Category: Comedy Hot House

New opportunity for North East comedy writers

Posted on by North East Screen

We have an exciting opportunity for comedy writers who are over the age of 18 and based in the North East.

We are looking to introduce writing talent from the region to Schnoobert, a production company that aims to encourage, train, and facilitate up and coming talent in the North East.

Schnoobert productions was created by award winning stand up, actor, screenwriter and executive producer, Jason Cook. Jason’s writing and production credits include UK Gold’s highest rated show to date Murder on the Blackpool Express, Death on the Tyne, and  Dial M for Middlesbrough.

Ten writers will be invited to take part in a writer’s round table with Schnoobert to aid the development of their writing and ideas.

This opportunity is aimed at writers rather than writer/performers (we have other opportunities for writer/performers planned for 2023). Both emerging and established writers can apply for this opportunity if they would like to receive an introduction to Jason and Schnoobert.

To apply, please send:

• A brief summary of your experience to date – please specify if you have TV credits

• Three example top lines

• A three-page writing sample (formatted)

• Completed NE Screen EDI Form (download here)

Please email these over as clearly labelled pdf attachments (with your name and which attachment it is) to hothouse@northeastscreen.org by midnight on Monday 23rd January. Please use “Introduction to Schnoobert” as the subject header of your email. Invitations to the writers round table will be sent out on the 20th of February.

Jason Cook, CEO of Schnoobert Productions said: “We’re really excited to be talking to new writers and hearing their ideas. It can often be nerve wracking sending something in for the first time. Will it be terrible? Is it only me that likes this? But what we are looking for are just interesting stories from creative minds, nothing is perfect when it’s in its first iteration so please just give us your most exciting ideas and we will do our best to realise them!”

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email hothouse@northeastscreen.org.

National media conference to be held in the North East in 2023

Posted on by North East Screen

The popular screen sector conference Creative Cities Convention will be held in the North East of England from the 26th to 27th of April, with a packed schedule of sessions and activities reflecting the boom in film, tv and digital production that’s underway across the UK.

The Creative Cities Convention (CCC) is a unique meeting place where content creators working outside London can network together and discuss the big media issues that affect them every day.

The event will take place at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, less than five minutes’ walk from the central station and an iconic building that started life in the 1820s as the home of Robert Stephenson and Company, the world’s first locomotive works. This beautiful, listed building has ample room for the main conference of over 300 delegates along with meet-the-commissioner sessions and a marketplace for different organisations to showcase their activities, topped off with a lively evening networking party. 

There will be student masterclasses and sessions in other parts of the wider North East too, where production is soaring as the region scales up to meet record investment from organisations like the BBC, local authorities and independent companies.

The CCC team will be working in partnership with North East Screen to deliver the conference and with the North of Tyne, South of Tyne and Tess Valley Combined Authorities, who have together formed the North East Screen Industries Partnership to rise to the challenge of growing production across all genres. 

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen says ‘We are delighted to welcome the Creative Cities Convention to our region at a time when production is increasing, partnerships are strengthening and growth in the sector is becoming a reality. To be hosting a convention of this scale and stature in the North East, which attracts content creators from all parts of the UK, is a real honour and an opportunity and we can’t wait to be involved and showcase the North East as a hotbed of creativity and talent.’

‘We could not be more thrilled to take our event to the North East in 2023,’ says conference director Ruth Pitt. ‘The screen sector is growing rapidly there, and the venue is accessible to content creators from right across the UK, whether you’re in Glasgow or Belfast, Manchester or Cardiff, Brighton or Bristol. We’re extending our sessions to offer even better takeout for everyone so it’s an event not to be missed’.

Last year’s conference was a sellout success at the Fazeley Studios in Birmingham, a return to normal after two years of pandemic disruption. This year the event will be extended to offer a full afternoon of sessions and a networking party on Day One and then another full day of debate and discussion on Day Two. BBC Newsnight journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark will return as host.

As the Creative Cities Convention celebrates its fifth birthday in 2023 there will be something of value for producers, freelances, broadcasters, streamers and students alike. 

BBC Comedy announces brand new supercharged bursary and grant schemes

Posted on by North East Screen

BBC Comedy today (Monday 19 December) announces two brand new opportunities for comedy talent as the BBC Comedy Collective and BBC Comedy Grants are launched.

