A new locally-made web series takes the city as one of its main sources of inspiration.
Runaway Moon turns spotlight on Adelaide
As both a production and as a story, new web series Runaway Moon could only be made in Adelaide.
Series co-creators Aaron Schuppan and Hanna Galbraith are using the city as one of the main characters in their tale of three teenage misfits who find themselves in rapidly escalating circumstances over one tumultuous night.
“The city itself is a character – it’s an obstacle,” says Hanna. “It couldn’t really be set in any city other than Adelaide.
“People think that Adelaide is this nice small town, but it’s very sparse and very spaced out and there’s nowhere to hide and it’s very hard to get away when you can’t catch a cab or a bus and your phone is dead.”
The story of Runaway Moon is semi-autobiographical – based on Hanna’s own experiences as a young runaway. Now an actor, Hanna created the concept for the story and collaborated with Adelaide director and writer Aaron Schuppan to adapt it for the screen.
The pair have rallied a strong team of local creatives around them to execute their vision, something Aaron says would not be possible in some of the larger cities where he’s previously worked.
“It’s all relationships. Everyone on this is someone I’ve worked with on something else, done favours for, they’ve worked for me, I’ve worked for them, or we’ve worked on something together,” he says.
“And now we all boil to a head on a project that makes us feel like it’s a worthy way to spend our time – making something that lifts us all up together.”
The crew includes successful stand-alone artists like Liam Somerville and Mandy Nash, and the collaboration also reaches out to Adelaide’s local music scene by incorporating songs from 15 different bands on the soundtrack.
It’s been an uphill battle to make the series so far, with potential backers shying away from material that they’re worried “has no silver lining”.
But Hanna and Aaron are determined to bring it to life because of a strong belief that stories borne from realism are the best vehicles for communication.
“They’re not victims of their circumstance, they’re just people in a circumstance,” says Aaron. “But then people look at it and they think, ‘well I don’t understand what the message is, I don’t understand what I’m supposed to feel about this’.”
“At the end of the day, I don’t want it to be a ‘poor me’ sort of story,” Hanna adds. “I want it to be kind of honouring the people who are still stuck in that situation and I want it to reach out to them.
“And anyway, we’ve all been a teenager. We’ve all struggled with our sexual identity and whether we belong and bullying and drug abuse and whatever. Not everybody has gone off the rails, but all our brain chemicals were messed up at one point.”
The tone of the story is also key to its ability to rise above cliches of youth homelessness and teenage drama. Humour is a strong part of the series – something that springs from the personalities of central characters Moonie, Kitty and Travis.
The plot-driven narrative also keeps the action rolling at pace, preventing the audience from wallowing in the tough nature of the world in which the plot is set.
“Their situation is not the story,” says Aaron. “It’s a crime caper which is why people are going to dig it.”
“In real life, people don’t sit around and talk about their situation, they just get on with what needs to be done,” says Hanna. “That’s what film does. You see how people feel through what occurs on screen, you don’t need to be told.”
The pair are currently running an Indie GoGo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for production and hope to begin filming the full series in June.