Here's a breakdown of Episode 1: Dream Drawings, full of trivia from the making of the episode.
We're going to have a special Found Footage Friday Letters Page this week. Please send your thoughts on the ep, your questions, and theories to: firstname.lastname@example.org
WARNING: Do not read unless you've watched Mr Biffo's Found Footage - Dream Drawings.
After filming the pilot sketches for last year's Digifest, I was fishing around for a concept, and was keen to avoid it being a load of random stuff with no rhyme or reason.
I wanted some sort of structure which could be messed around with - but one that could always snap back to a baseline. I'm pretty sure it was my other half who suggested that the "found footage" look WAS the format, but then I started asking "Where did it come from ? Who made it?! Why is it so weird?! Who is Goujon John?!?"
And that was when I realised that the questions themselves were the series.
The conspiracy stuff also helps avoid comparisons to certain Adult Swim shows. I can't pretend that the editing in the original Digifest videos wasn't influenced by the likes of Tim & Eric, The Eric Andre Show, and - the ones we all owe a debt to - Wonder Showzen and Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast, but I couldn't find another way to give the material the same feel as Digitiser.
When we did Biffovision it always troubled me that it looked so "clean"; complete randomness is something that feels like it has been lost in British comedy. The Pythons, Spike Milligan and The Young Ones did it so well, but somehow modern British comedy often - to me - seems a bit self-conscious and overly curated.
In my defence, I've been writing surreal, stream-of-consciousness nonsense for decades. The lo-fi look was as much inspired by the fact that the Digi spoof ads were funnier when done in teletext graphics. Somehow, looking like an old thing made them weirder. And I also wanted reveal-o-joke pop-ups, and the best way to do that seemed to be cutting away to other stuff via glitchiness.
Incidentally, I added the intro text scroll and the original Goujon John video only last Friday. I decided I wanted a way to get people up to speed, who might not have seen the earlier episodes, so that the series - starting with this first new ep - was self-contained without needing knowledge of anything which has gone before.
It also helps to set up the mystery, and place "Mr Biffo" as a character himself, thus avoiding a bit of my discomfort that it might appear like I'm some rampant egomaniac who has to have his own name - even though that isn't my name - in the title of all the things he's made.
That's Horsenburger on the left. The Xenoxxx nurses are played by my stepdaughter Gaia and Steve's daughter Louise, while the head nurse is Tori Baker, who works at the hospital and got us access. You'll be seeing a lot more of it over the course of the series.
Who's the figure in the cape? Time will tell...
Tea Prancer was another popular spoof ad I'd done on Digi, and seemed like a natural fit for the show. I slightly love Starboy 5,000 who - like Goujon John - was found on Fiverr.
My only real regret about the show is that it's very male and very white. The truth is, I tried really hard to find people who weren't, but nobody quite had that slight edge of weirdness that Found Footage needs. I'll try harder next time.
The footage was all taken from a tape we made in lunchtimes at school - around rehearsals for a ridiculous end-of-term show I'd written - and a school trip to Holland over Easter 1986. Given that The Hoon Show was the first script I ever had performed - age of 15 - and Found Footage is the latest, I liked the sense of linking them somehow. Plus... it meant that I didn't have to actually find footage from elsewhere.
Somewhat appropriately, Saturday night's launch party was held at the Harrow Arts Centre about two minutes from my old high school where a lot of this was shot.
The close-up shots in the Haireater video are of my mouth, because every time Anthony tried to chew the hair he started retching.
There are various members of mine and Anthony's families glimpsed throughout the sequence, which was filmed following the Enhance My Tarp shoot (in my dad's garage).
This was one of the very first sequences I made for the series. I actually did the animation first as a sort of test, before I knew what it was for. Working out what Puckles was saying took a while. I even sent it to Digi's Mr Hairs and asked him to help.
He didn't have any ideas beyond Puckles starting by saying "Hello, I'm James Bond."
This is Yiannis Vasiliakis and Tom Webster, who crop up again over the course of the series. I was put in touch with them by Stuart Ashen. Yiannis is also in the finale as a main character.
True fact: Tom (right) designs covers for the Big Finish range of Doctor Who audio stories.
Watch the documentary about them on Netflix. Then go and see them live if you can; they are genuinely amazing, and I hope I get to work with them again.
Our cast were very well behaved, and rarely corpsed during takes. The same cannot be said for the crew (well, Sanya and I) who ruined multiple takes with laughter.
The robot sketch was the worst. It was the way the robot (played by Yiannis) sings "Eat your snack, don't look back - yeah!" that got me. Every. Single. Time. We had to re-record his lines afterwards because of my unprofessional nonsense.
Please watch his stuff on YouTube. He's also got a FREE gig coming up with the brilliant Stuart Laws. You can get tickets here. Go along and ruin it by shouting "Teeeeeeaaaa!" at him (please don't ruin it).
True fact: originally, Stuart Ashen filmed the Tea Prancer stuff, then I realised we'd forgotten to give him any tea cups, so we had to shoot it all over again. The leotard wasn't washed inbetween. Sorry, Chris.
Chris's climactic cry of "Teeaaaaaa!" was actually recorded backwards!
Also in this clip, not that you can tell, is me - dressed in a deeply unflattering green bodysuit, for the purposes of "special effects".
Same time next week then?