What is Mr Biffo's Found Footage?
It's a series of six, ten minute-ish, episodes of utter nonsense and lunacy, that'll probably end up being accused of ripping off Adult Swim, Tim & Eric, Monty Python, and Vic and Bob.
More precisely, it'll be in the vein of Digitiser - the legendary teletext video game magazine, which I wrote for 10 years, and Biffovision, my cult comedy pilot that was literally too funny for BBC Three.
The episodes will purport to be compilations lifted from my archive of found footage - picked up from car boot sales, or retrieved from bushes/bins. In reality, I'll be creating almost everything from scratch.
Expect a heavy dose of nostalgia in there - albeit nostalgia as remembered though a heavily lysergic fog. There'll be snippets of old TV shows, home videos, music clips, cartoons - basically, anything goes. It'll be richly loaded with a wide variety of different content.
Recently, I put together a sort-of-pilot, for a Digitiser festival, which should give you a very good idea of what to expect from Found Footage. You can watch it right here (the new show won't be all ad parodies):
Who Are You?
I'm Mr Biffo, otherwise known to my friends and family as Paul Rose, or Sir. These days you can find me screaming about video games on Digitiser2000, or writing scripts for kids TV.
Astonishingly, I've won proper big awards, and been nominated for BAFTAs and that, as the co-creator of 4 O'Clock Club and Dani's House, and a writer on shows such as My Parents Are Aliens. I've been writing telly for more than 15 years - so I know what I'm doing. More or less. I also somehow wrote Pudsey The Dog: The Movie, which in itself should be reason enough to back this project...
Apparently, when I'm not writing universally loathed family movies, I'm funny - according to people such as Rufus Hound. Look:
Why Are You Doing This?
If I had a thruppence for every time I was asked that question, I'd be able to fund Found Footage myself! I've wanted to make a show like Found Footage for a very long time, but there's no real outlet on TV for this kind of thing in the UK. At least, not without confused producers and commissioners sanding off the edges, to make it more palatable to a wider audience.
Here's a bit of history: I've got a copy of some stupid sketches I filmed when I was at school. They were recorded onto a VHS tape by our computer studies teacher - and between the sketches, it kept dropping back into the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, or other clips he'd filmed around the school.
This sort of gave it a woozy, destabilising, surrealism - the way the tape would glitch, and flicker, and unrelated images would interrupt one another. I've always loved the accidental aesthetic of that, and want to recreate it in a slightly more structured, deliberately comedic way.
Ideally, I want those who watch Found Footage to either hate it with a passion, or love it, and feel it was made just for them. I'm going to make something that I find really, really funny - and hope you will too.
Isn't This All Rather Ambitious?
It is! That's the fun of it. That said, I managed to put the pilot together all by myself, for a relatively low budget - somewhere between £500 and £1,000 - and that had robots, explosions, people laying eggs, and the sublime Goujon John (who'll be making a return in Found Footage).
Alas, that was still rather a lot of money to take from my own pocket, but it remains minuscule by TV budget standards. Nevertheless, I'm confident that I can put together a whole series of Found Footage with the amount I'm asking for from Kickstarter. However, the more money I raise, the more ambitious I can get. If we go over the goal amount, I could potentially really go to town with my imagination.
I'd love to be able to hire actors, animators and musicians, have more extreme props and sets, and special effects - the sky's the limit. Whatever happens, every penny will be on screen in the finished product. It will look every bit as good as something you get on proper telly, albeit in a deliberately rubbish way.
With that in mind, I've chosen to keep physical rewards to a minimum, so all funds can be ploughed back into the production - but I'm offering things like credits, a chance to be in a sketch, tickets to a London premier/launch party, behind-the-scenes clips... And - of course - a DVD for those who want it (there seems little point in doing a Blu-Ray, given the deliberately lo-fi nature of the footage).
All the money will go on the cast, costumes, props, location expenses, set elements, music, animation, puppets, and editing.
When Will This Happen?
Work will begin as soon as we're funded (in fact, I've already started writing it). I'm going to aim to have the entire series completed by the spring - but will release teaser footage to backers along the way. I do have a day job, though if the schedule changes, I'll be sure to let you know. Fortunately, I work quite quickly, and I'm almost sickeningly motivated.
Nope. That's probably it. Please back this project, and help all our worst dreams become a reality! And remember: Goujon John's goujons taste BAD.
STRETCH GOAL #1 - £13,500 - CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!
If I make it this far over this our initial funding goal, in addition to being able to plough much more into the production, to afford studio and equipment hire, I'll make a bonus SEVENTH CHRISTMAS EPISODE for release online in time for Christmas 2017.
STRETCH GOAL #2 - £15,000 FOR AN EXTRA STUDIO DAY
As I write this, we're roughly £1,400 away from fifteen grand. That's a lot more money than I ever expected to get when I started this campaign. Since things started going through the roof, I began to look into budgeting for a bigger and better production.
Found Footage will retain the same lo-fi, hokey, VCR, quality as the rough pilot I put together earlier this year - but it would be great to broaden it out with some location filming. Not only that... but we would ideally have some actual studio time.
Everything in the Digifest videos was shot either in my house, my back garden, or in some random person's home studio (which meant I had to edit around what they gave me - hopefully you don't notice on screen, but the limits of this working method did mean I had to get a little creative with some of the footage I was sent).
I'd love to be able to be in the same room as the professional performers, and give them more direction, and be able to stockpile a lot of raw footage, which gives me more options in the edit. That's my plan: working from a loose script, and allowing space to improvise as we film.
However, this means booking actors/presenters, and a green screen studio. Which isn't cheap.
Nevertheless, an extra £1,500 would mean that I could book a modestly-sized studio - with lights, camera and equipment hire, plus crew - for a couple of days. So... the benefit to you, if you choose to help me get to this goal, will be reflected in the end product: you'll see your money on screen, in a way that is closer to my original vision.
Risks and challenges
I dunno. Bees?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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