About this project
Stretch Goal - £16,000
We’ve reached our funding goal! It’s been an amazing couple of weeks – it might sound glib but we really can’t thank you all enough. We genuinely appreciate every pound pledged and every post shared.
Now that we’ve achieved the bare minimum of what we need – we’re extending our goal. The extra money will allow us to rent even better quality kit (lenses and grip equipment in particular) – giving us a better chance of producing a glossy, cinematic show. It will also give us the luxury of more time on set to improvise around the script which is often where the funniest moments are created.
Don’t Tape Over is an ambitious 25-minute sketch show. We hope to breathe new life into the sketch show genre and blaze a trail for future creators by combining fast sketches with an engaging, funny narrative.
Imagine an island off the coast of the UK. It’s been privately governed for decades…highly secretive with its own unique by-laws and history.
It’s a backward place. So much so that VHS tapes have barely gone out of fashion.
But things are about to change....
It's 2016 and no one has seen the eccentric recluse and fierce governor of the island, Joseph John-Johnson, for some time. Suspicion is rife.
After many years, the rest of the world is about to discover what has really been happening on the island as people and ideas from the modern world begin to arrive and seep into their society.
It's best to think of our show in two parts. Narrative bits - that will take place in the present day, and VHS bits (TV shows, films, public service announcements, home movies etc) that will fill in the backstory. Crucially - both parts are going to be sketches - short, funny vignettes.
In the episode we're making now - we'll be focusing on an islander who has turned himself into a walking power source.
"I simply inserted a 12 volt, lead acid car battery into my chest - just below the heart... like my wife says, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, in my case it was a few ribs...and I took a lung out"
If we reach our funding goal - we’re going to make a full 25 minute episode.
The Original Teaser
In 2012 we made a 9-minute teaser of Don't Tape Over which gives a flavour of the style and tone of the VHS parts of the show. Please have a watch - enjoy:
This pilot led to interest from TV production companies Warp Films (This is England, Four Lions), Welded Tandem (This is Jinsy) and RoughcutTV (People Just Do Nothing, Cuckoo) before we eventually developed it with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's company Pett Productions (Shooting Stars, House of Fools).
It was a great experience and learning curve - but early on the broadcasters told us "we can't imagine it over a TV half hour".
Oh well. It was only a taster we thought - and so we got on with developing and pitching other ideas to the BBC.
Unfortunately - trying to convince commissioners that our ideas were funnier than they sounded on paper wasn't easy. You can't communicate performance, timing or visual gags convincingly with text on a script. Put simply - reading is different from watching.
...and to be fair - one of the ideas was about a boy made of crisps...
In the end other our great ideas - “The Dog That Wore Shiny Shoes”, “Space-World” and "Funny Tummy Chimps” were also turned down. Why? We still don’t know...
The process had taken a long time. It had been over two years since we finished Don't Tape Over.
One night we watched it back.
We couldn’t help shake the feeling that the idea had more to give. Plus – it was the one video that people kept mentioning and wanting to see more of.
So now – we’ve fleshed out the concept, created a load of new characters and written a 25-minute script. We want your help to make it.
Originally from Sheffield, we have been making comedy in one form or another for over 10 years, beginning with live shows but more prolifically and more importantly to this project, we've mainly been making videos.
We all studied film making and now have day jobs in the industry, working variously as directors, producers, writers, actors, editors and bar tenders so we are extremely well placed to put a production of this scale together (see below Who's who section for more detail).
To date we have produced two 30 minute pilots, two 10-13 minutes taster tapes, two BBC commissioned sketches, three Channel 4 commissioned sketches, and more self-funded sketches than we can count (50+ at least).
Here are a few examples of our previous sketches:
Looking For Keegan - 32,000 views
A story of growing up... and Kevin Keegan
Henderson's Relish Advert-145,000 views
A spoof commercial for Sheffield's favourite condiment.
