We launched the 2019 Funny Women Awards last week with a few new tweaks and changes. Our editor Kate Stone talked to Awards Director Becky Singh about how our new entry requirements work and why we’ve added them to make this year’s Awards bigger and better than ever…
Kate Stone: You’re the Funny Women Awards Director this year, how does it feel to be involved?
Becky Singh: It’s fantastic, thank you! I was really flattered to be asked by Lynne and really excited to work with Sky again. This year we’re continuing the progress Funny Women has made over the last 16 years, with our goal to reach and help an even larger, more diverse spectrum of performers, writers and creators and get them seen by UK and Ireland’s comedy industry leaders.
Last year I thought running the Comedy Shorts was a hefty task but this is a huge workload; thank the cosmos that all of us at Funny Women work so incredibly hard. Not to jinx it, but I’m sure everything will go exactly to plan…
KS: The Stage Award entry requirements have recently had a little shake-up, starting with who can enter the Awards. What’s changed?
BS: We’ve had more conversations and consultations with people at all levels of the industry to find out how we could further break down the barriers to entry that so many women face when trying to enter the comedy world. This has resulted in many changes, amongst those, two changes to the entry requirements that we believe will help.
1) Entries are now via video submission. For a lot of new acts, getting time to attend multiple heats can be really difficult, so this year successful entrants will only have to attend one heat.
2) Entrants can have started comedy more than five years ago. Many women are still responsible for the majority of family carer duties and this and other factors often mean comedy has to be put on the backburner or given less time. By lifting the restriction on years since starting gigging, we hope to encourage all women that there is a place in the stand up comedy world for them when they are ready to return.
Equally, if you have entered before but were not successful, ENTER AGAIN! You will have improved and you will be seen by more industry – you have nothing to lose.
KS: What are you looking for in these video entries?
BS: We are looking for five minutes of your stand up comedy on video. This can be filmed at a gig or elsewhere and we are not looking at production quality. Phone footage is perfectly fine. As long as it’s comedy and we can hear it – it’s going to be considered.
It really helps your chances if it is a recent video as the material we see on tape should be representative of, or the same material as you plan to perform at heats.
The part of the video we judge is the first five minutes only! So if you send a longer video make sure the first five minutes is what you want to be judged on.
KS: What happens to these videos and when will entrants know if they’re through to the next round of heats?
BS: In the first round video submissions will be checked for eligibility by the Funny Women team. At this point in the process, we have been contacting those whose videos are not eligible to give them a chance to re-submit, but as we get closer to the 30th April deadline there will not be enough time. So it pays to submit early.
In the second round our panel of industry judges will score each video and the successful comedians will be contacted via email and invited to take part in the regional heat closest to their residential address. Overseas acts are allowed to participate on the understanding that they are able to make themselves available for one of the regional heats.
KS: Anything you want to say to people considering entering the Awards?
BS: Do it! There’s some exceptional talent already in the running, but with our widened scope this year the winner really could be you.
To find out more about our Stage, Comedy Writing and Comedy Shorts Awards click here!