Zombies, ghosts and witches just don’t cut it for Halloween anymore. Young Australians are far more likely to be spooked by the idea of no WiFi in the share house, killer vegan smoothies or cursed games of two-up.
Enter hit horror-comedy web series Girt By Fear, which follows six young Sydney-siders on their way to a Halloween party. Good times quickly turn bad when all manner of frightening, horrific and just plain gory events befall the group.
Created by UTS media arts and production alumni Yiani Andrikidis, David Ma, Joel Perlgut and Madeleine Purdy, Girt By Fear has played at Melbourne WebFest, LA Webfest, Toronto WebFest and London’s Raindance Film Festival, to name just a few.
With the first episodes created as part of Ma’s final Media Arts Project at UTS, and the rest following once the friends graduated, the series now has streaming services and media heavy-hitters sitting up and paying attention.
Of course, the series started back in Bon Marche with the students spending two years together producing Girt By Fear. Along the way, Andrikidis, Perlgut, Purdy and Ma have learned plenty of lessons about filmmaking and working as a team.
“We’re friends first and collaborators second,” says Purdy. “Collaborating is always pushed as a professional skill but I honestly think that if we weren’t all so close, it just wouldn’t have been as effective.
“We can say or try completely outlandish things knowing that everyone will laugh with us and not at us, and that’s been absolutely crucial to our development.”
With Andrikidis, Purdy and Ma sharing directing credits across the six episodes, Perlgut the writer, and all being producers, the unexpected ideas and outcomes developed on-set have been key. But the biggest lesson to come from Girt By Fear, the group says, is how important it is to put yourself out there and commit to creating something new.
“No one is going to ask you straight out of uni to make a TV show – no one even wants to see your short film!” says Perlgut. “You have to take these things for yourself and go out and make stuff and that’s really what Girt by Fear is for us.”
Purdy continues: “Putting our work online as a web series was very much about us trying to do it for ourselves. We knew we wanted to make something happen and the only people who would really trust us were ourselves.”
While none admit to being horror buffs, the genre was identified early on as a way to combine low-budget effects with compelling storytelling to communicate the political, controversial and often taboo issues being faced by Australian millennials.
Says Perlgut, “The best part about uni is that you meet people who have that same interest who you can then work with and actually make things with, and that’s been so valuable.”
So what’s next for Andrikidis, Perlgut, Purdy and Ma? Stay tuned! A bigger, more diverse, and of course, scarier season two is already underway.