Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 24th April 2017, 2:08 PM
You've asked for advice on improvements to your set up. How about changing the judges? No, really. At present it's like having every cup final with the same ref. If there are teams with styles that ref doesn't take to then they're naturally less likely to win.
I don't know of any other major comp which doesn't change at least some of its judges every year and I strongly believe it's in the interests of fairness and inclusiveness to do so. At present it looks to me like entrants have to shape their whole sitcom script on advice given by the same two people with the same taste in sitcoms every year, and therefore the same narrow parameters exist making it hard for scripts with different parameters or styles not to the judges' taste to ever win. Cheers.
Good to hear from you and thanks for your feedback.
Well, we're not the final judges, those are people far above us in the sitcom industry world (last year it was Head of Comedy at ITV, Saskia Schuster; BBC Commissioning Editor, Chris Sussman; Sky Comedy's Tulisha Ghelani; BBC Comedy's Alex Moody and Comedy Central's Head of Development Matt Tiller).
So yes, we're the gatekeepers, but not the judges. In the past, we've longlisted 32 scripts and had fully rehearsed sitcoms in an FA Cup-style play-off which was lots of fun but not sustainable. We had audience votes and industry judge votes and in the end we decided that it was our heads that went above the parapets so we wanted to take greater control of what we showcased to the industry. The last thing we want is consensus by committee and we take responsibility for what we develop and share with the industry.
At the public showcases, we give the audience feedback forms and take their considerations into account, as well as the opinions of the actors that have read the scripts out loud. And we're considering bringing in an industry panel of development officers to read 12 scripts and get their feedback on them before we decide which 8 we're going to long list.
Also, we have a pretty catholic taste in sitcoms and aren't wedded to one particular style or definition, and are always looking for writers that play with and adapt sitcom conventions and push those boundaries.
Hope that helps.