Griffith Film School (GFS) alumni have written, produced and directed a new scripted podcast for Amazon’s popular Audible platform.

Billed as Stranger Things meets All Aussie Adventures, Beyond Strange Lands features an all-star cast which includes Peter Phelps and Sacha Horler.

The podcast was originally designed as a proof of concept for a TV sci-fi adventure series, as part of a Screen Queensland initiative.

A brave new world

The podcast has also allowed the young filmmakers to get their work in front of an audience, despite the current restrictions on filming.

GFS graduate Danielle Redford produced the series, and said it had enabled the team to pivot to a new platform.

“This was originally intended to be a way to build an audience for a TV series or feature, but podcasting is also such a rich storytelling tool,”she said.

“It’s been a beautiful opportunity to try something different, and I think it’s a great model for independent Australian creatives.

“With a short film or feature, you’re competing in a big market, but this is a chance to play at the other end of the scale and get your stories out there.”

A platform for Australian stories

Simon Taylor wrote the script for the series with fellow Masters of Screen Production graduate David Peterson.

Now a sessional lecturer at GFS, Simon has worked in development with renowned local production companies including LUDO Studio, Freshwater Pictures and Like a Photon Creative.

He said it was fantastic to see Audible throw their support behind emerging Australian creatives.

“I think filmmakers need to be able to be agile, and find the best way to tell their story.

“I hope this project inspires our students at GFS to try their hand at scripted podcasts – it is the perfect vehicle for young scriptwriters.”

Simon said his time at Griffith Film School had helped hone his storytelling skills.

“Film school has played a huge role in my life,” he said.

“I met my writing partner David in the Masters program, and I think our time at GFS helped us find our voice.”

A learning curve

Fellow Griffith Film School graduate Hannah Ariotti took on directing duties for Stranger Lands.

She said directing her first podcast had been a steep learning curve.

“We definitely jumped off the deep end, and we’ve all learned so much,” she said.

“We adopted the mindset that everything we bring to the project as filmmakers is valuable, and what we didn’t know was a great opportunity to try new things.

“It’s such a fertile environment for creatives.”

The sound of success

The podcast was recorded at Emmy Award-winning recording studio Folklore Sound, founded by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University alumnus Thom Kellar.

“We couldn’t have made this podcast without Folklore – they took the concept and ran with it,” Hannah said.

“We used immersive binaural sound, which gives a 3D experience and really puts the listener at the heart of the action.”

Beyond Strange Lands is free for Audible members and anyone taking up Audible’s free 30-day trial.