FAQ for Comedy Creators

Questions, frequently asked by comedy creators

BURNING QUESTIONS? PLEASE!!! take 15 minutes to review the FAQ below. It will likely save you 48 hours waiting for a response… We’ll publish updates regularly. If your question is not covered below, email us at: faq@comedycoup.com

General Overview

What is CBC ComedyCoup?

ComedyCoup is a disruptive studio that accelerates comedy creators towards development and production opportunities for their original show concepts. Teams apply with a teaser video for their project. They develop and advance on ComedyCoup’s fan-fueled social web platform over a 10-week period when a minimum of five projects are optioned for development and one project is greenlit for production. Fast and fierce, the selected project works with ComedyCoup producers to to deliver, market and broadcast a half-hour comedy special for CBC prime time by Fall 2015.

Benefits: Why Participate?

In an industry plagued by indecision and waiting games, ComedyCoup aims to give all creators a quick “No” or “Yes” instead of a long string of “Maybes”. Even if your project isn’t optioned, it's our hope your team can leverage your ComedyCoup experience and project package to entice outside producers and get a leg up advancing your career.

ALL COMEDY CREATORS who participate will:
  • Build a professional, multimedia package to promote and pitch your show concept. ComedyCoup will host your project content and social feeds for two years on your unique ComedyCoup microsite.
  • Gain national press and worldwide internet exposure while building new audiences for your talent and ideas.
  • Develop traditional media and social marketing savvy to further your career.

  • Option a minimum of five projects, maximum ten, for a two-year development deal.
  • Greenlight one project with $500K financing to create a half-hour special for CBC prime time (produced by ComedyCoup) with the potential to be picked up for a series order.
  • Work with the other optioned projects to position them with other broadcasters, both nationally and abroad.

How Does it Work?

  • APPLICATIONS: 5 weeks, August 18 through September 21, 2014. Creators submit their application requirements to the ComedyCoup website.
  • ADVANCEMENT: 10 weeks October 2 through December 10, 2014. Teams create content to develop and package their show concepts. ComedyCoup publishes the content on each team’s unique ComedyCoup project page. Teams share their links across the social web to promote their projects and build audiences. Fans can help their favourite projects advance by watching, sharing, providing feedback and voting.
  • DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION & PUBLICITY: approximately 10 months January through fall 2015. The greenlit team works with ComedyCoup producers to create their half-hour special for CBC prime time, for a fall 2015 broadcast slot on the CBC.

Is ComedyCoup a Contest?

No, ComedyCoup is not a contest. It’s transparent independent studio that’s focused on supporting comedy concepts and creative talent that connect with audiences. The advancement process combines project performance indicators, fan influence and evaluation from ComedyCoup producers and industry advisors. ComedyCoup does not offer a “prize”, but instead guarantees to option a minimum of five projects (maximum 10) and finance one project for $500,000 to create a half-hour special for CBC prime time.

What's an "Accelerator"?

Popular in the technology sector, Accelerated incubator programs designed to discover talent, de-risk ideas for investors and, ultimately, get to market quickly.

In relation to ComedyCoup, the Accelerator is designed to support entrepreneurs (“comedy creators”) who have original ideas (“show concepts”) that resonate with markets (“fans”) and potential investors (“ComedyCoup Producers”). Over a short, intense period (10 weeks), the Accelerator provides development support (“missions” to build a “project package”), valuable market feedback (“fans”, “performance indicators” and “industry evaluation”), development deals (“Option Agreement”) and capitalization (“The Big Deal” for production financing). What would normally take a startup (“project”) a couple of years to accomplish via traditional channels, the Accelerator achieves in months.

WARNING! This model is not for every creator and not for every idea you may have. It’s tough-love in nature and designed to stoke entrepreneurial talent (from both creative development and marketing standpoints) who have an original concept that can be produced within ComedyCoup’s production constraints .

Who Can Participate?

  • ComedyCoup invites both emerging and existing creative talent to apply.
  • Any legal resident of Canada who has reached the age of majority in his or her province or territory of residence who are not employees or representatives of ComedyCoup or its partners (as set out in the Rules “Eligibility”) can participate as a ComedyCoup creators.

What Kind of Comedies?

… You show us! ComedyCoup is looking for new forms of funny (period) where the destination is broadcast television. It’s got to be original, brave comedy that doesn’t pull punches. We don’t expect you to re-invent the wheel, perhaps your concept is a novel twist on a situation, format, characters, storytelling or production style. It’s up to you to be inventive, unexpected and ultimately to bring the funny.


