Following the release of their new online sitcom 'Sadface' we caught up with the show's writers Kat Sadler and Cameron Loxdale to discover the secret of their success...
CL: Can I just say before we begin, so sorry we were late. Kat’s just been non-stop on the phone to that ol’ Hollywood.
KS: Fame waits for no man. Then we weren’t sure whether to take the stairs or the lift…
CL: And I had to tell her that it is an email interview.
KS: Gutted. I look so fancy.
CL: We both do.
Hi guys, thanks for talking to us about your new show! You've both arrived into comedy from different directions - what can you tell us about your respective journeys?
KS: I can’t take myself seriously, so comedy it the only viable life option I’ve got. Before that I wanted to be a poet, or be dead. Perhaps both. I started performing at uni, writing sketches for the comedy society and then turned to stand up when I wanted more attention.
CL: I was doing comedy in Cardiff, sketches, stand up and writing as many bad sitcoms as possible. I met Kat on the NFTS Comedy course. A few weeks in, she dropped out, can’t remember why, although I do remember her shouting the words ‘I’m too cool for school!’ over and over again on her last day after everyone signed her t-shirt. I think we both realised we had a similar sense of humour and decided to start writing together.
KS: I laugh at what he says sometimes but I don’t understand what he’s saying at all, I honestly thought we could play the diversity card with Cardiff.
"Nobody can write you like you can."
Congrats on the debut episode of the excellent 'Sad Face'! Can you tell our readers a little about the blog on which the show is based?
KS: Thank you! After I graduated, I started a blog so my Facebook friends would remember that I exist. It’s a completely honest account of my life, where I share way too much about myself.
CL:We wrote a thing before Sad Face, a sitcom called Party People which was a ramshackle 30 page jumble of characters with no real anchor to reality. Meanwhile Kat was smashing out a blog full of actual funny jokes every month and it was like ‘can we just do some of that, please? This would make a good sitcom.’
How did you find co-writing a script that focuses primarily on the perspectives and experiences of only one of the writers?
KS: We’re not friends anymore. No, just kidding. A bit. Cameron’s excellent at knowing how to structure a script and mould it into something that I would not have been able to do.
CL: There were lots of drafts. Everything that happens in Sad Face has happened, in some shape or form, in real life, so I think honing in on just the experiences of one of us made it easier.
"Kat was smashing out a blog full of funny jokes every month and it was like 'this would make a good sitcom'"
Do you find two heads are always better than one when writing?
KS: Definitely. If anything, for the sheer moral support. It’s so easy to lose the plot, forget who you are, and start scanning Indeed for admin jobs. It’s just nice just have someone to answer you as you tearfully hold up a piece of your own shit and ask, “is this funny?”
CL: It’s been very good to have someone you can let down that isn’t yourself, cos it feels a bit worse when you do. It’s good to have more pressure to get something done that isn’t just being your boss and giving yourself the weekend off to watch Netflix. Although I wish Kat would put down her shit from time to time.
Writers can often use comedy to explore specific themes and emotions. What subject and messages did you want to get across with 'Sad Face'?
KS: My blog mostly revolves around growing up, sexuality and friendships. I wanted to talk about how persistently lonely I feel, and how this impacts my relationships with the people around me. Humour helps me to normalise my own problems. Mostly the message is just that you’re not alone if you feel like the sidekick in your own show. Also, I just really wanted Angela Barnes to cut my toenails.
CL: We also wanted it to raise awareness about Inuits but a lot of that got cut in the edit.
"Write loads, do jokes in front of strangers. Write for Newsjack, write jokes on Twitter. Make sure it’s what you want to do."
Characters are so important to sitcom and yet so hard to get right. How did you develop the lead and supporting characters in Sad Face?
KS: The most important thing for me is that they’re all based on honest, real people. That gravity is imperative.
CL: I initially wanted to shoot it in zero gravity, but the budget wasn’t there. I think it all starts with characters though and basing them on real people made it much easier than plucking characters out of thin air.
"Everything was geared towards bringing out elements of Kat’s personality to replicate the personal feel of the blog."
Stuart Laws, your fab Director from Turtle Canyon Comedy, filmed the ENTIRE show on an iPhone! Do you feel that place extra pressure on the script and performances?
KS: I love Stuart Laws, and he knew exactly what to do with it before we did. I actually think the iPhone was a lot more comfortable to perform in front of, because we’re completely used to having them in front of our faces all the time. It also gave us space to try out some interesting techniques too, if a bit invasive. Having a camera attached to my toothbrush was a little weird. It was also Stuart that suggested I animate over the top, having seen some of my drawings on my blog.
CL: Stuart was/is amazing, from developing the script to directing and editing it brilliantly. I think he really made it stand out from a normal web thing. I think we felt less pressure on the script because it went through a number of redrafts before we started filming. Everything in the production was geared towards bringing out elements of Kat’s personality to replicate the personal feel of the blog.
You've got some fabulous talent in the show - how important are personal networks to creating comedy quality?
KS: Really important. It was comforting to have familiar faces around me in the house party scenes, even if I had to kiss a boy in front of all of them. We were extremely lucky to secure the lead actors Angela, Freya and Adam, they totally made it. They all made me feel comfortable, which isn’t easy to do. Particularly Adam, who made me laugh so hard I think you can still see me desperately trying to keep it together in one of the scenes. I was proper freaking out about kissing him, and he just went with it. And he didn’t say anything even though I’d been eating Wotsits literally all day.
CL: We got our first choices for each role and I still can’t really believe that. They were all excellent and brought things to the characters which went beyond what was on the page. Everyone on the production was great. It was like that show ‘Dream Team’ but with less football and more nice people being good at their jobs.
What advice do you have for writers just starting out in the world of comedy?
KS: Find other people doing it. Befriend them. Don’t listen to people who tell you to lower your expectations, and how you’re a little fish in a big pond. Nobody can write you like you can. Stop worrying about the big picture. Surprise yourself, live without regrets. Hang on. Actually I’ve just remembered that I have loads of regrets. Live with regrets and write comedy about them. Also, for God’s sake, get off Facebook.
CL: Write loads, do jokes in front of strangers. Write for Newsjack, write jokes on Twitter. Make sure it’s what you want to do.
KS: But please don’t do it better than us.
CL: This is all we have.
If you could go back and change one thing about your writing journey, what would it be?
KS: I’d become Ed Sheeran. Have you seen that guy? Man.
CL: I don’t think that’s how time travel works.
Kat is also the editor of Succubus magazine - a satirical online women’s magazine that uses humour to challenge the way media, society and men communicate with women
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