Tag Archives: comedy

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, how it all came about and ‘Not the Horse’.

How myself and Tony Bessant ended up acting at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a fascinating story, it proves that with hard work, you can create your own luck. Bear in mind myself and Tony come from a film background.


I’ll start from the top..

In November 2014 myself and Tony Bessant had just got ourselves a new computer and editing system, we were now going to start using Adobe Premiere, instead of Final Cut Pro which we had been using for a few years. With this in mind we headed out to local Calderstones Park to grab a few shots to put together on the system and have a play around.

On the way back to the car park after getting a few shots we developed this idea, a small sketch we could film in the car which would be a comedy about two friends John and Gary and their relationship. We filmed the shots by literally holding the camera in front of our faces and improvising, we used no specialist equipment etc.

We edited it and put it on Facebook that night, the reaction was amazing- it went viral. People absolutely loved it, we didn’t expect the reaction. Following this we thought ‘we can make another one that carries on from this’. So we did, we created another one in the car again, this time we used a bit of lighting and professional audio. We edited this one and put it out again, people loved it. We then made an episode 3 and an episode 4. With each episode the production values increased slightly. Episode 3 was in my car again (My car looked like a set out of Star Trek) and episode 4 was filmed in Tony’s house. (Episode 5 is scripted).

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Towards the end of November 2014, Mike Dickinson contacted us and told us he wanted to talk. Mike is an award winning Director and someone I know from my time at Edge Hill University. I didn’t know him very well, but I knew that he had his own theatre production company ‘Naughty Corner Productions’ and achieved some success with his first play ‘The Bastard Queen’.

Mike had been following our sketch episodes of ‘John & Gary’ and at the time, just happened to be writing his second play ‘Not The Horse’, a gangster crime comedy. We set up a meeting with him and Jemma Lynch (Co-owner of Naughty Corner Productions) and at the meeting he told us 923793_1451523565172172_880168161_nthat he had already written roles for us in his play since seeing our John & Gary videos. He loved our humour and what we had. He didn’t just want two scousers for his play, he wanted myself and Tony- that was the vibe. He sent us over the script and after reading it, we loved it. It was a project we couldn’t wait to get involved in.

We went to Edinburgh Fringe festival the following August in 2015 with the show and it proved to be a brilliant tour. Edinburgh is a beautiful city. We had an offer to do the show again this year at the festival but we’ve had to turn it down due to other commitments. We will be back in the show again after August.

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Since that meeting a year and a half ago we have performed in the show on numerous occasions and are continuing to do so. The cast are extremely talented, and very genuine. They’re a fantastic group of people who have definitely made it all worthwhile.

We have performed in Liverpool, Lancashire, Wigan, Manchester and Edinburgh. (Receiving two 4 star reviews along the way). Crazy that we didn’t even have to audition, we were headhunted. The best part of the story is that we created our own luck. Things like this don’t just land at your feet unless you work or them.

It might take you a year, it might take you fifteen. My point is that if you consistently put yourself in good positions, then opportunities will come knocking. It all depends how long you are willing to do it for, and inevitably how hungry you are for success.


 

Thanks very much for reading. I have included a link below via Facebook where you can find our John & Gary videos. Also, if you haven’t yet seen ‘Not the Horse’ I strongly recommend it!

https://www.facebook.com/johnandgary/?fref=ts

Paul.

Generating ideas, Adverts and Interview sketches.

Tea Advert

Filming the establishing shot of our tea advert

My friend and ‘partner in crime’ of film making Tony was studying Media Professional Studies with Television at Liverpool John Moores University, whilst I was living in Ormskirk on Edge Hill University’s campus. This however didn’t reduce the rate of how many film making projects we made or how much time we spent together. We made a massive amount of Video/Film projects in our first year of university and Tony would regularly stay at my halls, where we would plan away and write scripts constantly. For all of our projects we were producers, directors, editors, actors. We did every single role ourselves whilst learning the ropes as a film maker, this has helped us to develop our understanding of the industry- we are now adaptable and can take on multiple roles.

Generating ideas 

I have always found that listening to music with a pen and paper in hand is a way which triggers my imagination more than anything else. It feels like it unlocks something in my head, it immediately generates ideas- this is also was the case with Tony. One day in Tony’s car as we were driving along and Cee Lo Green’s Forget You was being broadcast on the radio, and bang just like an idea popped into my head. It was to make our own tea advert and post it on our Youtube channel! It was to feature myself dancing around in a kitchen wearing a dressing gown making a cup of tea, followed by me hitting my head and Tony coming in and stealing the tea- 

A snap taken during production of the tea advert

leaving with a subtle dance. We developed the shot list and could use the University equipment completely free of charge, this was ideal for us as we now had no limits to what we could create. We produced the tea advert and shot it in on a Sony Z1 camera. When we released it via social networking sites it was greeted with surprise, laughs and respect. Nobody knew we were going to produce it and certainly nobody thought we could produce comedy without it being too cheesy. 

Producing further adverts and comedy

Idiotic nature

After the tea advert we produced many other ‘adverts’ through writing a number of scripts and playing with music and shots in our heads. They included Coke, Doritos, T Mobile, and Monster which featured on our personal Youtube accounts. All of these adverts were comedic in style and were all shot on a Sony Z1. We also visited local bars and did a promotional video for a well-known bar in Liverpool after speaking to a manager.

After producing a number of ‘Adverts’ we decided to delve further into comedy and began writing a comedy interview sketch. The script was written very quickly, literally a night and we had come up with a whole sketch. Whilst producing the script we would cry laughing at some of the jokes and comedy we had incorporated into it. It was based mainly on the way myself and Tony would act around each other and the things we would laugh at most.

The sketch was to involve myself and Tony as the two main protagonists, Tony as Malcolm and myself as Ralph. Ralph is a boss who loves his authority and uses it to his advantage whenever possible, Malcolm was a quiet lad who thought he was going to a normal interview- as you can imagine it wasn’t the most typical interview in the world. We released this again via social networking sites through our personal Youtube account. It wasn’t long before people were quoting me in the street and high fiving me which lasted a while, the same with Tony- constantly people quoting the characters from a world we had created it was unbelievable. A friend of mine at University even told me when he visited Zante on holiday he saw a group of lads quoting Ralph and mimicking my dance moves, which I find pretty crazy. What myself and Tony loved most however was that we had actually created this fictional scenario, the fact that people told us they would ‘cry laughing’ at something we created only made us hungry to create similar projects.

Standard behaviour. This night we went out for a drink, dressed like this

Standard behaviour. This night we went out for a drink, dressed like this

Due to demand we decided to create Interview part 2. We knew it had to be something of a similar comedic nature, so we decided that Malcolm should go back for a second interview and not know that Ralph would be interviewing him again. This sketch was slightly longer and also included Tony doubling up as two actors instead of one. Following this people also wanted to see a part 3, part 3 is partly scripted, something we would love to produce in broadcast quality-we’ll see. (Looking back at the interview sketches now with experience they severely lacked quality, they are let down visually and the lack of audio clarity did not help. We were still learning, but the idea was there and people loved it!)