  • A concept for an original half-hour comedy special that can be broadcast on prime time, produced within a budget of $500K and yet has enough depth to be turned into a television or web series should the opportunity arise.
  • All material you submit to the ComedyCoup website must be original and generated by the applicant. We realize music is more difficult to secure so ComedyCoup has pre-arranged the use of the Jingle Punks library for uses in content directly related to weekly mission content.
  • ComedyCoup IS NOT LOOKING FOR 22-minutes of conventional stand-up comedy.
  • Intensive animation concepts will have to demonstrate they can meet the budget and scheduling constraints.
  • ComedyCoup is not interested in being a censor, but we expect creators to use common sense in terms of the subjects, themes and values they choose to explore. That being said don’t assume just because this is prime time on the CBC we are looking for ‘safe’ content. This is 2014, very little is taboo and we’re looking for the same level of audacity that “The Kids in the Hall” brought to the network when it premiered in 1988.
  • ComedyCoup is not interested in supporting blatant pornography or narratives that promote hate, violence or obvious intolerance against a specific group without any redeeming value

Financing, Rights & Distribution

What’s The $500K Big Deal?

The Final 5 teams will travel to an exclusive event to pitch their project live before an audience of fans and industry alike. Asking the tough questions at the end of their pitch will be a panel made up of comedy pros and a top ComedyCoup “Superfan”. Immediately following the pitches and panel Q&A, one project will be greenlit by ComedyCoup producers for a half-hour comedy special to be broadcast in fall 2015 on the CBC in prime time at a budget level of no-less than $500,000.

Where Does Funding Come From?

ComedyCoup producers have already assembled the funding necessary to produce the comedy special. The intent is for the greenlit production to take place in the content creators province of origin, but depending on robustness of film/tv infrastructure, existing provincial tax credits and other unforeseen challenges, ComedyCoup producers reserve the right to move the production to a jurisdiction in Canada that provides the greatest benefit for the production. ComedyCoup producers will also work to enrich the production with valuable in-kind services from established industry providers (equipment providers, post-production services, etc.).

Other Partners / Sources of Funding

Many creators ask if they can apply with other production partners or sources of funding tied to their projects. Unfortunately the answer is "no". The original comedy special being put forward by the registered content creators participating in ComedyCoup must be unencumbered in every respect (clean chain of title, no outside partners). The Top 15 teams will negotiate the same option agreement collectively employing a single legal representative decided by a group vote. Due to the tight window required to negotiate the option, ComedyCoup Producers are not in a position to process special circumstances by individual teams. That being said, once the option has been executed by both the content creators and ComedyCoup producers, there will be an opportunity to consider scenarios that add value to the production. Our goal is to make the best comedy special possible.

Tell Us More About the Option...

If your team advances to the Top 15, ComedyCoup producers will present you with an Option Agreement for your script that is negotiable. You will select a legal representative (by a collective Top 15 vote) who will negotiate on your behalf over a two-week period. If you choose to accept and agree to the terms of the negotiated Option Agreement, ComedyCoup will offer a minimum of five and a maximum of ten teams a renewable 2-year option on their script. Option fees will be part of the negotiated terms. 

Do I Give Up My Rights When I Apply?

No. By participating in ComedyCoup, we do ask for the non-exclusive rights to use any materials you upload, filmmaker likenesses, editorial content, etc. The intent is for ComedyCoup to be able to use this uploaded material for press releases, broadcast, marketing, etc. to help promote creators and their projects. If your team advances to the Top 15 you will be presented with an Option Agreement for your script that will be negotiated fairly and in good faith (see below).

Who Controls Rights?

The greenlit project selected for financing will negotiate a long-form contract in good faith that will address worldwide rights, fees for the content creators and net-revenue percentages.

The Application Phase

What Do We Need to Apply?