Tinder Wizard - 22,500 views
Commissioned by Channel 4's MASHED - this sketch asks what Tinder would be like in real life… with a wizard…
Duck Face - 40,000 views
Also commissioned by Channel 4's MASHED this was our crack at a topical sketch. It stars Seldom Differ's unofficial 5th member Rebecca Lucy Taylor of the band Slow Club.
Writers / Performers - Matt Skillington, Ryan Howes and John Collins
Between them, these lads have written for, appeared in, or provided voice over for:
Shooting Stars (BBC2), MASHED (Channel 4), Charlie Brooker's How TV Ruined Your Life (BBC2), House Of Fools (BBC2), The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC), Mickey Flannagan's Foxageddon (BBC iPlayer), Ross Kemp on Gangs (SKY), Britain's Got Talent (ITV), The X-Factor (ITV) Bradley Walshes Christmas Cracker (ITV), and a number of BBC tasters. Matt also co-hosted a show on comedy radio station FUBAR Radio.
As a trio they perform live sketch comedy under the name Seldom Differ, and individually have recently begun performing standup.
Director - James Lord
As well as being resident director for all of Seldom Differ's comedy, James has directed such productions as:
The Artist Behind the Scenes (Sky1), Cuckoo Behind the Scenes (BBC Three), Rhys Darby – This Way To Spaceship (Roughcut TV), Taylor Lautner vs Greg Davies | The Ping Pong Challenge (BBC Three), People Just Do Nothing Behind the Scenes (Roughcut TV), Tyger Takes On taster tape (Roughcut TV), The Totally Senseless Gameshow (BBC Three)
Core cast - Rebecca Lucy Taylor
As a long term collaborator and unofficial 5th member of Seldom Differ, Rebecca Lucy Taylor of cool band Slow Club will form part of the core cast. As well as having released 3 successful albums with a 4th out now, she has appeared in comedy shows including House of Fools (BBC) and Glitchy (ITV2).
Producer - Natalie Taylor
Natalie has been a key asset for Seldom Differ over the years. She is very experienced in production having worked on numerous projects including:
Oscar nominated short film Shok, Jeremy Clarkson's new vehicle (pun intended) The Grand Tour (Chump Productions), NME Award winning music video Cheer up London by Slaves, as well as music videos for The Charlatans, Sinéad O'Connor, The Fratellis, Slow Club and Enter Shikari.
Editor - Ryan Howes
As well as writing and performing with Seldom Differ, Ryan has also been working for 7 years as a professional video editor and visual effects artist. As such he has edited all Seldom Differ's videos to date and will continue this tradition with Don't Tape Over.
Our vision is ambitious and as well as being funny we want Don't Tape Over to look amazing. The nature of a sketch show means we need varied locations, props, costumes and makeup for each sketch. This all costs money. Our expenses also include the inevitable costs of production, feeding our cast and crew & hiring and transporting professional film making equipment.
We've self-funded individual sketches in the past - but simply can't afford something on this scale without your help.
The £12,500 we are raising on Kickstarter is what we need to make Don't Tape Over a reality. However, the more we can raise, the further we can go with our vision.
We also have some fair to middling rewards for your generous donations...
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we face is bringing Don't Tape Over in on budget….
Sketch shows are expensive.
To give you an idea; a typical TV sketch-show episode will cost somewhere in the region of £100,000-£200,000 to produce.
They require a greater number of locations and characters than, say, a standard TV sitcom; We’ll need to pay for the use of each location, and we’ll need to hire a small team of highly skilled makeup artists to make sure each character has a different look.
Add to that the price of camera and lighting hire (both of which need insurance) and the almost unlimited number of things that can (and invariably DO) go wrong on set – and you can hopefully see that £12,500 isn’t such a high price at all.
On top of that we have to be funny too.
There is a widely held belief that sketch shows are dead. We think they just need some innovation – like the BBC's head of comedy Shane Allen said recently; “I’ve lived through ‘The Office has killed the studio sitcom’ and ‘stand-up doesn’t work’. So I think sketch shows will be here forever.”
Hopefully you can help us prove him right.
Matt, John, Ryan, James
(and the rest of the team)
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