If You Want Fresh Blood, You Got It

Press release time!

ABC and Screen Australia on the hunt for more Fresh Blood

The ABC and Screen Australia team are once again teaming up to uncover the next generation of great Australian comedy talent through the hugely successful Fresh Blood initiative.

Submissions are now open for new and emerging comedy acts to apply.  Creators from all backgrounds, abilities, and identities who meet the selection criteria are encouraged to apply.

As part of the joint initiative to unearth a new generation of comedic talent, 10 teams will receive $50,000 to produce 3 x 5min comedy shorts and will participate in a workshop to be held in Sydney, in August 2023. These shorts will premiere simultaneously on ABC and creators’ social media platforms.

From there, up to 3 teams will be selected to create a longer pilot between 20-27 minutes in length, with potential to be commissioned by the ABC as a series.

We’re looking for applicants with original comedy ideas.  They can be narrative, sketch, vertical, as long as the ideas are fresh, the comedy is strong and has the potential to be developed into a full series.  Ultimately, want to be surprised.

Since Fresh Blood began in 2013 the initiative has launched the careers of countless acts including the rock stars of comedy, Aunty Donna, and the animated series Koala Man, featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman and Sarah Snook.

Screen Australia’s Head of Online Lee Naimo said, “We are so thrilled to be joining the ABC once again in supporting a new wave of comedic talent through the Fresh Blood initiative. We’ve seen first-hand the launchpad that this initiative provides, through the ongoing success of alumni like Skit Box, Nina Oyama and Angus Thompson and the team from Why Are You Like This. I can’t wait to see the doors it opens for the new crop of talent that comes through this time around.”

Nick Hayden, ABC Head of Entertainment said, “Fresh Blood continues the tradition of the ABC supporting new comedic voices.  Sometimes those voices tell us, ‘she doesn’t even go here’ other times ‘ok, boomer’.  Whatever they say this time, we’re excited to see what this new crop can dream up!”

Todd Abbott, ABC Head of Comedy said, “One of the ABC’s most important roles is to find and nurture new comedy talent, and Fresh Blood provides a great opportunity to open the gates and amp up that search.”

For further information about the Fresh Blood initiative or to apply please visit the Fresh Blood website or read the guidelines.

Applications close 4pm, Monday 29 May 2023.

On the one hand, it’s good to see the ABC finally realising they can’t keep a comedy department running just on reboots of Mother & Son and re-commissioning Utopia. On the other, has Fresh Blood ever served up any real winners?

This press release mentioned Aunty Donna, who had gone so far as to have a series on Netflix before the ABC got around to giving them a go. It also mentioned Koala Man, which is definitely a success but not an ABC series. Anyone had any recent updates from the Why Are You Like This team?

In fact, Fresh Blood hasn’t really helped anyone long term as far as the ABC is concerned. Sure, they’ve been unearthing a new generation of comedy talent – and then they’ve been dumping that earth right back on top of them.

Which isn’t a surprise at all, as previous series have seemed much more about getting a bunch of cheap comedy shorts to show on digital channels as a way of promoting the ABC (see “These shorts will premiere simultaneously on ABC and creators’ social media platforms.”) than actually giving comedians real opportunities to have an on going career with the ABC.

It’ll be interesting to see if this round is any different.

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