For those of you who aren't up on our national comedy competitions, we're in Week 3 of CBC Comedy Coup, a 10 week challenge to create the CBC's next hot sitcom. Each week, competing teams are given a new assignment and are asked to create a teaser video or promotional art piece to showcase the different aspects of their series. Fans then have the power to rate and review the videos and promote them across social media. The competition has started with 110 unique sitcom pitches which will be narrowed down in the coming weeks. Fan feedback across social media will be one of the deciding factors in who makes it on to future rounds.
At the end of the 10 weeks, the final five will move on to the "Big Deal Event" to pitch their project to CBC Comedy Producers and participate in a Q&A in front of a live audience. The grand-prize winners will be awarded a $500 000 production budget to create a half-hour comedy special which will air on CBC Prime Time. It's an amazing opportunity for emerging actors, screenwriters, and producers to turn their ideas for sitcom gold into TV reality.
I caught up with Marshall Jefferies, writer, director, and co-creator of one of my very favourite entries, Bike Cops, to get behind the scenes on this satirical look at the Toronto Police Force.
But before I give you the inside scoop, check out the Bike Cops teaser trailer below or at click here to watch in full screen.
Bike Cops was created by Marshall and his brother Ted who have a history of collaborating together on comedic projects. Earlier this year, the Jefferies Brothers created The Bunch Gang Show, a web series of funny videos all under 5 minutes. Now, with Bike Cops and CBC Comedy Coup, the brothers have their sights set on network television and are looking forward to "the chance to be a part of developing Canada's comedy scene."
"There's so much talent across the country," says Marshall, "and this contest seems to be a reflection of the enthusiasm for Canadian comedy series, which we are severely lacking. It's kind of a trend for Canadian funny-people to head to the States, so it's nice to see Canada's comedy scene getting a kick-start."
Bike Cops is definitely full of local Canadian flavour; the entire series was inspired by the ubiquitous presence of Toronto police who patrol the city on bikes. To Marshall, this aspect of everyday Toronto culture was rife with comedic potential.
"You know how when you see a group of bike cops rolling down the street," he tells me, "and you can't help but laugh? That's the original inspiration for the show. We imagined how those cops must feel about their jobs, and the types of arrests they make, and the interactions they have with the city of Toronto, and the show came from that."
For Marshall, CBC Comedy Coup is more than just a competition. "The best part," he says, "is definitely being able to connect with hundreds of comedy creators across Canada. Everyone is so nice!"
Bike Cops is truly a family affair. On working with his brother Ted, Marshall's first response is simply: "It's awesome!"
"Ted's one of those guys who's always making everybody laugh on set," he adds, "so it never feels like work. I feel very lucky to get to work with him. Shout out to the parents for always telling us that Rule #1 is Have Fun!"
Want more Bike Cops? Click here to see the challenges they've competed so far. There you can find all the info on the competition, register as an official Comedy Coup fan, and help your favourite new series make it to prime time.
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