The Precinct: here’s what an animated cop show pitch looks like.

In 2011, the Precinct team put this proposal to SBS — a proposal for a half hour animated cop show for adults.

We were told it would be good to have an idea of how three seasons’ worth of the show would work, hence the enormous cast and loads of plotting and ideas. We left out a lot of stuff, too.

In the end, it was more than the programmers at SBS really wanted to see, but making it helped us enormously in figuring out what we like about the show and what we would like it to be (and the divide between Adam, my co-writer and I, on that issue!).

I thought it might be interesting for people to see just how much work we put in. And obviously we’re still working on Precinct, but going in more of a “ACTUALLY MAKE CARTOONS” direction than a “PITCH IT AGAIN AND AGAIN” direction.

I should point out also that, although she didn’t go for it, Caterina (our contact and yours at SBS when it comes to comedy and drama shows) has been extraordinarily giving of her time and experience over the last year or so.

So, here’s our proposal! Is it a good proposal? Not sure, but this is what we put to them, warts and all, and I’d still love to see an animated Aussie adult cartoon on SBS more than just about anything. Obviously I’d prefer it be ours, but there’s enough talented bastards around that we’re gonna see one, finally, one day, and I’ll be bloody happy whoever it comes from.

Feel free to comment here or anywhere else (FB? Twitter?) as to what you reckon about it.


The Precinct: Characters pt 1 – Ackersley & Rochman

Now that I’m putting together a new version of The Precinct pitch/bible/thing I thought I’d do something I meant to do years ago on this blog: introduce the characters properly. I’ll try to add them regularly. Here’s today’s!

Det Sgt Ben Ackersley

Ackersley is the most dangerous officer at The Precinct: a loose cannon, a renegade.

As an undercover “narc”, he spent much of the ’80s in disturbing leisure suits, hunting down major drug importers. Once suave and debonair, with a taste for the nightlife and a quip for every occasion, he was brought low by personal tragedies.

Today, fortysomething Ackersley is still an effective officer, but his methods are often violent and/or strange. He is plagued by waking nightmares and psychotic breaks with reality, sometimes featuring his daughter (who may not actually exist).

He is a time bomb waiting to go off. The only question is whether he will take others out when he does.

Mayor Gareth Rochman

The colourful, outspoken Rochman has been the city’s mayor for fifteen years. He came to prominence as a leading voice against police corruption, progressing from community activist to local councillor, and finally, to running the city.

Before all this, however, he was a major Drug™ importer who managed to evade prosecution by Ackersley and Sarge. Now he’s entrenched, and so are his policies, which have gutted the police department.

SPAA Fringe: What I learned from nice ABC ladies

I attended SPAA Fringe a few weeks back. SPAA Fringe is a conference run by SPAA (Screen Producers Association of Australia) which doesn’t cost too much to attend and features interesting talks by various knowledgeable people in the entertainment industry. There is also the chance for shlubs like myself and my co-writer, Adam, to sit at roundtable discussions with some of these people.

We did this, and two of the people leading the discussions were from ABC-TV — Debbie Lee (Head of Comedy) and Kath Earle (Executive Producer, Arts, Entertainment & Comedy). I took notes at these chats and thought I’d pop them online for all of our amusement.

If you have any knowledge of the ABC and what they do there, you may not learn anything from my scribbles, but since I don’t know squat about squat, and what I DO know I forget very quickly, I had a couple of “aha!” moments.

Something I hadn’t thought about before was that the ABC has a “narrative” stream of comedy programs and the “Arts, Entertainment & Comedy” (non-narrative) stream. The vast majority of ABC’s comedic shows are non-narrative.

We’ve submitted The Precinct as a show concept in the past, and Debbie remembered it, but (apologetically, I thought) explained that the ABC doesn’t have a place for a half-hour animated comedy for adults. Well, not ours. Well, not in that format, anyway. When I get a chance I’m going to pitch them on some of our short-form ideas.

What I took away from the talks was: if I ever come up with a good idea for a show with broad family appeal that is cheap to make, the ABC wants to hear about it.

In the meantime, all I have are ideas for silly adult cartoons with “cult” appeal — which is why the SBS roundtable we were part of was so interesting. Might post the notes I took at that session too.

Thanks to SPAA Fringe for the excellent conference, and to Debbie and Kath for being there to share some useful insight with us!

Precinct planning resumes

I went to COMICS CAMP a couple weekends ago, and since then I’ve been hard into (my day job, my freelance work, and also) my two current projects: a short film called John Howard’s Knees and the animated cop show currently known as The Precinct.

While I was on comics camp (which I blogged more extensively about over here), I spent some time putting my Precinct plans into comics form (sometimes I find it easier to think about stuff when it’s drawn rather than just written down).

The idea involves the funding and production of a series of one minute Precinct episodes introducing the characters:

“ABSBSBC” refers to the two local TV networks I think the show is appropriate for, ABC and SBS.

Hopefully “FILM SCREEN VICSTRALIA COMMISSION” doesn’t need explanation.

I’ve been meeting with some smart, creative people I know and asking for their advice on this plan, which has been very helpful. I’ve also been asking about their ratio of businessy work (which makes the creative possible) compared to the creative work itself. In other words: how much time do you spend on the business end of things?

One successful producer of TV and film said “20%:80%” (in favour of creative). I hope to get to this ratio one day!