Comedy creators must sign up and complete the following requirements before the application deadline on Sunday, September 21 at 11:59:59PM EDT:
  • PROJECT REGISTRATION: Designate one team member to register your project. Click APPLY NOW (top right), enter a project name and follow the steps to create your personal account and activate your project.
  • PROJECT DASHBOARD: Once you complete registration, you’ll manage your application requirements in your personal project dashboard.
  • TEASER VIDEO: Create a 90-second teaser video that showcases your comedy show concept. Get the mission brief and upload your video in the MISSIONS tab of your project dashboard.
  • TEAM: Sign up with a team of three Canadians with skills to create, execute and market original screen-based comedy. Each team member must submit a personal profile (bio, image, links).
  • SOCIAL ACCOUNTS: Create a Facebook page and Twitter account for your project and connect them to your ComedyCoup project page.
  • PROJECT PROFILE: Create a project profile that includes images, a logline and synopsis that will be displayed on your project page and across the website.

Teaser Video Requirements

  • You must upload your teaser video to your ComedyCoup project before the application deadline on September 21, 2014 at midnight EDT.
  • ComedyCoup will publish your video on your unique project page and you’ll promote it by sharing your unique ComedyCoup project link when the website launches to fans on October 2, 2014 at 9PM EDT


  • 90-second teaser video. Maximum 500MB. Supported formats: AVI, MOV, MP4. Supported resolutions: 1280x720, 1920x1080
  • Think you got prime time material? Don’t tell us -- show us! Call it a “concept trailer”, “idea prototype” or “sizzle”, we’re looking for 90 seconds of brilliance that captures your creative vision and originality.
  • THE GOAL here is to leave fans wanting more so they’re stoked to follow and support your project’s progress during the 10-week advancement phase.
  • DON’T PANIC! The teaser video does not need to feature your final cast, locations, etc., but it should showcase the groundbreaking potential of your creative talent and concept.
  • HINT! Picture and audio quality are important because audiences gravitate to production value. Other teams will bring their A-game -- bring yours. Fools spend to get it, mavericks get creative...
  • MAKE IT ROCK! Jingle Punks provides ComedyCoup creators free access to 35,000 pre-cleared tracks for their weekly mission videos. Details are in the TOOLS tab of your project dashboard.
  • Teams are expected to edit short ComedyCoup branded bumpers at the front and end of their videos. Once you register your project, the ComedyCoup bumpers are available for download in your project dashboard TOOLS tab.
  • Review the content guidelines

Team Requirements

Creative, resourceful, agile and driven to deliver original comedy concepts, your team should combine practical skills and extraordinary superpowers.


  • To participate in ComedyCoup all projects must apply with a team of three Canadians who are the age of majority in their province.
  • These three people will represent the project on the ComedyCoup website and, if your project is successful, they’ll execute the legal option and attend the Final 5 event.
  • The person who has registered the project must invite two team members to join the project.
  • Each team member must complete their personal profile (bio, image, team role and links) before the application deadline.
  • Team members don’t have to be located in the same city but they do have to connect and work closely every week during the 10-week advancement phase.
  • You can only be an official member of one ComedyCoup project.
  • To change a team member after the application deadline, you must request permission. ComedyCoup will consider requests based on reason and compassion, however, we are only making these changes for the Top 15.
  • TEAM ROLES: each team member will indicate their primary and secondary role on the team. Roles include: Showrunner, Writer, Director, Producer, Marketing / Social, Talent, Editor, Director of Photography, Graphic Designer and a self-defined role.


  • Very! ComedyCoup is committed to qualifying as a 10 out of 10 Canadian content production with the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO). The 10 point scale as defined by CAVCO awards points for key creative personnel who are Canadian. The 10 point scale is as follows.
    • Director = 2 points
    • Screenwriter = 2 points
    • Lead performer = 1 point
    • 2nd Lead performer = 1 point
    • Director of photography = 1 point
    • Art Director = 1 point
    • Music composer = 1 point
    • Picture editor = 1 point
  • For Producers and all other cast and crew who are not part of the 10 point scale, your Canadian citizenship is equally important, as tax credits for ALL Canadian labour are an integral part of production financing.


  • Excellent question!  In response let us ask you this:
    • Do you maintain a permanent residence in Canada?
    • Do you pay income tax in Canada?
  • If you answered “no” to either of these questions, then sadly you do not qualify and should move back to Canada because Canada is awesome and you never should have left. The Canadian labour tax credit is designed to be a rebate of the income tax that individuals are paying to Canada.  If you don’t keep a residence and/or don’t pay taxes in Canada, you’re ineligible.


