We all know that soaps such as Eastenders have comfortable stereotypes removed from all of reality. A situation created by the White Folks in Power who think will make it easier for the audience to switch off and get into the drama so why not go the whole hog and make it the selling point? Voila! Here’s one I made that the corporation can use with pride.
The BBC bird watching show is popular but very 1950’s and in dire need of updating for a younger generation so what better way is there than pitching this great idea. A human side of the bird watching franchise along the lines of One Dead Every Minute (or whatever it’s called).
To anyone in the know this is a genuine BBC Commissioning window and let’s face it, the idea itself can make the BBC the new Channel 4.
So, the recent event to address the lack of diversity in media was a psuedo-success judging by the varied voices that were vocal at the current situation. I say pseudo as nothing has been set in concrete.
There were a few suggestions such as setting quotas but these ideas are made by people who have established themselves in media. What i want to express is ideas presented by a person who has tried numerous times to get his projects made and consantly been rebuffed. Essentially an outsider like me.
*disclaimer: This is not a blatant opportunity for me to get my scripts made (though it would be nice!) but a chance to level the playing field for all people*
1- Online: The various TV channels are now experimenting with their online divisions and in the case of Channel 4 they do these showcase opportunities. The latter’s last attempt was a disaster to the community as they ran a scheme called ‘Comedy Blaps ‘ where it was an open call to send in your submissions but the chosen shows were from the establishment (for the most part) like Baby Cow et al. This rendered it a dispiriting waste of time for all those who made the effort. What needs to be done is utilize these digital portals to properly showcase new talent at a fraction of the budget. Please look at the last line as i have worked on things for poverty level prices and even getting a few grand to bring something real will be money better spent.
2- Talent Scouts: I have seen numerous comedy talents in my time who are simply shut out because their face doesn’t fit the same generic people on panel shows. I am not saying put any old person on but pay attention to who can add a little quirkiness. Essentially the talent scouts should be fearless to “think outside the box” and have the backup to do so.
3- Workshops: They don’t work for the most part and it’s essentially there to make the managers sleep well at night. More thought should be made as to the point of direction and outcome for these. No point giving people a training session if it doesn’t lead anywhere.
You can certainly experiment without disrupting the core franchises. If the current mindset was applied 30 years ago there would simply be no Hanif Kureishi and he made some brilliant edgy stuff. The type that will not be made today unless change is made.
That’s it for positive action plans but three is enough right?
As for me i have set up my own website and production company and fighting on my rules (with no money!) in the hope something breaks. I mean look at Spike Lee, he did it by being angry/pushy/ focused and so am i.
So, with the lack of good parts for Black and Asian talent (for the most part) in recent years, mainstream media is resorting to Matt Lucas and David Walliams blacking up for comedic effect.
The fact that nobody talks about this with much shock (again, for the most part) but you mention The Black and White Minstrel Show and it’s the opposite effect.
Well, congratulations on the BBC to pretty much saying “well, it’s not racist if it’s funny”… much the same way as the other classic shows, Mind Your Language, Ain’t Half Hot Mum and the creme de la creme Love Thy Neighbour.
Congratulations for these mighty titans of comedy taking comedy back to the 70’s.
Here is something I don’t get; I get grilled about getting the perfect one line pitch that sells a sitcom script. Fine, it’s all good as nobody needs to hear some meandering semi nebulous idea of a boy in love with a fish (believe it or not this was made into a short film that propelled a talentless director to current mainstream success. When I recently went to a pitch session with established commissioners my semi meandering was battered to submission and I learned a lot about being concise and to the point. I may have a few completed scripts but before I get there I need to pitch within 3 minutes to people who have less than 2 for such things.
So what’s my point?
Read this for a pitch: Two supermarket colleagues who are forced to drive together in a company car share scheme.
Admittedly it is a press release for the public but as it’s Peter Kay, he must have had a longer pitch to go into more detail as the one-liner is a bit of an uninspiring one even though you know it will be a well-written show and therefore should have been worded better as if you are sitting in front of the commissioner himself . The people reading the article are going to be the eventual audience anyway.
Another pitch made is: A three-parter written by Peep Show co-writer Jesse Armstrong, about a politician compromised by his sexual appetites, is planned for BBC2.
Again with his pedigree it will be a solidly written piece of work but as the pitch is given it sounds pretty much like the other similarly themed programmes made recently. Sounds generic and if I pitched these two as they were I would be curtly kicked in the face. But then again they have earned their merit badges and can say anything/ do anything and have more time with the commissioners. Maybe it just took me 331 words to just say hypocrisy.
In essence I have to get my act to 3 mins and the established get considerably longer.