Kym Melzer’s, The Ripple Effect of PTSD, explores the astonishing effects PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferers experience in their day to day life. This particular series focuses on veterans, consisting of seven web episodes which documents their experiences and the impact it has had on the people in their life.

The episodes in the series feature veterans and the ‘ripple effect’ it has on their partners, families and wider communities. Their heart-warming journey educates audiences on the matter, in the hope that one day they will be able to help others who suffer from the disorder.

This Australian series was released in 2016 by filmmaker Kym Melter with Melter Films. We spoke to Kym, to ask what inspired her to create a web series featuring veterans.

How long did it take to produce and shoot the series?
I started pre-production for The Ripple Effect of PTSD in late 2014, moving into production in 2015, and completed the 7-part series in July 2016.

What is your background as a web series creator?
My passion to produce short documentary film series started when I was an undergraduate at Griffith University. In 2015, I received a Griffith University PhD scholarship and began producing, The Ripple Effect of PTSD (2016), consisting of 7 short singular documentary films which explores how family and carers deal with the impact of PTSD as experienced by a group of veterans. This 7-part web series has been disseminated through impact partners websites, and through social media on the platforms YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. The films have been nominated for International Film Festivals, and we’re thrilled to be nominated for Best Student series in this year’s MWF.

What did you learn from making this series? What would you do differently?
I learned the importance of my interview technique when interviewing vulnerable people about sensitive issues, it cannot be ‘clinical’. What I’d do differently…I would shoot more B-Roll on location.

What did you want to achieve in creating this series?
The Ripple Effect of PTSD has exceeded the expectations of both myself and the film participants. Our goal was to raise awareness about the ‘ripple effect’ of PTSD on families and carers by distributing the series through social media. The singularity of the films had allowed them to be diversely disseminated and sent to specialised film festivals, which has increased the grass roots online community audience.

How did you approach the marketing of your series?
We had built an audience initially through crowd funding, and kept them informed. When the films were ready to be shared online we had market interest. The crowd funding supporters became our core audience who helped market the films by sharing them through their social media networks.

PTSD is such a traumatizing condition that is not often spoken about. Why did you decide to produce an entire web series on this topic?
Yes, there wasn’t anyone looking at or speaking about the impact of PTSD on the family and carers. I wanted to shine a light on the issues they faced. How do people cope in these situations? Who cares for the carer? My interest was in the alternative therapies and activities that helped these families manage in their everyday lives. The web series has been produced to help others who may be struggling, we want to let people know they are not alone. There is no one size fits all solution for PTSD. The personal stories in these emotional films have multiple messages through each of them, they have touched hearts and saved lives.

In regards to future documentaries do you think you will continue to focus on PTSD or do you think you will begin to explore different pathways?
Currently I am in production for, The Ripple Effect: TRIPLE ZERO, film series which focuses on the family and carers of Australian First Responders (police, firepersons, paramedics) afflicted by PTSD. The expected release date is 2018, beyond this I have no further plans.

What advice would you give to emerging creators?
Go for it! Don’t let obstacles stop you, keep pushing forward.


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