Comedy Junkies

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The creators behind the hilarious Tropfest short ‘Ca$h Cow’ have conjured up an equally funny pilot for a potential new comedy series.

Filmmaker Daniel Reisinger, who crafted one of Tropfest’s funniest finalist entries in 2013 with Ca$h Cow: A 63% True Story, has followed up the comedy short with a new pilot. Clearly a crowd favourite at the festival, the team, including writers Adam Dunn and Aaron Glenane, write and star in Clean And Jerk, a new comedy that moves the setting from Seven Network’s Sunrise, to a small local gym “Figure First”.

In the pilot, the awkward Colin Ainsworth (Aaron Glenane, who delivered a scene-stealing turn in last year’s Drift) becomes committed to getting his life in order and winning back his girlfriend after having his heart broken, which means frequent trips to the gym and getting buff. Enter delusional personal trainer Warren “Warman” Mann (Adam Dunn), the overweight, arrogant instructor who decides to take Colin under his wing with hilarious results.

After garnering positive feedback from Clean And Jerk’s pitch and discussion with industry professionals, the team decided to make a fully furnished pilot to present the vision for the season, rather than go for an on paper pitch. “It really came off the back of the response of SBS to our pitch. They said they wanted to see something. We thought it would be a good idea to put together a pilot that would give a real taste for what the series can become,” Aaron Glenane reveals.

Having built a profile thanks to Tropfest, Reisinger, Dunn and Glenane turned to crowd-funding to raise the funds, acquiring $9,000 via Pozible, well above the expected $4000. “The crowd-funding route really shaped what we made. The response to the idea was overwhelming and we reached our target in four days,” Glenane says. “We found it to be a really good testing ground to see if there is was audience who would relate to our idea. And because we ended up raising more than double what we were after, we made a full-length pilot rather than a 10 minute short film.”

Peppered with wit and top-notch performances, the series centres around contemporary gym culture, territory that the trio felt was a perfect target for comedy. “Reading any newspaper, it’s clear that the timing is ripe for a comedy examining the gym with a big part of the show is our modern obsession with vanity. The gym is a world we all recognise, yet tantalisingly isn’t one that has been fully explored on television before.”

After 15 months worth of writing, shooting and post production, Reisinger plans to pitch the full half an hour pilot to networks for a potential series. Showcasing a smart but original sense of humour (that one could see a network slightly censoring), Glenane acknowledges that their brand of comedy is a specific one, but is confident that it will translate. “We wanted to make a brand of “humour that hurts”. In life it’s usually the most painful experiences that create your funniest stories, and strangely enough in Clean And Jerk many people have described these sad moments as their favourites.We also pride ourselves on really pushing the envelope and believe that if the point we are making is a universal truth people will be able to relate to it no matter how far we go.”

The quest continues for the team in finding a network to commission and screen the series. “It’s very early days in the pitching process,” Glenane says. “We can say a number of international production companies have loved it and a producer working with Shawn Ryan – famous for creating The Shield – wants to take it out to the US networks in February… Ideally we see it doing two series on Aussie TV and possibly being picked up in America and beyond. Our secret fantasy is to see Clean And Jerk gym wear being worn throughout gym’s nationwide!”

Originally published on FilmInk Magazine online, January 10, 2014. 

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