Connected Studio - BBC Comedy Update

Producer BBC Comedy

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Since we announced our intention to run a Connected Studio for Comedy back in June, quite a lot has happened. First we held a briefing event attended by lots of different digital companies and agencies. There was a really great buzz about the project; everyone was excited by the brief to explore new ways of telling stories.

Following this, over twenty companies applied in the hope of being part of the Development Studio event. The quality of the submissions was extremely high and it was a difficult judging process and sadly we could only take eight companies to the next stage.

The Teams were:

Over two days on the South Bank in London, Comedy Production, Connected Studio and the eight digital companies came together to explore new ways of telling the story we had chosen. We began by watching one of the ‘Inside No. 9’ TV episodes, and discussing the claustrophobic, pressure cooker nature of the storytelling.

The eight teams were then given time, space and support to put together their proposals for a digital experience to tell the story. We gave them access to the writer Ed Hime, feedback sessions with members of the target audience to help refine their ideas, and time with comedy actors to shoot video or photographs they would like to use in their pitches.

Here is a video which gives a flavor of the event and what we hope to achieve from this collaboration.

BBC Comedy and Connected Studio host an event exploring new ways of digital storytelling

At the end of the second day, we were completely bowled over with eight wildly creative and distinctive pitches. The teams enjoyed pitching in front of each other, something they were not used to. The bar was set very high, but after  the judging process, we decided to offer the project to Kanoti, who had proposed to create an HTML 5 scrolling photo comic to tell the story.

We have now kicked off the project and over the next month or so we will see Kanoti’s creative vision start to take shape. We’re excited to see a great story and a new format working together to deliver an innovative and engaging pilot that will be hosted online.

Next step is casting for the shoot and then filming the cinemagraph images and recording the audio. Meanwhile Kanoti are working on the development of the technology that will power the experience which is HTML5 parallax scrolling, cinemagraphs and audio to create an audio visual story experience.  Parallax scrolling is essentially a technique employed in 2D, layered computer games where the background moves slower than the foreground in order to give a feeling of depth, very similar to the technique used in early animation.

This collaboration between BBC Comedy and Connected Studio is just a part of the BBC exploring new ways of production.  For us in BBC Comedy it is a foray into creating new digital experiences, whether they're connected to a TV show or exist as a standalone experience.  While for Connected Studio it is finding new ways of working with Content Production and bringing them together with digital content makers.   

For more details on the Connected Studio initiative, visit the Connected Studio website   

Jon Aird is a producer in BBC Comedy


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