2015 Funny Women Finalist Jane Postlethwaite was shocked when she read stats provided by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film that found in the 100 top-grossing films of 2018 women represented: 4% of directors, 15% of writers, 3% of cinematographers, 18% of producers, 18% of executive producers, 14% of editors
Postlethwaite wondered what she could do to give women from often underrepresented backgrounds starting out in comedy a chance to be creative and have a platform for an outlet: “Many women who did my comedy workshops in Manchester or Brighton wondered what they could do next. It then occurred to me that I should provide a platform for them to learn extra skills but also to contribute their comedy ideas in the form of sketches and monologues.”
Refusing to be discouraged by the expenses of TV and film production, Postlethwaite joined forces with 24 other women from across the UK to crowdfund £2000. With these funds and Postlethwaite’s experience of creating one-woman shows (Made in Cumbria, The House and Haunted) the group was able to share and develop ideas ready to be turned into sketches and monologues for recording over the course of just two Saturdays to create The Character Building Podcast.
Postlethwaite said: “I wanted to give these women a platform to showcase their talents as writers, comedians and voice actors. Most of them had no experience and were learning on the spot. However, it also soon became apparent we also had musicians, singers and brilliant editors in the group. I made use of everyone’s talents and help…”
Editing was delayed in 2020 due to the stress of COVID-19, but the podcast is finally ready to share with the world. There will be approximately six episodes in series one and Jane is now planning to continue the podcast with more contributors for future series.
Postlethwaite has now set up Character Building Productions, which focuses on collaboration, learning and giving a voice to underrepresented women in the industry. “2020 has made me pivot on my comedy career and what I want to achieve. My workshops are now online so I’m getting students from all around the world who can potentially be involved in other episodes of the podcast. I’m also seeing the merit of working on Zoom and with audio. I am looking at creating a digital body of work that can be produced with minimal costs and yet accessed from anywhere in the World.”
Character Building Productions will also showcase some new podcast projects such as All the Terrible Things, a podcast about the macabre, paranormal, awful history and strange mysteries coming soon in 2021.
Contributors to The Character Building Podcast are: Alex Stringer, Charlene Coulter-Clements, Sarah Fordham, Rachel Robbins, Louisa Bennett, Jo Gendle, Catherine Lee, Liz Norman, Ruqayyah Hashmi, Lorraine Helen Youds, Anna Lloyd, Abigail Ramsdale, Michelle Taylor, Nicola Brockbank, Mel Judson, Phoebe Farrington, Nadine Graba, Laura Stoney, Lynsey McQuaid, Sho Applewood, Eleanor Bronwen Appleton and Steph Bradshaw.
Sadly the group lost member Catherine Lee to cancer in 2020 and they have dedicated series one to her memory.
Listen to episode one (on headphones for the full immersive experience) here!
To find out more about the Character Building Podcast click here!
Jane Postlethwaite’s comedy workshops can be found at www.writesomecomedy.com or www.facebook.com/writesomecomedy The workshops and podcast collaborations are open to cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centres on the experiences of women.