Well it’s official. Saturday April 21 at 7:30pm on the ABC is the date for the premiere of The Sideshow, a new variety show hosted by Paul McDermott, and written by several people including Media Empire’s very own Warwick Holt and Mat Blackwell. The show will also feature regular stars including Tripod, The Umbilical Brothers and Claire Hooper, as well as (with any luck) the television debut of Xorctron and Uglifex Prime, a new animated segment from the Blackwell/Holt stable about a pair of vicious alien comedians.
Two pilots have been taped already, we’ve seen one and the second is being edited at the mo. Those with memories of the 80s late night program “The Big Gig” (also produced by Ted Robinson) will have some idea of the general feel of the show, a mix of live stand-up comedy, sketches, music, animation, cabaret and “good old fashioned freak show” (words of the press release, but for instance the first pilot featured a lady with a special skill for hula-hooping). Of course at 7:30 it’s family-friendly, but fortunately the ABC are encouraging us to still go for the old jugular. Just a more family-friendly jugular.
We’ve been working on the show for a few weeks now, suggesting and trying out a bunch of different segment ideas as well as working on monologue material out of news stories, somewhat similar to The Glass House. So this blog may well become home to the same sort of stuff it’s housed the last couple of years, raw satirical mince to be fed into the Sideshow humourburger.
In other news I’m pleased to announce that The Devil’s in the Details has been selected for the new Film Victoria program “Knock Our Socks Off” (KOSO). It’s a kind of a “consolation prize” for writers that don’t get selected for full draft funding but that the Film Vic staff think have potential. Six of us workshop our scripts with each other and Film Vic’s Everett DeRoche over six Friday afternoons, and are even paid for the privilege. So far we’ve had one session and I think everyone has gained something out of the process; it’s certainly given me some fresh ideas and a lot of motivation.
And that’s not all. Mat and I are working on several segments for The Ministry of Truth pilot – which both ABC and SBS have expressed interest in!
And we’ve submitted the latest draft of Sells Like Teen Spirit for funding with Film Victoria and the AFC. Yes, it’s been a long six year saga since we began writing the screenplay, but the great news now is that we have on board Tony Rogers (Director of the new SBS cult sitcom Wilfred) to direct and Jason Byrne (Producer of many things including The Heartbreak Tour and One Perfect Day) to produce. We’re cautiously optimistic…
So yes, there’s a lot of writing going on. Just not much in this here blog. Sorry bout that, fans. But expect more regular updates from next month as The Sideshow swings into your loungeroom!