Sarah Asante – BBC3 Comedy Commissioner.

Nana Hughes – ITV Head of scripted Comedy.

Congratulations to Nana who commenced her new role on the 6th July, Nana has worked in comedy for almost 20 years producing award-winning comedy programmes and would be delighted to receive quite simply ‘funny material’.  Nana is keen to find the comedic voice for ITV bringing everyone into the show.

Sarah has a wealth of experience under her belt and is seeking authentically authored voices. She encourages creatives to have early conversations regarding their ideas and will continue working with a broad range of talent.

Pitching to the BBC.

The BBC has a pitch portal which provides information usually aimed at production companies with credits. However, there are several entry-level schemes; Felix Dexter bursary, Funny Northern Female Voices, Galton & Simpson bursary & the British Comedy Association for emerging talent.

Submissions for ITV will go via the Team Development Assistant emmabarnard@itv.com.  If you want to have an informal chat with Nana this can be arranged.

Do you commission comedians?

Sarah advised to access BBC3 Channel via YouTube, type life lessons in the search button and you’ll find  3 min shorts which come via a production company but the talent put their ideas into a pool and Sarah selects from there.

Nana is open to working with comedians and advises to try out your ideas with a live audience!

Do you only commission from companies with a comedy track record?

Sarah – No, but I get approached by those with a record. sometimes I take a punt and it pays off.

Nana – It’s good to know that people can deliver comedy through the development process, but I’m happy to give people a chance, that’s the only way if we’re going to change the dial.

How do I get an agent/production company on board?

Look at the shows you enjoy find out who made/wrote them. If you think they’ll understand your subject matter and it’s similar but slightly different from what they’ve made contact those companies. You’re looking for the right fit.

This industry is full of informality, send a nice friendly email, everyone has 20 mins for a coffee at some point during the month, say you’ll be in the area in a couple of weeks – time and would love to talk to them more about… suggest somewhere close to their office. Same with an agent, let them know your writing style, tell them the reason why you’ve approached them – ‘because you look after … and I think my writing is similar to theirs.

The BBC has a comedy commissioning website on bbc.co.uk where people can understand what different channels are looking for & can then target the right channels.

Contact Sarah –

TIPS:

  • Make your 1st point of contact brief.
  • Take feedback & make notes – listen to advice.
  • Watch comedy – you need to be aware of what’s on-screen.
  • Go & see shows/stand up – It’s homework re crafting stories.
  • Go for it – share your ideas as early as possible – we’re not here to steal your ideas, we want to see them on screen.
  • Keep going!