The BBC Comedy Collective has been established as a supercharged bursary scheme which will continue to celebrate the work of writers, Felix Dexter, Caroline Aherne and Galton & Simpson, plus new producer and director representatives, Ash Atalla and Christine Gernon by offering 10 places to the next generation of writers, producers and directors who would like to develop their careers in scripted comedy.

BBC Comedy will be building on the great work that the individual writing bursaries have done to date, by bringing everyone together and adding in producers and directors to form this bursary supergroup of experience in a format that allows BBC Comedy to offer more opportunity, more places, more finance, more activity and more access to an instant network of comedy experts.

The BBC Comedy Collective comprises of estate representatives, Geoff Schuman & Paul Whitehouse (for Felix Dexter), Tessa La Bars and the Galton Family (for Galton & Simpson), Lucy Ansbro (for Caroline Aherne) plus the new producer and director representatives, Ash Atalla and Christine Gernon, alongside the alumni of previous BBC bursary winners.

This is not an entry level opportunity but will be open to anyone who has had at least one previous credit in writing, producing or directing in any genre, across any platform – such as radio, theatre, podcasts, stand up or commercials. Applicants will also need to be able to demonstrate a strong passion for and commitment to comedy.

Each bursary winner will receive up to £10,000 worth of paid shadowing on a BBC Comedy production, along with an allocated production mentor, plus a £5,000 development grant to put towards new material at the end of the placement. They will also have a dedicated point of contact within the BBC Comedy Commissioning team who will help guide them through their year, as well as access to the Comedy Collective representatives.

The bursary winners will have their expenses covered to attend up to three BBC comedy events over their year on the scheme. Events next year will include the BBC Comedy Festival taking place in Cardiff in May 2023, plus short film and networking evenings across the UK, with other events to be announced in due course.

Successful applicants will also receive exclusive access to bespoke training and personal development opportunities provided by the BBC Academy, plus access to BAFTA’s tailored programme of learning and career development activity for new entrants and emerging talent.

The BBC Comedy Collective will be working in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland and BBC Wales, with the support of BBC Writersroom, BBC History, BBC Academy, BAFTA and a range of screen agencies including North East Screen and Creative Wales. Within the 10 places, at least 1 will be guaranteed for an individual based in Scotland, 1 in Northern Ireland, 1 in Wales and 1 in Newcastle (the 2022 City of Comedy) and BBC Comedy will actively be encouraging applications from individuals from diverse and underrepresented groups.

BBC Comedy will be looking forward to welcoming the next generation of up-and-coming comedy talent from across the UK into the BBC Comedy Collective – Class of 23.  Previous BBC Comedy bursary winners have gone on to win script commissions, get agents, produce radio shows and make a BAFTA award-winning TV series.

Alongside the bursary, also confirmed today is a brand-new BBC Comedy Grants scheme which is an opportunity to increase BBC Comedy’s engagement with companies, organisations and communities from across the UK who want to support growth and access opportunity in comedy. The grants are aimed at small organisations, groups, charities or projects which are doing targeted comedy outreach across the UK. The grants are not for individuals to develop a project, or production companies developing ideas, but exclusively for outreach and inclusion activity with comedy. There will be 10 grants of £5k available, and applications will open on Monday 9th January.

Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy at the BBC said: “BBC Comedy is renowned worldwide for finding and nurturing some of the most brilliant writers and performers working in television and film today. The BBC Comedy Collective is a commitment to help ensure this remains the case and cast the net wider to include off screen talent such as directors and producers, who are often the unsung heroes of our most cherished shows.”

Tessa Le Bars & the Galton family on behalf of Galton & Simpson said: “Galton & Simpson Estates are delighted to be part of the expanded BBC Comedy Collective now being offered from 2023, following on the great work started by the original Galton and Simpson Writers Bursary in 2020, This new suite of bursaries will provide a back to front coverage of comedy production and we hope will deliver some exciting new works  next year and beyond to ensure the continuation of the great British sit-com genre started by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson way back in the 1950s.”

Geoff Schuman on behalf of Felix Dexter said “The BBC continues to be a fantastic creative partner in continuing the legacy of several famous comedians who have sadly passed away. They have been magnificent in their efforts to supporting the works of Felix Dexter and ensuring that his abilities will be remembered for generations. The BBC remains as one of the leading creative outlets for championing equality and diversity….Long may this continue.”

