It’s Like Putting Dracula in Charge of the Blood Bank

Press release time!

From the 20 sketch comedy teams selected as Fresh Blood’s Class of 2017, four will now receive $75,000 each to produce a half-hour pilot to premiere on ABC iview in 2018.

The four projects are Be Your Own Boss created by Becky Lucas and Cameron James; animation Koala Man created by Michael Cusack; The Angus Project created by Nina Oyama and Angus Thompson; and Why Are You Like This created by Naomi Higgins, Mark Samual Bonanno and Humyara Mahbub.

Fresh Blood is the highly successful joint initiative between ABC and Screen Australia created in 2013 to unearth a new generation of comedic talent. Previous recipients have included Aunty Donna, Fancy Boy and Skit Box.

In March 2017, 20 teams from hundreds of applications were selected to create 3 x 3-5min sketches. All 60 sketches are now available on ABC COMEDY on iview. Plus ABC will also broadcast a ‘Best of Fresh Blood’ three-part series on ABC COMEDY on Tuesday 18 January at 9.30pm, hosted by Wil Anderson.

In December 2017, the 20 teams participated in an exclusive workshop led by industry representatives to learn the skills required to build a sustainable career. Each team was subsequently invited to submit ideas for half-hour comedy pilots, and from those submissions four teams have been selected for production funding.

All four pilots will be delivered by June 2018 and will premiere on ABC COMEDY in the second half of the year. ABC and Screen Australia hope to take one of these four pilots to a full series in 2019.

ABC Director of Television, David Anderson said: “The ABC has long been the home of comedy and innovative content, consistently delivering fresh programming for Australian audiences. Together with Screen Australia, our Fresh Blood initiative continues to demonstrate a commitment to nurturing Australia’s next generation of creative talent, giving new voices the opportunity to shine, with the possibility of a series commission.”

Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia said: “There is no shortage of comedy talent in Australia and we are incredibly grateful to ABC iview for providing a premium online platform for these Fresh Blood voices to be heard. We’re thrilled that this program has attracted so many projects that are female driven and display such diversity, and I would like to offer my congratulations to the four teams who are being given the enviable opportunity to create a pilot based on the strength of their outstanding series pitches.”

The four pilots that will go into production are:

BE YOUR OWN BOSS
30 mins
Created by Becky Lucas, Cameron James
Synopsis A mockumentary series that dips into the lives and struggles of several desperate couples that are living the Australian Dream – to be your own boss.

KOALA MAN
30 mins
Created by Michael Cusack
Synopsis Koala Man is about a local suburban superhero with no special powers but a strong and burning passion to snuff out petty crime and bring order to the community.

THE ANGUS PROJECT
30 mins
Producer Craig Anderson
Created by Nina Oyama and Angus Thompson
Synopsis Angus, a hard partying guy with cerebral palsy and his reckless carer Erika, get up to no good in a conservative country town.

WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS
30 mins
Created by Naomi Higgins, Mark Samual Bonanno, Humyara Mahbub
Synopsis Why Are You Like This is a sharp, dialogue driven comedy that is unforgivingly harsh. Best friends Penny and Mia inadvertently dissect the dark side of human nature – premises that are often taboo – all the while blissfully ignorant of how many people they upset.

Are these the four shows we thought were the best of the current Fresh Blood crop? Uh, no?

Okay, to be honest of these four we’ve only seen one – Why Are You Like This, which we thought was… well, read for yourself:

Two annoying millennial women housesit for a third woman who’s gone off to do housebuilding work in Africa for a charity. The taller and more dominant of the millennial woman, who constantly bullies, chides and one-ups the shorter millennial woman, claims she is better than the one doing housebuilding in Africa and can make lots of money online by selling her poo to perverts. So, she does, making $80,000. In the third episode, the two millennial women start talking about cum and what it looks like, which leads to a sequence in which they perfect a recipe for fake cum. None of this is funny.

We’re slightly surprised Kiki and Kitty didn’t get up – it certainly seemed to be getting a bit of press, and was one out of two of the ones we have seen (the other being Let’s Break ’em Up!) that seemed worthwhile.

[edit – Kiki and Kitty were getting good press because they weren’t part of Fresh Blood. Seems we got our various late-2017 ABC online comedy initiatives mixed up, sorry. We should have realised something was up when we were saying nice things about two Fresh Blood entrants.]

But when you’re up against a series about a crap superhero and a hard-partying guy with cerebral palsy it’s always going to be an uphill struggle to get laughs.

As for the line “There is no shortage of comedy talent in Australia”… yeah, we’d beg to differ there.

With nowhere currently available to actually train comedy talents or give them real work experience on television, all Fresh Blood is currently doing is giving a lot of people with nothing but their own conviction that they’re funny some “much needed” exposure.

And now, it seems, $75,000.

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