TV

ABC Is Getting A Swag Of Awesome New TV Shows Made By Young Aussie Comedians

Bin Chickens: An animated show featuring three ibises who "eat garbage and live life to the max".

Are you the kind of person to get excited by original new Australian comedy featuring diverse production teams and up-and-coming comedic geniuses? Yeah exactly, who isn’t? Have I got a story for you.

Fresh Blood is a joint initiative between Screen Australia and the ABC designed to find and promote the next generation of local comedy talent. The idea is to select teams of comedians, writers and producers and give them the resources to produce new TV shows and learn from industry mentors.

This year more than 360 applications were received and 20 teams have been selected to take part. Each team will receive $15,000 to produce three short TV sketches and an invitation to attend a two-day workshop led by industry experts to help provide advice on how to build a sustainable career.

Sixty percent of the successful teams have key members who identify as coming from diverse backgrounds and a majority of the funded projects were made up of teams that were at least 50 percent female.

The successful projects include 1800 Success, which follows two students coming up with schemes to make money to fund their textbook, movie and MDMA habits; Bin Chickens, an animated show featuring three ibises who “eat garbage and live life to the max”; and Koala Man, a show about a local suburban superhero with no special powers.

Each show will air on ABC iview and after the broadcast, up to four projects will be selected for the second phase of Fresh Blood where they’ll receive $75,000 to produce a full pilot episode.

One show worth keeping your eye on is The Angus Project from Nina Oyama and Angus Thompson. The pair went viral last year with their E.T. themed Halloween costume.

The show stars Thompson as a “hedonistic uni student who happens to have cerebral palsy.”

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Angus Thompson from The Angus Show.

Oyama, who worked on last year’s The Chaser’s Election Desk, told Junkee that the idea for the show came out of her friendship with Thompson.

“I met Angus at a university party and we became friends. I became his carer about a year later,” she said. “We watch TV together and make dumb jokes. We love Broad City and High Maintenance, and we thought we could make a show like Broad City that was about Angus.

“We shot two episodes using cameras from uni and cut them into a trailer for Fresh Blood.”

Oyama said that the best thing about Fresh Blood was working closely with successful producers in the industry and having the resources to put together an actual show. “The whole production process is so different when you’re at the ABC compared to when you’re calling your friends and asking if they can hold a boom mic,” she said.

She also spoke about the importance of diversity on TV. “People like Angus exist but they don’t seem to exist on TV for some reason,” she said. “Our project shows that people who identify as having a disability don’t live in a little bubble and we want to show that.”

Sydney comedy group Freudian Nip have also been selected as part of the program. The group has previously worked with Junkee on a number of sketches, including this one:

Bronte Rose Jovevski from Freudian Nip told Junkee that that while the group can “make stuff on [their] phone for zero dollars, it’s great to work on something with actual production values.”

“Money’s great; now we can wear costumes and stuff,” another member, Jenna Owen, said.

“It’s great having buy-in from ABC and Screen Australia,” said Jovevski. “We’re really lucky to be working with Craig Anderson — a director who has worked a lot in comedy and TV — and we’ve got a fabulous executive producer in Janet Gaeta, who used to work at Good Game.

“Something Fresh Blood has done really well in is promoting women. We pitched that we wanted to work with women writers and producers,” she said.

Victoria Zerbst, another member of the team, told Junkee that “we’ve had a lot of fantastic support throughout our careers, especially from women. It’s going to be great to take our content and share it around Australia.”

“We’ve come from a place where we’ve been making our own content,” she said. “We started with zero dollars and now we’ve got $15,000. We want to be doing this stuff for the rest of our lives and this is a wonderful starting point.”

Screen Australia and the ABC will be making an official announcement about the 2017 Fresh Blood recipients tomorrow, March 28.

The successful projects will hit iview in the second half of 2017.