Television shows, films and even the odd podcast tend to focus on the world of the love interest lead and the journey they have to get to that embrace and relationship. However, no-one seems to care about the friends and how it effects them – well Katy Schutte and Ed Fargher are about to change that. These names may sound familiar to you as Katy is part of many troupes such as The Maydays and Project 2 and Ed Fargher runs Yes Land at Hoopla Impro just a name few things they are a part of. I caught up with the duo to find out all about their new project.
Hello Katy and Ed tell us about yourselves and three random facts?
KATY: I’m Katy. 1) I once sat on Floella Benjamin’s knee dressed as John McEnroe. 2) I accidentally lose audiences under 35 by doing obscure 80s/90s celeb references. 3) I once had a job with Frank Bruno where I was dressed as a dinosaur. I was an adult at this point.
ED: I’m Ed. 1) The worst job I ever had was to act as a human ballast for a 10kw lamp on Southend Pier while The View filmed their music video in a howling gale. 2) There have been several times in my life where I have cried while watching professional wrestling. 3) I once had a dance-off with Tom Hiddleston.
How did you both become writing partners and an improv duo?
KATY: The fine detail is at sidelinersseries.co.uk but we played at the same improv nights for a while. Ed was with Giggle Loop and me with Project2. I basically had an ongoing crush on Giggle loop.
ED: Giggle Loop totally crushed on Project 2 as well. We had to resist the urge to invite them to too many shows because we didn’t want to look over-eager!
KATY: Later, I’d found a bunch of people who were up for practicing freestyling and often it was just me and Ed. He expressed an interest in doing more acting and I had just written a play I needed help with, so he ended up in that. We got chatting and decided to do a few silly 10-minute ideas for Hoopla Marathon. One was PieDay night which is now a three-year annual custard-pie grudge match (currently 2:1 to me), another was any movie remade as a romcom; now called WrongCom. WrongCom grew from a 10-min bit show to a soon 45-minute touring show. Now we work together loads.
ED: It’s a blast.
Tell us about Sideliners?
KATY: We’ve written ten, ten-minute episodes of a comedy series. It’s a romcom, but it follows the side characters, the best friends of the leads instead of the romantic leads themselves. It’s like if you followed Rhys Ifans through Notting Hill or Carrie Fisher through When Harry Met Sally.
ED: The best friends feel a bit upstaged by the romance, so they end up hanging out with each other instead and they simultaneously enjoy each other’s company and drive each other crazy.
What initially made you both fascinated by the idea of the friend of the love interest?
ED: We were preparing for the first Pie show (then called Pie-Day night) and I was in a play as a Texan character and I was basing my accent on Matthew McConaughey and we started joking about rom coms, the tropes, the archetypes.
KATY: We were chatting about our ‘casting’; which is what parts you tend to get hired as. Neither of us look like leads and we’re always getting sidelined as bit parts and best friends as actors, so this is perfect!
ED: It’s literally all I’ve ever been cast as since I played De Soto in Royal Hunt for the Sun aged 15. Except for when Steve Tanner cast me as the lead in something for the Southside Players, but he’s also just paid for a perk that means I am getting pied in the face, so screw that guy!
Have there been any real life situations that you have either been a part of or witnessed that have inspired events that are going to happen in the shorts?
KATY: Oh Gods yes. I’m the most awkward person ever in a romantic setting. If I fancy someone I can’t even say real words to them. I’m like Hugh Grant, but not rich. I fell down the stairs in front of Jack Dee once.
ED: I think there are whole characters that are based on people I have met or, dare I say, disliked! And I’m a permanent Sideliner to my friends in real life as well, so there was a lot to go on there.
What sort of things are on offer for those who donate?
KATY: There’s standard crowdfund stuff like merch, shout-outs and credits, but there are also opportunities to be in the show itself or to get an improv show with or by me and Ed. You can also pay to pie one of us in the face. This perk immediately backfired when my best friend Chris Mead – our very first backer – paid to have me pied.
ED: Well, Steve’s pie-ing me, so the battle continues!
How do you get inspiration for when you are writing?
KATY: Honestly, it was as easy as pie (sorry) to write with Ed. The only inspiration was our sorry and awkward lives. It was very easy to get a first draft.
ED: That and we gave each other total license to add, edit or advance what the other person had written. It was a very improv-like philosophy. We were both very open to surrender our original ideas in favour of the project we were creating together. So it was very easy to weave my sorry-ness with Katy’s awkwardness!
Are there any times where you don’t agree creatively and how do resolve the challenges?
KATY: We’re both still marvelling that there haven’t been any of those so far. Ed’s more romantic than me and I’m more cynical, but that balances out beautifully for this show and we appreciate the different perspectives.
ED: To be honest, the biggest disagreement we’ve had has been over sushi. Fish is my kryptonite, but Katy loves the stuff!
What are your favourite things about Sideliners?
KATY: I love the characters we’ve created. They’re funny, they’re relatable and they have a lot of fun together. There’s also some real heart in there. People who came to our live reading at Hoopla told us they would have binged the series if they’d watched it at home.
ED: Katy and I are also big structure and pop culture nerds, so being on the same page there has created a slightly self-aware tone and a very enjoyable tempo to the comedy. And it’s been so much fun just trying to make each other laugh with each draft.
What are the next steps for the project after funding?
ED: We’re already in talks with people that we would like to form our key crew, but once we get a stronger idea of our budget, we’ll be taking it from there.
KATY: At the end of October, we’ll see how much we have in the bank. Whatever we make will determine the scale of our first episode, then we’ll get filming. If we beat our target, we’ll make further episodes.
ED: I cannot wait to get to episode 3. It’s one of my favourites!
What are the social media links if people are interested in following the progress?
KATY: The funder is here https://igg.me/at/sidelinersseries and you can find me and Edmund Fargher as our individual selves on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Finally in three words why should people take an interest in Sideliners?
Heartfelt, Cynical, RomCom