Albany's an ace place for grommets and grommettes. White-powdered beaches overlook whales flipping in King George Sound, all set in a landscape seemingly formed to fire the youthful imagination: from Mount Many Peaks to the crumbling ruins of the town's whaling past. Says 15-year-old surfer Wade Costello: "Everything you need is here." Including, now, a Hollywood-style film set. Last decade one of Albany's famous sons, novelist Tim Winton, created a young surf rat not too dissimilar to Wade, and the children's TV series based on him, Lockie Leonard, has been shooting at the author's alma mater, Albany Senior High School. While the cost of lugging cast and crew more than 400 km south of Perth for the 21-week shoot undoubtedly cut into the $A7.5 million budget, the decision was a natural one for producer Kylie du Fresne. "Everything Tim writes about in the book is here," she says. While Winton fictionalized his childhood Albany as Angelus, the pristine beaches and the old police station where his father worked survive. For the school scenes of Lockie Leonard, there are also more extras than you can poke a stick at. Willingly confined to a classroom and wearing their own uniforms on a sunny afternoon during their holidays, kids let loose with hormones and havoc as director Roger Hodgman reins in this largely local and inexperienced cast. "They're terrific," he says. Chalked on the blackboard are the words "student self-assessment What are your: Dreams, Goals, Skills and Talents? Achievement + Knowledge = Success." Aspiring actress Verity Gorman, 13, seems to have learned the lesson. Asked to audition for the 26-part series (which will be screened in Australia and England next year), she won the role of Lockie's posh classmate Sasha, a poised figure not unlike herself (pictured). "This has given me a small taste of what it's really like," she says of filmmaking. Tastes like teen spirit.