Paul Whitehouse on behalf of Felix Dexter said: “The BBC is the natural home of comedy along with much else in broadcasting. But certainly it is a “brand leader” in terms of comedy. So many shows that mean so much to us would not have been created without the beeb. It continues to develop and nurture new talent and one of the more novel ways is through the bursary system.”

Lucy Ansbro on behalf of Caroline Aherne: “Caroline Aherne’s Estate is honoured to stand alongside the powerhouse of creative talents that forms the new BBC Comedy Collective. The Corporation has always been front and centre when it comes to nurturing comedy talent from all walks of life and long may it continue. The Caroline Aherne Bursary was established by the BBC to foster a new generation of female performers in the North, so to be part of the expansion project means even more opportunity for those who reflect modern Britain to be heard.”

Ash Atalla said: “When the BBC asked me to be the producer representative, I laughed. What could a 6 times BAFTA winner be able to teach anyone? They talked me round and Im now genuinely delighted to part of the Comedy Top Gun Academy. I look forward to working with the best of the best”

Christine Gernon said: “The BBC is perhaps the greatest of our institutions and its history of nurturing and growing world class players is unrivalled.  This scheme offers so much for the future of our industry and I’m delighted and honoured to be contributing. I owe my career to the BBC who recognised, trained and guided me so it’s a privilege to work alongside the BBC comedy team recognising, training and guiding the next generation of Comedy directors.”

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy and Initiative Lead said: “Having partaken in a scheme like this myself I know how important and transformative they are to people making their way in the industry. They are also incredibly important to us as broadcasters to make sure we have exciting pathways that allow us to forge relationships with the best up-and-coming comedy talent from around the country, to ensure we have the best people in our stable so we’re able to continue the BBC legacy of producing the best, globally renowned, comedy programming out there.”

More information on the scheme and how to apply will be available via https://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/comedy/  and applications open on Monday 9th January 2023.

New funded development opportunity

Posted on by North East Screen
North East Screen announce a new funded development opportunity for North East based comedy talent, plus a BBC Comedy event in Newcastle.

An exciting opportunity is being offered to comedy writers, performers, producers and directors by North East Screen and BBC Comedy to develop talent in the region.

The NE Screen Comedy Hot House have devised a scheme that offers funds to six comedy creatives to help them develop their television ideas. Each chosen creator will receive £1000 as well as development support and an introduction to production companies, ahead of pitching their ideas to BBC Comedy for feedback.

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Professional Development at North East Screen said;

“This is a first of its kind opportunity for North East comedy creators ready to burst onto comedy platforms. We are looking to champion six people and support them to get their ideas ready to pitch to the BBC.”

For more information and to apply for the fund click here

To support and inspire applications to the funded development opportunity, the NE Screen Comedy Hot House will be hosting Cracking the Comedy Codes – a day of panels featuring comedy industry experts.

The event on Thursday 13th October with industry experts, will centre discussions around short films, audio, and the development of comedy characters for screen. Featured guests include Simon Mayhew-Archer (This Country), Rupert Majendie (Brian and Charles, Pls Like), Kirk Flash (This is Gay), Julia McKenzie (BBC Radio4 Comedy Commissioner) and more!

Cracking the Comedy Codes (https://bit.ly/3BQLYsC) will take place at the Stand, Newcastle 1-5pm where you will also have the chance to meet some of the BBC Comedy commissioning team.

BBC City of Comedy 2022

As part of Newcastle’s tenure as the first BBC City of Comedy, the region hosted the first ever BBC Comedy Festival, bringing the entire UK comedy production sector to the North East. At the event we announced our flagship Regional Partnership Scheme, fast tracking regional company Sea & Sky Productions to co-develop a slate of TV series ideas for BBC Comedy with Hat Trick Productions. The creator development fund is part of a wider range of engaging outreach events, profiling some of the UKs best talent, ensuring our comedy community is inspired and enabling our regions comedy scene to thrive.

 

Cracking the Comedy Codes; Podcast, Character and Short Film Masterclasses

Posted on by North East Screen

On the 13th of October, NE Screen Comedy Hot House will be hosting an afternoon of panels that will explore the ins and outs of short form comedy development for audio and screen.

