ShortCom: An Edinburgh Fringe Show With a Conscience?
The 2013 Fringe sees the first appearance of Chris Aitkens‘ Short Com at the festival. Woopy Doo you may say, but this is a show with a difference. Not only will they be showcasing some of the UK’s best comedy film making talent, they are also aiming to raise £1000 for mental health charity CALM in the process. So how did it all begin? Chris explains:
“Initially, Short Com was nothing more than a brain fart. I had a short comedy film that wasn’t really festivally but would just get lost on the Internet amongst cats river-dancing and Kanye West preaching from the book of fairness. Thus I thought wouldn’t it be great if there was a purpose built ‘festival screening programme’ for short comedy films.”
So is this just another Fringe idea we will never see or hear of once September comes round? In my opinion definitely not. Chris painstakingly reviews all submissions deciding which ones to showcase at different events:
“I won’t pretend for a second that running Short Com isn’t hard. The organising, constant emails, dealing with some people who believe I owe them something or can’t accept I don’t find their film suitable. But there are rewards, especially when I get to screen the selected films and people laugh, then I know I’ve made a good call. That and I get to see a lot of underexposed talent from both the film and comedy worlds.”
In fact it is the opportunity to build a legacy which really brings out the passion Chris has for this project:
“I’ve long felt that there’s a lot of comedy on TV that’s just not funny anymore, either bad scripts are getting picked or as I’ve so often heard that autonomy and creative freedom is a bit of a faux pas in the industry. So when I see that these people are making films for nothing, a lot of them consistently contributing to Short Com, I know there are plenty of geniuses out there who can make great content outside the realm of broadcasters commissioning them. Nevertheless, I think the path for most of these people is to get a series commission or film option in the future. And I hope Short Com can be a bit of a launch platform for some of these people by proving they can consistently make people laugh and deserve to climb that ladder.”
In these times where The Fringe is being accused of becoming just another corporate behemoth Short Com might just be the breath of fresh air we all need. Raising money and awareness for a good cause at the same time as showcasing the best in comedy and film making talent. I am also unaware of any other show this year with such a focus on nurturing talent and creating an existing legacy as this.
Catch Short Com at this years Edinburgh Fringe – 1pm at Sportsters (part of City nightclub) August 4th-9th, 11th-16th and 19th-23rd with top guests from the worlds of comedy and film presenting the show daily.