Enter the PodCom – funny writers and actors wanted

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Are you an actor stuck at home with nothing to play? Or a writer with a comic bent with no projects on which to hone your humour? Or maybe you know some talented soul frustrated by the lockdown and yet to emerge from enforced isolation.

We might have a solution for a lucky few. City of Sydney council has generously offered a grant that will allow us to create a pilot episode of what I’m calling a podcom – a situation comedy recorded for audio only, that will then be made available as a podcast.

Why us?  At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I (JimmyT) was for many years a successful TV writer, nominated three times for Australian Writers Guild sitcom writing awards.

Also, as you probably already know, for the last few years I have been up to my armpits in the always entertaining world of apartment living, including this website and its related podcast.

With all that in mind, I have created a project called Is There Anybody There?, a sitcom set around an apartment block where its committee, responding to the coronavirus, accidentally passed a rule that all meetings MUST (rather than may) be conducted remotely on Zoom.

The fact that more than half of the members are happy never to meet in person again means they are stuck with it.

And that’s it. All the bickering, nit-picking, power-grabbing, self-aggrandising of strata committees – as well as the genuinely good souls who want to contribute to their communities – will be there for the world to hear.

I have been joined in this project by Happy Feet co-director Warren Coleman and we are looking for two more writers and six to eight actors with distinctive voices.

We want to hire the best talent we can find but, all things like experience and ability being equal, we will give preference to talented people who live or work in Sydney, and/or live in apartments, and have maybe even served on strata committees. 

By the way, those restrictions are self-imposed and are therefore flexible. These are not conditions set by City of Sydney.

Participants will be paid basic scale (not much, but better than a poke in the eye) and it would help greatly if they were members of MEAA (Equity) or the Australian Writers’ Guild. If we do it well enough, who knows, a regular gig might develop.

If you’re interested, drop a quick email to Podcom@flat-chat.com.au with your contact details, your experience and familiarity or otherwise with Zoom meetings.

As we want the Podcom to reflect the cultural diversity of apartment blocks in Sydney, feel free to let us know your ethnic background, gender, age and other significant factors.

Why are we interested in your ethnicity? We will not be doing the audio equivalent of “black-face” – Asian characters will be played by Asian actors, for instance.

Once we have your details, you will be sent a short script test (for writers) or an audition script for actors. Think of this like an old-style radio play or sitcom … only it will all really be recorded via Skype. The actors and writers might never meet in real life.

And if you know someone who might be interested in this, please pass it on.  The wider the net, the more likely we are to get a talented team who can create a sustainable product.  

2 Replies to “Enter the PodCom – funny writers and actors wanted”

  1. Avatar TonyC says:

    Jimmy, This could be the start of a long running radio or even Netflix series.
    I know that you will have literally thousands of great agenda items for the Executive Committee to consider, but if I could add this item to the agenda? It is an email I received overnight asking for advice. I will be interested to learn what the Committee decides.

    The Bougainvillea

    Facts:
    The issue is in relation to a bougainvillea tree/shrub. The shrub originates in my townhouse (strata property) and grows into the neighbouring townhouse. The neighbours requested of the Strata Manager , via their managing agent, for the overgrown branches /shoots to be trimmed.
    They claim that large spikes falling from the branches are dangerous and have caused them injury when they step on them.
    I am of the view the shrub generally benefits more the neighbouring property and common property, than it benefits me.
    The Strata Manager contacted me, as owner/occupier of the lot on which the shrub originates (but not the owner of the neighbouring property) asking me to trim the growth of the shrub overhanging the neighbouring property.

    My position & views
    I do not believe I am responsible for trimming the overhanging shrub.
    I say the Trees Act 2006 applies in combination with Common Law. I am not certain if the owner of the other property would be willing to make an application where injury was allegedly caused, or may be caused, to their tenants. Even if they make an application, I am not convinced that the Court would be willing to make any orders because: a) I am not convinced the shrub regularly sheds spikes. Rather, spikes are located on dead and fallen branches, which happens intermittently ; and b) any possible injuries are easily preventable – occupiers of the other property have to take proper lookout and remove dead branches.
    Even if the Court will be inclined to make orders, they are likely to be orders for removal of the shrub altogether – a proposition I am content with, as it is easier to achieve and less expensive.

    Proposed actions:
    I propose to write to the Strata Manager and the other owner, outlining my position.

  2. Avatar brianpr says:

    Great idea, Jimmy! You could have a Committee member character who gives every indication of being in the early stages of dementia, with his unpredictable outbursts and bizarre obsessions. Of course, he is kept on the Committee by his dominant faction because he was one of the first residents, is a Mason, votes for the correct political party, goes to the right church, etc. etc. (and they can count on his vote.)
    We have one just like that where we live. It’ll be a hoot!

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