As part of BBC City of Comedy, North East Screen and BBC Comedy commissioners are working together to inspire the next wave of comedy content creators to pitch podcasts, comedy characters and attention-grabbing comedy shorts that will get North East talent noticed.

The search is on for comedy talent that can break through the noise, demand (and keep) audience’s attention. To create stories and characters that bring a fresh authentic twist on people and places. 

These panels are linked to the Creator Development Fund, attending will support your application.

The panels are as follows:

Demystifying Podcast Development and Production with special guests Kirk Flash and Julia McKenzie

Ever wondered where to start in comedy podcasting? Let’s talk funny!

Award winning writer, comedian and audio creator Kirk Flash and Radio 4 Comedy and Entertainment Commissioner Julia McKenzie join us to share advice on starting out in audio, what sets an idea apart and how you go about getting yours heard.

Kirk Flash is the creator and voice behind “This is Gay” a podcast which won Silver for Best Comedy at the British Podcast Awards 2022 and Kirk himself won Gold for the Rising Star Award, sponsored by BBC Sounds. He is also the writer and creator of the award-winning animated series Summer Lane Drive which is currently distributed on digital platforms in the USA and Latin America. 

Julia McKenzie resides over the home of comedy, BBC Radio 4. As newly appointed Radio 4 Comedy and Entertainment Commissioner she creates opportunities for writers, performers and producers to thrive, all whilst making the nation laugh. 

Producing Comedy Characters for Screen with special guest Simon Mayhew-Archer

Ever wondered how to create strong comedy characters? Have you got ideas for fresh characters we need to see on our screens?

We’ll be joined by BAFTA award-winning Executive Producer Simon Mayhew. Simon will be talking about his most recent work – the multi award-winning show This Country, starring Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper. Explaining how he approaches working with writer/performers, playing with fresh strong characters and when and how to build a series around a character.

The Art of Comedy Short Film with with special guests Rupert Majendie, Gideon Beresford & Behnam Taheri

Ready to make a bold, inspiring short film that packs a comedy punch and gets you noticed? 

Great short films are a chance to bring a vision to life, show off your talent and build your creative team. 

Gideon Beresford and Behnam Taheri (collectively known as Rosco5) are writer-directors whose visual flair and natural comic timing brilliantly blends their perverse observations with the magical and mundane.   

Originally an editor and a producer, they teamed up as writer-directors for their first short film Open Wide in 2018, which premiered at Palm Springs Shortfest and was acquired by C4 Random Acts. Their subsequent shorts and commercials have screened worldwide, winning numerous awards, and a Vimeo staff pick. They have made shorts for Adult Swim, BBC and Channel 4 as well as shooting a BBC Pilot that is now going to series.

Finishing off the panel is TV, film, online and live comedy Producer Rupert Majendie. Rupert recently produced the (what started off as a short film) Film4 and BFI feature ‘Brian and Charles,’ written by David Earl and Chris Hayward. We’ll be unpicking how to nurture stories and characters.

Click here to sign up for the event via Eventbrite.

Women X Industry Panel

Posted on by North East Screen

North East Screen’s Comedy Hot House is delighted to announce the line up for its Industry Panel that is being held at the Women X Film Festival in Darlington on the 3rd of September.

12.30-1.30 Darlington Hippodrome, followed by informal networking.

Getting noticed and landing your first break writing for TV. North East Screen Comedy Hot House and Comedy 5050

Ever wondered how to write for TV? Come along and listen to our panel of experienced creatives about their writing journey, how they got their first break, and what they are doing to support more female writers to get their start in the industry. 

Meet two writers from the region who have recently broken into the TV industry, alongside the founder of Comedy 50:50, an initiative to address gender inequalities in TV comedy. Hear about the different routes their careers have taken and why they think it is important to champion new voices and inclusivity in the industry. 

Panel Guests

Saskia Schuster, founder of Comedy 5050, head of scripted at Fulwell 73 and the former Controller for Comedy at ITV. Anna Costello, a writer whose first comedy pilot recently aired on Dave, UKTV and Emily Fairweather, a writer who gained her first appointment on a BBC one drama, and who has since had several of her scripts optioned.

Hosted by Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and manager of Comedy Hot House at North East Screen.

