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.