Friday, December 12, 2008

I hate research

Unfortunately, I'm good at it. That doesn't make me like it any more. But, since I have some expected time off, and I'm sans scripts to write, it's been two weeks of research: btwn NATPE, a new script research (right now I'm leaning to a shakespeare every other human on earth), and English language market research (Australia, Britain, Canada...sorry, Belize) it's been busy couple weeks. And I wanted to give you a few tidbits about what I've gleaned. I should mention, my research was only so complete because finding information about shows in other countries is rough, and watching those shows on youtube is sometimes impossible. So, if you live in these countries and want to add to the research, I'd be happy to update the findings.

Other English language countries aren't big fans of legal shows.

Outside of Billable Hours in Canada, I didn't find many successful legal shows anywhere in the English speaking world. And, since the name of our game is ability to source shows to multiple countries, developing a legal show is not advisable in the current climate.

Everyone loves crime/police shows.

For as much as I had trouble finding legal shows, crime shows were EVERYWHERE. However, unlike America which has "dramedy" cop shows like Monk and Psych, almost all, if not all, of foreign police dramas are straight drama, no comedy. It's a bummer, and there may be a niche to fill, but the good news is that crime dramas are alive and well anywhere. Of course, we all know Hustle IS a dramedy show about a group of con-men...however, not a police station, CoW show, and definitely not a show that I have seen in either Canada or Australia.

The "dialect" barrier is not as pronounced as one would assume.

Outside of a few british shows that utilized some cockney expressions, every show I researched used the same general dialect as we do in the states. Now, that doesn't mean you should make a show about a surfer dude, that just won't translate. But, if you are planning on marketing a show to multiple countries, and you use standard english, not slang, you should be able to market your show to a wide range of english speaking countries.

Though it goes against common sense, almost every sitcom is single camera.

One would assume that since multi-camera sitcoms are the most inexpensive shows to produce, a researcher would see them in places like Australia and Canada. However, the opposite is true. In fact, through my research I only saw a handful of multi-camera comedies, most of which were re-runs on BBC. This particular fact was the biggest surprise to me.

British shows is crazy!

If I'm going to create a show straight for a specific country, it's going to be Britain. Not only do they have a crazy show that's shot solely from the character's POV, but they also have a sitcom about a group of housewives who are in two rival gangs. Of all the countries I found, the most zany, fun, and overall creative shows were on British TV.

The next post, I'll put together some of my favorite specific shows from each country. Now, back to the grind!

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