Comedy 50:50 was founded by Saskia Schuster to address the gender imbalance in comedy, and to reflect the diverse range of voices that make up society. Comedy 5050’s intention is one of inclusivity and to push forward changes in a manner that is respectful to all talent. The initial focus is on writers, but the aim is to extend the initiative to all aspects of comedy performance and production.  

Anna Costello is a writer from Consett, County Durham. In 2021 Anna was nominated for the All3Media New Comedy Script Award and won the UKTV and TriForce Underrepresented Writers Initiative. Anna’s comedy pilot Dead Canny is screening on UKTV for Dave. As a senior creative at Electric Noir Studios, Anna works on their BAFTA-nominated series, DEAD MAN’S PHONE, developing and writing interactive detective series for their mobile storytelling platform. Anna is represented as a writer by Berlin Associates. Dead Canny will be aired on August 24th at 10 pm on Dave, UKTV.

Emily Fairweather is a writer and actor from North Shields. Emily has worked on projects for the likes of UKTV and ITV and gained her first broadcast appointment on The Mallorca Files for BBC One. In addition, Emily has had a number of her original scripts optioned and is represented as a writer by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.

Buy your tickets for the event here.

All aboard the Hot House Comedy Shuttle!

Posted on by North East Screen

North East Screen and NEScreen Comedy Hot House have organised a bus to take comedy producers/writers/performers from the North East to the Edinburgh Festival for free on Thursday the 25th of August for the entire day.

TV comedy executives and indies all descend on Edinburgh for the final week of the Fringe Festival, creating a perfect networking opportunity for North East creatives.

The bus will be setting off from the North East early in the morning to allow for approximately 8 hours in Edinburgh.

If you’d like to join us, please register your interest via our Eventbrite page.

Please note, signing up to this event means you are registering your interest. Places are limited and we will send out a confirmation of your place on the bus on Tuesday the 16th of August. If you do not receive a confirmation from us, then unfortunately you will not be admitted on the bus. You must be based in the North East to attend this event.

Email hothouse@northeastscreen.org for more information. Keep an eye on the North East Screen and NEScreen Comedy Hot House socials to stay up to date with upcoming events.

Special thanks to the BBC City of Comedy for funding this amazing opportunity!

Tiger Aspect Producer Development Training

Posted on by North East Screen
Development Producer Training

North East Comedy Hot House are teaming up with Tiger Aspect to uncover and help train the best scripted comedy development and producing talent in the region.

Could this be you?

Do you love, live and breathe sitcoms and scripted comedy? Do you think you’ve the next Friday Night DinnerFleabag, Man Like Mobeen, Ghosts, People Just Do Nothing, Plebs, Motherland, Brassic, or Benidorm inside you? Have you got a passion to turn those ideas into the next big British comedy? If so, then you’re going to love this.

In a nutshell

Northern Film + Media’s North East Comedy Hot House has joined forces with award-winning production company Tiger Aspect to offer an exciting training opportunity for an up and coming Scripted Comedy Development Producer from the North East to shadow, and learn from, the in-house comedy development team at Tiger Aspect on a six-week flexible training placement. And the best bit – it can be done right here in the North East.

What we’re offering

If you’re successful, you’ll learn how sitcoms and scripted comedies get all the way from idea, to script, to screen. This learning will take place for two days a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) over a six-week period.

  • You’ll attend development meetings (on Zoom) where you’ll learn about channel briefs, managing slates and nurturing talent, and how to align development thoughts with that of commissioning briefs and market trends.
  • You’ll learn how pitch decks and treatments are formulated, what makes a good one and why approaches may be different for different channels.
  • You’ll be encouraged to work on your own development slate and the Tiger Aspect team will help and advise you on how best to navigate the development.
  • You’ll be shadowing the specific development of a sizzle tape as part of a pitch for a new BBC3 series set in Sunderland. Following the development from script, to shoot, to edit, to the final delivery of the sizzle tape and supporting document.
  • There will be other opportunities to gain experience attending shoots and post-production sessions to help give you a fuller rounded perspective of the development to production process.
  • You’ll also receive two hours per week of one-to-one mentoring and support from Emma Lawson and Lisa Laws from North East Comedy Hot House.

Could this be the perfect opportunity for you?

