Skins creator Bryan Elsley praises young Aussie writers

06 January, 2016 by Brian Karlovsky

Skins creator and co-writer Brian Elsley has given a ringing endorsement of six young Australian writers after working with them to develop new youth drama Deadlock in a Byron Bay script lab.

The UK writer signed on for the project after he was approached by Every Cloud Productions’ executive producers, Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, who were keen to use some of Elsley’s innovative techniques following the international success of controversial teen series Skins.


Elsley told IF he was surprised by the depth of talent.

“Deb and Fiona approached me because I had used that technique of bringing young teenagers into the process right at the beginning,” he said.

“They instinctively wanted to do something similar.”

The young writers, selected from almost 200 applications included Billie Pleffer, Michelle Law, Lucy Campbell, Seaton Kay-Smith, Shane Salvador and Tim Logan.

They were joined by multi-platform writer Mike Jones, local Indigenous writer Jon Bell and YouTube stars Danny and Michael Philippou, creators of the Racka Racka channel.

Elsley said he thought the approach to the project was strong from the outset.

“It consisted of some very collaborative approaches among the writers and we brought in a number of teenagers from the Byron Bay area and they were completely integrated into the writers’ work,” he said.

“The six emerging writers are unusually talented and unusually exciting and that’s just a testament to Deb and Fiona.

“It’s very exciting when you meet young people like that who are really going to do something in the future. 

“I am very happy with result and I think the project is more exciting than it was at the beginning.”

To ensure authenticity of story, the workshop involved people from the Northern Rivers aged betwee 16-18.

The teenagers helped inform the content and delivery platforms by sharing their stories, ideas and experiences.

Elsley said international streaming platforms had changed the rules to a degree.

“The impact of these international platforms means they have to be a little more challenging and edgy in their material and for that reason I think this project in particular is an opportunity to do something edgy and truly Australian, but a little bit more out there.”

Deadlock reveals the recklessness, vibrancy and resilience of Australian youth through the anarchic lives of its central teenage cast.

When long-standing regional rivalries explode at a wild late-night party, the mystery and chaos of what happens beneath the tropical gloss of an idyllic costal town is exposed, divulging candid but also darkly humorous stories of the youth of the town.

Deadlock will be developed as a multiplatform storytelling experience, creating stories authenticated by young voices and connecting with its target audience through music and humour.

The project developed and funded with the support of the Screen Australia Enterprise Stories Program.

Every Cloud Productions will deliver the workshop on December 14-18, 2015, in partnership with Northern Rivers Screenworks

 Deadlock is an original concept by Deb Cox, developed for Every Cloud Productions with Fiona Eagger.