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The comedy web series: Reshaping Australian script development and commissioning practices

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This article argues that, for Australian comedy series creators, the web platform has opened a new space in which the ‘rules’ of script development are being expanded, enhanced or otherwise refashioned through having direct connection with and input from their audience. With the audience’s potential as a ‘comedy gatekeeper’, the web series audience becomes integral to the ways in which these texts are developed, namely skipping the erstwhile second-guessing of demographic tastes by more traditional broadcast development executives and commissioners. Referring to a range of well-known Australian comedy web series, such as Bondi Hipsters (2011–2017) and The Katering Show (2015–17) – including what their creators, writers and audiences have said about them – we investigate the processes behind the success of these series to argue that a new form of script development has emerged: namely, that development is both facilitated and influenced by the direct line that exists between comedy creators and their viewers. Furthermore, we suggest that through such a collaborative and open-access process of script development, comedy writers and performers might also benefit from an expanded form of talent development.
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Keywords: Australia; comedy; screenwriter; script development; web series; webisode

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Swinburne University of Technology 2: University of Technology Sydney 3: RMIT University

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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