Mad Kids co-founder and managing director Lauren Elliott is launching a new production company focused on long-form television and features, Galactic Baby.
Elliott founded the Perth-based Mad Kids seven years ago with Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis. It has produced a variety of content such as the AACTA-nominated Small Town Hackers for Saturday Night Live’ digital platform Above Average; The Big Spaghetti (which won director Zoe Pepper an Australian Directors’ Guild Award); Lucy Durack’s LIFT for 10Peach, DAFUQ? for ABC iview and The Legend of Gavin Tanner for ABC1.
ABC iview comedy series KGB, which launches this Sunday and stars Clarence Ryan, Bjorn Stewart, Mark Coles Smith, Aaron McGrath and Genevieve Morris, will be the last project under the Mad Kids banner.
Having produced 11 web series to date, Elliott tells IF she feels ready to take the next step in her career and move into longer-form with Galactic Baby. The company will also provide marketing, audience strategy, PR and production services.
Elliott was the winner of the inaugural Screenwest Emerging Producers Initiative in 2015, winning $100,000 to put towards projects and professional development. That saw her spend six months in LA working with Red Hour Films and Abso Lutely Productions, and she has since split her time between Perth, Sydney and LA.
In 2016, the producer was also selected to travel to Ausfilm’s ‘Partner with Australia’ week and was named by Screen Producers Australia’s as ‘One to Watch’. Her debut documentary, Digilante, premiered at Hot Docs in 2017, and last year, she worked with Jungle Entertainment on Sando and Squinters season two. Earlier this year, she won a 40under40 Award, recognising her as one of WA’s 40 leading business entrepreneurs under age 40.
On the Galactic Baby development slate are feature film scripts from writer-directors Inglis and Zoe Pepper, and a handful of TV series.
“Zoe’s feature is a psychological drama and Henry’s feature is a coming-of-age teenage comedy. The tone of each will be very distinct. Zoe and I have a shared taste of Lynchy-style content and Henry and I are both still heavily influenced by British comedy in terms of our taste. With regards to TV, I also have a horror comedy, a workplace comedy and a kids comedic drama on my development slate.”
Elliott is also in talks with writers Bjorn Stewart and Kodie Bedford to collaborate on a project, and hopes to secure a half hour TV series of KGB with writer-directors Luke and Dan Riches and producer Taryne Laffar.
Set in Perth’s notorious KGB (Koondoola, Girrawheen, Balga), KGB 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. KGB is project borne out of Screenwest’s Indigenous online initiative, Originate and Elliott was the executive producer.
At Galactic Baby, Elliott is also keen to be considered for WA co-productions with national and international production companies, and in that regard is excited by the ABC’s recently announced partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Mad Kids writer and production co-ordinator Clare Toonen will also join Elliott in the new venture.
On Elliott’s move, ABC head of comedy Rick Kalowski says: “Lauren Elliott is a modern-day pioneer in the Western Australian screen industry, in comedy especially. An undeniably talented producer, leader and advocate for her projects, writers and directors, she’s consistently delivered quality, original productions to the ABC, in particular our digital series DAFUQ?, which was well ahead of its time, and remains one of my favourite of our comedy series. I’ve loved working with Lauren both at her own Mad Kids and at Jungle Entertainment over the last five years, and I’m seriously excited to see what Lauren and Galactic Baby.”
Screenwest head of development and production Matthew Horrocks says: “Lauren’s track record as a comedy producer in Western Australia is extraordinary. She’s a great asset to the state. We’re lucky to have here and we look forward to working with her and the talented team she’s putting together for Galactic Baby.”