If you’ve got this far, then you are definitely interested in knowing more. But first off, we need a bit of info about you:

  • Are you able to demonstrate a proven interest in developing comedy projects for broadcast and have a keen interest in comedy (this can include all avenues such as online, social media, film, radio and TV)?
  • Are you already in the comedy world? This isn’t an entry level position, so any experience you have with developing comedy will need to be demonstrated – this doesn’t have to be broadcast work. This could be work on social platforms, theatre, podcasts or radio, running comedy nights, writing for papers – anything that demonstrates an appetite for developing work, and a love of comedy.
  • We’re interested in diverse viewpoints and would love to hear from candidates who are underrepresented in broadcast TV. If you’re unsure whether you might fit the bill, then drop us a line and we’ll be happy to have a chat.
  • People of all ages are encouraged to apply.
  • Funding for this initiative comes from North East Local Enterprise Partnership which means you must live in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, County Durham or Northumberland to take part.
  • We’ll need you to work from your own home, the Northern Film + Media offices in Gateshead and on location across the North East, so please consider how you’ll get around before applying.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to travel to London on occasion to work either on location or in the Tiger Aspects offices (subject to local Covid-19 restrictions).
  • You’ll need your own laptop and internet connection.
  • You’ll receive a bursary of £2,000 to cover your out-of-pocket expenses and additional travel expenses where appropriate.

How to apply

The deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

If you’re still interested in knowing more about future opportunities like this, please drop us a note and we’ll keep your details on record for future projects we have coming your way. Email sizzle@northernmedia.org

Northern Film + Media is working to build a more diverse workforce. We value difference and promote inclusion and actively encourage applications from those who consider themselves as having minority representation in the creative industries (i.e. due to their socio-economic background, age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or belief). We encourage applications from people who are underrepresented as part of North East Comedy Hot House’s commitment towards creating a more diverse TV sector.

About those involved

North East Comedy Hot House, co-founded by Emma Lawson and Northern Film + Media, is a first-of-its kind scripted comedy development initiative and scripted comedy production co-operative, supporting industry focused North East talent both on and off screen. We are dedicated to nurturing up-and-coming comedy talent from the region by creating exciting opportunities on home soil, giving you the chance to work here in the North East.

Tiger Aspect Productions is internationally recognised as one of the UK’s most successful and prolific independent television producers. Producing high profile, multi-genre content for both UK and international audiences, key productions include Man Like Mobeen (BBC Three), Peaky Blinders (BBC Two), The Good Karma Hospital (ITV 1), The Other One (BBC One), Hitmen (Sky One) and Mr Bean (CITV).

This year Tiger Comedy has a number of different productions in the works, including TV pilots, a radio show and six TV series – for broadcasters including Sky, C4, Netflix, R4 and the BBC.

This is initiative is part of the Sizzle project, a collaboration between Northern Film + Media and North East Local Enterprise Partnership developing North East Comedy Hot House as a regional cluster for broadcast comedy.

More general information on TV Development Producer job roles can be found on Screenskills.

 

North East LEP supported comedy is ready to make you laugh

Posted on by North East Screen
Laugh Lessons, a BBC Three commission, launched Thursday 17th June featuring five comedy sketches from North East talent who have been supported through a unique project between Northern Film + Media (NFM)’s North East Comedy Hot House and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

Laugh Lessons, a BBC Three commission, launched Thursday 17th June featuring five comedy sketches from North East talent who have been supported through a unique project between Northern Film + Media, North East Comedy Hot House and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

North East Comedy Hot House (NECHH) were awarded one of four national commissions from the BBC earlier this year to support producers to deliver Laugh Lessons. Laugh Lessons is a BBC Three and BBC Comedy Association collaboration which has seen four production companies across the UK produce up to five three-minute comedy sketches each, with a particular focus on providing new opportunities to diverse and underrepresented comedy voices, with an emphasis on discovering new onscreen and behind the camera talent.

The commissioned sketches involve new behind the camera talent, James Craggs and Emma Roxburgh. This is the second win for James’ company, Motif, having already won an RTS North East and Borders Comedy Award in 2020. Emma is developing into one of the region’s top development producer/directors and was part of the BFI’s Network Weekender earlier this year.

Laugh Lessons comes hot on the heels of NECHH winning the prestigious international Makers and Shakers award for Initiative to Grow Local Industry.

