Nationwide journey to talk with strangers


From the hilarious to the heartbreaking, from the poignant to the downright weird — a fascinating project that witnesses total strangers sharing their most intimate thoughts on life and love has launched online.

Written, directed and produced by Griffith Film School graduates David Ridley and Martin Ingle, Into the Middle of Things captures the duo’s 13,000km journey across Australia to spontaneously interview total strangers.

And the results are fascinating and diverse: with farmers, hipsters, Aboriginal elders, refugees, a butterfly man, a Buddhist monk, a Vietnam vet, a witchdoctor and even a nudist.

Over the course of a year, one interview will now be released every week online, for free.

Talking with strangers

“Listening to the intimate stories of complete strangers — their hopes, disappointments, memories and dreams as told from their own mouths — was equally fascinating and shocking,” David says.

“We passed through big cities and small towns, and through the dozens and dozens of vibrant people we discovered, we really got to experience the diversity of characters and stories that can be found in Australia.

“Australia is a diverse and captivating land, and so are the humans who live there.

“The diversity and depth of these people’s experiences put our own lives into perspective, and we hope to now share that discovery,” he says.

David and Martin during their 13,000km journey across Australia.

Graduating from Griffith Film School in 2011, the pair found common ground working on several projects together throughout their studies.

“Studying filmmaking at university is a very unique experience. It’s a pressure cooker where you are pushed to your limit, both emotionally and financially,” says Martin.

“But what this means is that you come out the other side of it with connections and friendships that were forged through those tough times, and those are the ones that last.”

The documentary series will continue for the following year. Just some of the stories that have been released so far include:

  • Robb: “Love’s not a real word, I don’t think…”

Dry-docked in the carpark of the Darwin Yacht Club you’ll find Robb, an ex-pat and ex-con who once died three times in the same day. At seventeen years old, he was in jail and had just found out he was a father to a child he was told he’d never meet. He thinks we’ve got it wrong when it comes to Love.

During filming: Robb and his wife Sue cooked David and Martin dinner after his interview and let them sleep on their boat that night to keep them out of the Darwin wet.
During filming: Robb and his wife Sue cooked David and Martin dinner after his interview and let them sleep on their boat that night to keep them out of the Darwin wet.
  • Megan: “People don’t understand happiness…”

When she was only seventeen, Megan moved to Sydney with dreams of becoming an actress. So how was it that we found her thirty years later walking her gorgeous bloodhound along a quiet lane in rural Victoria? A quiet, simple and heartfelt interview.

Some behind the scenes action from Megan's interview.
Some behind the scenes action from Megan’s interview.
  • Chris: Skinhead turned butterfly farmer

When we drove into the tropical town of Batchelor, NT, we asked aroundwho the biggest character was. We were instantly told to go find the Butterfly Man.

But what we found was not just a butterfly man; he had been a skinhead, a soldier, an oil rig worker, a bouncer, and his journey had somehow led him to tend to butterflies in a small Northern Territory town.


  • Lauren: Love, grief, sexuality

Lauren was in Brisbane at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. At no older than 20 she has experienced the love and loss of a much older person. A challenging, confronting, and hilarious interview but an incredibly moving one.

The project has been undertaken by the duo under their Brisbane-based business, Gawky Media.

Watch all the stories online: