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    Making Colin From Accounts: Inside the Easy Tiger TV hit factory

    A special bonus episode of TV Gold podcast this month focused on the second season of the Binge Original Colin from Accounts.

    Joining TV Gold hosts James Manning and Andrew Mercado to discuss the origins of the Australian sitcom and their production house Easy Tiger were co-founder and producer Ian Collie and CEO Rob Gibson.

    Below are some of the highlights from the 30-minute episode.

    Listen to TV Gold on your favourite podcast platform.

    Be sure to follow the podcast for automatic updates each time a new episode is released.

    Making Colin From Accounts: Inside the Easy Tiger TV hit factory

    Rob Gibson and Ian Collie, Easy Tiger

    When did Colin From Accounts first come up on your radar?

    Rob: Quite a few years ago, as is often the case in TV, things took a little bit of time.

    I first became aware of it when I got a script from my friend Harriet Dyer and it was given to me as a writing sample. It wasn’t submitted or anything like that, but she wanted to write on a different show and I hadn’t seen her writing.

    I didn’t know she was a writer and she hadn’t been prior to that. I read the script and it was just brilliant. We talked about it, but nothing ever came of it because she didn’t feel that it would amount to anything, not being a writer by trade, she was more of an actor.

    When I joined Ian at Easy Tiger and told him about it, the first call that we made was to Harri [Harriet Dyer] and Paddy [Patrick Brammall] to say, ‘Let’s make this show’.

    The script is hilarious. We said if you guys are going to be in it, we totally believe this can be a fantastic show. Luckily, we were proven right.

    Comedy is a bit of a hard sell in Australia, but we were lucky enough to have Ali [Alison Hurbert-Burns] and Brian Walsh at Foxtel and Binge see the great potential in the idea and the rest is history.

    They loved it, backed it and supported it. We also had CBS Studios, our international partner on the show, really supporting it from the early days too.

    Ian: Rob joined Easy Tiger in 2019 after five years as a Stan executive. We were sort of old mates, so it was great having him on board.

    I remember when he knocked on the door and said, can I join Easy Tiger? I said, what have you got? He said, oh, I’ve got the sample script by an actor that was their first script ever. And I said, that’s it? Great. [Rob interjects: He could have chucked me out there and then!]

    We had a few knockbacks along the way, which is when you start to lose confidence. Once Brian and Ali and Foxtel and Binge embraced it, the juggernaut started.

    Colin From Accounts recently won two Gotham TV Awards in the US for Series 1. Harriet Dyer won for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series. The series won for Breakthrough Comedy

    Was that first Colin From Accounts script perfect the way it was?

    Rob: It was pretty close. What you look for in a comedy script is the voice as we call it. You want to feel the real personality coming through in the writing. That’s especially the case where it’s a writer-performer.

    Ian: Comedy is very subjective. Comedy is not necessarily looked at as a flagship commission by the broadcasters or the networks. They’re often looking for big dramas with big stars to make a splash – especially in the streaming era where it’s all about promoting your network.

    Brian and Ali were smart enough to see that Harri and Paddy had that. They had charm and charisma and obviously the capacity to deliver on the comedy in the script.

    It was a rom-com. Everyone thinks, well, romcoms are basically a film. A three-act film, that classic rom-com structure.

    With eight episodes initially, there were questions about could the ups and downs of the relationship be sustained. The answer was yes. We had something like Catastrophe as a little bit of a template for them and for us.

    Making the second season of Colin From Accounts

    Ian: The main thing was it was really almost exactly the same team. The only real challenge in a funny sort of way was the locations. We had some locations potentially drop out, such as Gordon’s house, and that took a lot of work.\

    See also: Binge launches Colin From Accounts second season as new episodes of hit comedy drop

    The Easy Tiger story

    Ian: Easy Tiger started in 2017. I used to run a drama division of Essential Media.

    After 10 years, Fremantle came in and acquired the drama division. I formed a new company with Fremantle having part ownership for Easy Tiger. Rob came in two years later with this little Colin From Accounts project.

    Rob and I have now been partners since 2019 on a number of shows.

    In the first year or two of Easy Tiger we produced the Essential Media initiated shows like Rake, Jack Irish, and Doctor Doctor. They were long-running series coming to an end. We were able to kickstart some new ones like The Twelve, Colin From Accounts and now Scrublands, all of them going to second seasons.

    The Twelve was an Easy Tiger production for Foxtel Group


    Rob: Back in the Stan days, I worked with CBS when they acquired the format rights to No Activity. Jungle made the US version there with CBS Studios.

    We hit it off with the CBS team including Alec Botnick and Kate Adler. Once we had the script from Harri and Paddy, with Patty being a CBS-known quantity, someone that they love working with, we thought those guys might be interested and they were. Trent O’Donnell, our director and EP is on a CBS deal as well.

    They have sold Colin From Accounts in over 100 territories which is pretty remarkable for a little Aussie comedy.

    The cast of Easy Tiger’s Nugget Is Dead: A Christmas Story

    Ian: CBS has also come on board for a Christmas comedy movie. I never thought Easy Tiger would make a Christmas movie, but we are going to tarnish our reputation. [Laughs]

    [Last month Stan announced the Original Film Nugget Is Dead: A Christmas Story. The Easy Tiger and CBS Studios production has principal production investment from Screen NSW. The film is directed by Imogen McCluskey, written by Vic Zerbst and Jenna Owen, produced by Naomi Just (Stan Original Film Christmas Ransom) and executive produced by Rob Gibson and Ian Collie. The movie also stars Vic Zerbst (The Feed) and Jenna Owen (The Feed), plus Gia Carides (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Damien Garvey (Rake) and Mandy McElhinney (Love Child).

    Rob: It’s a dysfunctional family Christmas story. With Vic Zerbst and Jenna Owen who are brilliant young comedians. They’ve got such a bright future ahead of them. We love them so much we picked up three shows with them all at once.

    What is the future of FTA drama in Australia?

    Ian: Commercial FTA networks are not doing a lot of drama, as we know. They don’t have the budgets they used to have as well. We’ve got a project in post on Netflix. [Desert King]

    We’ve got one or two in development with Amazon. Binge and Stan we do quite a bit for. We’re talking to ABC. We try and spread the love.

    Lots more from Ian and Rob in the TV Gold podcast. They talk about making Australian drama for a global audience. Also, where is Easy Tiger headed – will it become a global super-power, or stay boutique?
    Listen here.

    The post Making Colin From Accounts: Inside the Easy Tiger TV hit factory appeared first on Mediaweek.

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