Emma Lawson, Co-founder of NECHH and leading industry exec, said,

“Collaboration is never easy, but we can certainly celebrate what we’ve achieved by championing James Craggs and Motif, and Emma Roxburgh to develop the slates for Laugh Lessons.

‘Being able to empower local companies, bringing people together and encouraging collaboration has seen this local talent flourish, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in line for these guys.”

Speaking of being awarded the commission, James Craggs, Managing Director of MOTIF said,

“The BBC provides a hallmark of quality for any production company it is associated with, so to be able to point towards a commission from them within our first year of existence is something we never dreamed of. It’s propelled us forward as a company far faster than we expected and given us the confidence and the chance to pitch for bigger things, something we didn’t think was possible just yet.”

The North East LEP provided funding support through the Cluster Development Fund for NECCH to create a broadcast scripted comedy cluster to boost the local industry and provide more opportunities to start-up production companies. NECHH is an industry facing co-production and development initiative that offers a safe space for fledgling companies, writers, performers, directors and producers. By working directly with broadcasters and larger Indies in this new co-commissioning model, NECHH is able to provide a new talent pipeline via a safe pair of hands by taking overall responsibility for practical delivery and a level of editorial quality. Since launching in September 2019, NECHH has secured over £100,000 worth of entry level broadcast commissions, collaborated with seven start-up production companies, provided employment opportunities to over 160 regional cast and crew, and kept 96% of the total spend in the North East.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said,

“The Cluster Development Fund was launched during the pandemic to provide assistance to clusters in our region impacted by COVID-19; providing the necessary support for sectors to recover. The success of North East Comedy Hot House is a great example of the fund in action.

“Thanks to the investment from the North East LEP, Gateshead-based MOTIF was able to pitch for and win a significant BBC commission, helping raise the profile of the region’s film and television sector.

“The Cluster Development Fund is supporting TV, film and production companies in the region to think big and create a sustainable industry in the North East that can create jobs and opportunities for those working in the creative sectors. By investing in the talent that exists in our region, we can retain and benefit from those valuable skills.”

Speaking of the support she received, Emma Roxburgh said,

Since my involvement with NECHH I’ve felt incredibly well supported and have been given space to play, learn and grow. Producing two of the Laugh Lessons and directing one, enabled me to really use my previous script development skills.

“It has been great working with regional writer/performer talent on their first broadcast credit alongside outstanding regional crew, and I can’t wait to see more North East talent coming through and smashing it.”

Alison Gwynn, CEO of NFM said,

“It’s been great to witness the impact of the project, with both Motif and Emma Roxburgh now developing bigger broadcast projects.

“This is only just the start. There is so much more in the pipeline, and we wouldn’t have been able to have achieved this without the support from the North East LEP.”

NECHH is in a really strong position heading into the later stages of 2021, with a strong network of North East businesses and agencies all focused on broadcast comedy development. There is also an exciting new partnership with an award-winning production company to uncover more North East talent and products ready to break into national and global markets.

To view each of the five Laugh Lessons, click the links below.

How We Ruined The Internet

Coke, Weed and Bananas: A Guide To Drugs Today

First World Problems Of A Influencer

Becoming a Karen

5 Signs You’re Becoming A P.R*C.K

We’ve partnered with the North East LEP. Introducing SIZZLE

Posted on by North East Screen
We are so excited to announce our breakthrough partnership with the North East LEP

Our North East Comedy Hot House project has been granted funds to develop the region’s comedy sector through our newly-created SIZZLE programme, a six month support programme working with SMEs, emerging comedy development producers and fresh comedy talent.

What’s on offer?

The SIZZLE programme has three phases of support including

  1. Business development
  2. Professional development
  3. Pitch deck support

Phase 1

PEER TO PEER SUPPORT for NE SMEs led by the NE LEP.

Connecting business leaders & SMEs working in comedy production across digital platforms, to each other and to business and industry experts to support business growth.

Who is Phase 1 for?

We’re looking for ambitious individuals keen to grow their business and play their part in driving forward the region’s production of quality comedy content across digital platforms. A passion for comedy is super important!

Participants should be business owners or have a business leadership role in a company that employs staff or freelancers. They should currently work in the broadcast, digital, and/or comedy sector, or if not, must prove a keen interest in branching into these sectors. They must also be based in the North East LEP area.