the UK where he was Story Editor on ITV’s long-running police drama series The Bill. He joined the BBC and script edited a variety of independent drama productions commissioned by BBC children's. His UK credits include the BBC 1 telemovie The Lost Christmas starring Eddie Izzard, MI High for Kudos, Me & My Monsters for Tiger Aspect and Combat Kids for Lime Pictures. He left Channel 7’s Winners and Losers after Season 1 as Script Producer to join Hoodlum.

“Hoodlum’s success in the digital production arena is well known in Australia and internationally and we’re very proud that the work has brought us many accolades, including recognition at the Emmy and BAFTA Awards. Bringing Leigh onto the senior Hoodlum team is at the forefront of our strategy to build the company’s original programming slate beyond the on-line world,” said Tracey Robertson, Hoodlum CEO. “Leigh now heads a five-person strong team identifying strong creative ideas and developing narrative programs for Australian and international broadcasters.”

“At the same time, we will continue working with some of the entertainment industry’s top content creators to tell stories and create entertainment properties in the digital space. Everything Hoodlum does is multiplatform.

“My partner at Hoodlum and fellow producer Nathan Mayfield is, for example, currently in the US working with the creator of Heroes, Tim Kring.”

Hoodlum recently co-produced the highly successful multiplatform TV series SLIDE, for FOXTEL, a first of its kind in Australia. The company also created the interactive experience DAYXEXISTS for Sony Pictures Entertainment, released internationally ahead of the Angelina Jolie feature film SALT.

In 2008 Hoodlum won two BAFTA Awards for the BBC’s Spooks Interactive. The company was also recognised with a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy nomination in 2008 and a win in 2009 for its work with ABC US on LOST as well as an International Emmy win for Primeval Evolved in 2010.

The Strange Calls will be filmed on location in Coolum and Brisbane for four weeks. The series is about a hapless city cop Toby Banks, who is demoted to night duty in the sleepy beachside village of Coolum. Working out of a run-down caravan on the outskirts of town, he meets Gregor, town cleaner, board game collector and paranormal authority. They team up to investigate "The Strange Calls" – bizarre late night phone calls that expose the paranormal mysteries haunting the sleepy town. A place where men turn into chickens, mermaids fall in love with locals and cats return from the grave.

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