Last month we announced the 12 individuals who would be participating in Fast and Funny – a new comedy collaboration between BBC Writersroom, Connected Studios and BBC Comedy focusing on creating the next wave of comic internet sensations. One of the dynamic dozen, Susan Riddell, reports back on what’s been happening so far…
The timing of getting through to BBC's Fast and Funny scheme, for me, was spooky. I’d written a column for the Daily Record for almost two years and I felt it was time for something new. I'd literally just spoken with my editor about moving on and an email popped up with the subject heading: FAST AND FUNNY. Being the optimistic soul I am I thought it would be a polite rejection, but to my surprise I'd been shortlisted. I'd entered the competition a few weeks earlier after seeing it on Twitter. Entrants were asked to make a short, funny video and the best would be selected to take part in a six month scheme to develop their skills and publish their work on BBC Scotland social media platforms. My entry was a Vine sitcom called 'Different Breeds' starring two slices of bread: Poppy (the posh one) and Janey (the basic batch, geddit?). I'd had the idea for a while and the competition gave me a reason to make it.
For me, the difficult thing about writing comedy, isn't coming up with ideas, but getting them made. Unlike a stand-up or an actress I don't want to perform my material. I'm also not the best with technology, so making videos also seemed a bit out of reach. So getting through to Fast and Funny and meeting people with different skills has been amazing. Among us there are stand-ups, animators, musicians, actresses, actors and folk who prefer behind the scenes stuff like filming and editing.
At our first gathering we watched clips of online content discussing what makes people tune in and tune out. This was enlightening and depressing in equal measure but I'll discuss that in the next blog. After the class our first assignment was to make a short Valentine's video. I wrote a sketch called ‘Bad Cupid’ which involved Cupid getting into trouble off his Dad for making bad decisions i.e. Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall. Thankfully, Scott Gibson, a comedian who was taking part in a similar BBC Scotland project ‘Short Stuff’ agreed to play Cupid. Another comedian in my class, Stephen Buchanan, agreed to film it. Scott managed to get fellow comedians Raymond Mearns and Michael Redmond to play the other parts. I couldn’t believe how generous everyone was with their time considering how busy they were with their own stuff. To show my gratitude I gave them rolls n cauld meat and crisps.
Our next meeting was a masterclass with Robert Florence. I knew Rab from a previous project so it was nice to hear what he had to say about making online content. He talked about the videos he’d made for BBC Scotland over the festive period and why some performed better than others. Other topics included advice on getting an agent and encouraging us to work together to really make the most of the opportunity. Our pending assignment is to make a Mother’s Day video and everyone in the group seems up for helping each other out. I’m working with three other people from our group, Graham Hughes who’s into directing plus Anabel Logan and Rachel Jackson who both tread the boards for a living. Hopefully between the four of us we’ll come up with something both Fast and Funny.
Update! Here are two of the videos from the Fast and Funny team…
Gavin Grant - Your Ma
Sandy Bouttell - Mother's Day Phone Call