For Hannah Lehmann, putting her TV drama on social media app Instagram was a no-brainer.
"I was really surprised to see that no one had done it. It just seemed so obvious to me. People, especially my generation, we use Instagram every day, like constantly," the 28-year-old says. "It just made sense to put the show right there where everyone spends most of their time."
Lehmann, a UNSW Art & Design graduate from Redfern, is the actor and creator of The Out There (@TheOutThere), a local sci-fi drama following an alienated young woman who befriends a ghost. The series, uploaded daily to Instagram, plays in minute-long episodes, using Instagram's own playback time limit as a 'Dogme 95'-style creative hurdle.
With its pristine production and themes of grief, queerness and the afterlife, it packs a surprising amount into its micro frame – and stands out amid Instagram's traditional stream of selfies and food porn.
The series launched on Instagram in September 2017, but its second season, which climaxed on the platform last week, ups the ante on its predecessor, with complex time-jumps and moody atmospherics.
The step-up comes after Lehmann sold the rights to the series to US production company Adolescent Content, who came on board as executive producers and commissioned the show's second season.
"I completely self-financed the first season and made that for less than $1,000; the second season was a bit more than that," says Lehmann.
"It's been really interesting, because I've had the largest reception to the work in the US," she adds. "After the first season was released, I had a lot of meetings but people didn't really know how to place it here... In the States, they're more open to different ideas and can capitalise on it.
"There's more opportunity, more companies making that kind of work... The Australian film industry is just not up to that level of understanding how content can be produced and distributed."
Outside of being its hosting platform, Instagram has no stake in the series, says Lehmann.
"They've seen it, they know about it... But my involvement with them is nothing," she says. "I just wanted to use the platform in a way it hadn't really been used before. And I think I was quite ahead of the curve, because Instagram has now released IGTV."
IGTV is Instagram's new foray into video, an attempt to challenge YouTube's video supremacy. Launched in late June, it extends the app's video capabilities, allowing creators to upload up to hour-long videos.
Videos are vertical and full-length, optimised for daily phone use, but the app mimics a TV feed, playing video as soon as it's opened without the need for searching and browsing.
Nicci Meek, strategic partnership manager at Instagram, says the new features were driven by a recognition "that how the world watches video is changing, but the format and experience hadn't kept up".
"We're seeing creators use the platform to showcase their passions, with a new scope to create and share longer content. Some have used the platform to start weekly cooking shows, share in-depth make-up tutorials, or showcase live music performances.
"IGTV allows them to build out their brand and bring the audience deeper into their lives and personalities," she says.
While the changes signal a new direction for Instagram, Lehmann says IGTV's features will have little impact on The Out There and similar ideas.
"The thing about YouTube and now IGTV is, obviously anyone can upload any sort of content," she says. "The way I see my show is quite high concept; I want it to stand out and look like it could belong on Netflix or Stan.
"On Instagram, we have a dedicated page for the show, and it really creates its own kind of world for the show to exist. It's always going to be there and people can tag their friends and discover it in their own time... If it was on IGTV or YouTube, it would just get lost in the constant stream of stuff."
For Lehmann, who says she's keen on a third season to tie up the loose ends laid out in its second, the ultimate goal, despite its catchy Instagram hook, is to develop the series into a longer format.
"Instagram is a great platform but my goal is to be a showrunner, to create my own work, produce it, act in it, assemble a crew to work on it," she says. "This kind of project was really that, to show that I can sort of run my own show on a micro, micro, micro scale and push it forward successfully."