  • To meet the demands of ComedyCoup, you will need access to an extended production team to help create and promote the weekly content.
  • GIVE THEM CREDIT: There are many opportunities to give your extended team the credit they deserve. If they’re core contributors, consider including them in your project synopsis that appears on your main project page. If they help you on a specific mission, give them credit in the video’s written description or upload an additional image of that week’s crew and tag them for credit. You can also give them shoutouts on social media.
  • ComedyCoup producers are predisposed to strongly consider your extended production team to fulfill the key production roles required should your project be greenlit.
  • ComedyCoup has no current agreement with any union organization (ACTRA, IATSE, DGC, etc.).  The mission videos, stills, and related content are materials of an entirely promotional nature, intended to help package your project and generate interest in its development and production. There are no expectations to use professional cast or crew in the creation of these promotional materials. Should you have any additional concerns regarding the use of union members, we recommend inquiring directly with the union in question.


  • We’re looking for the most well-rounded, ‘entrepreneurial’ teams with the skills and talent to create, execute and market a killer comedy concept that's ready for prime time.
  • Fans connect with people. Make sure your team are able to communicate a distinct personality that amplifies your content in a genuine and authentic manner. It’s not just about marketing your show concept, but marketing yourselves. Fans who fall in love with creators will evangelise your project.


Social Network Accounts

During the Application phase, all teams are required to create a Facebook* page and Twitter account for their show. You must connect these accounts to your ComedyCoup project page via your project dashboard SOCIAL tab. They must be new accounts created specifically for your ComedyCoup project. There are several reasons for this:
  • It’s a marketing exercise. Shows deserve their own branded channels to gain traction with audiences.
  • It creates a level playing field for all projects from where we can gauge your progress.
  • The content will be relevant when we publish your social feeds on your ComedyCoup project page.
  • If your project gets produced, you’ll have a head start on marketing to a targeted fan base.
NO! Why you ask? Because ComedyCoup doesn't start audience measurement until the designated launch.  Hence you need every eyeball you can get your hands on, directed squarely at your project page on comedycoup.ca to maximize your social impact.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, ComedyCoup encourages teams to link and leverage other social channels to further drive audience discovery and engagement.
  • You can connect a Tumblr, Instagram account to your project and we will display content from those accounts on your project page.
  • You can submit up to three additional links relevant to your project or work (such as blogs, highlight and reels).

Facebook pages are designed for brands and artists to connect with audiences. They are NOT PERSONAL ACCOUNTS.

Your Project Profile

Images and written information are powerful packaging tools for your show concept. These elements will be displayed prominently on your project page and in the website’s listings directories. They make a big first impression on fans so take some time to make `em shine! You can edit your project profile until the application deadline on Sunday, September 21.

  • PROJECT AVATAR: Your project avatar represents your team on the ComedyCoup website. Make it distinctive. Min. size: 200x200 | Supported formats: PNG, JPEG, JPG
  • BANNER IMAGE: The banner image is the first thing fans will see on your page. It the brand personality for your concept. Make a creative statement. Min. size: 940x348 | Supported formats: PNG, JPEG, JPG
  • PROJECT TITLE: Fans will be able to search projects by title.
  • PROJECT URL: You will share this link when you promote your project on social channels.
  • LOGLINE: Your logline is a hook for your audience to learn more (one punchy, leading statement). It will be displayed in ComedyCoup website directories.
  • SYNOPSIS: Your synopsis needs to go beyond summarizing your show. It needs to sell it. Frame your concept as an original, “new form of funny”. Make us wanna watch.
  • CITY: Fans and media get behind hometowns heros. What city are you representing?
  • PROVINCE: Fans will be able to use location tags to search and discover projects by province.
  • COUNTRY: If you’re not Canadian, you’re not eligible for CBC ComedyCoup. Sorry!

The Advancement Phase


The Advancement phase starts when ComedyCoup publishes all eligible project applications (and teaser videos) on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 9PM EDT. It runs for 10 weeks, through the Final 5 event when ComedyCoup will greenlight one project for production.

The advancement phase combines the following elements:

  • Weekly “mission” assignments
  • Marketing and social promotion
  • Social voting campaigns
  • Performance indicators
  • Advancement to Top 50, Top 15 and Final 5
  • Draft script and show bibile (Top 50)
  • Selecting legal representation to negotiate the Option Agreement (Top 15)
  • “The Big Deal” event (Final 5)

What Are "Missions"?

“Missions” are mandatory weekly assignments designed to develop and package your show concept while showcasing your talent and creativity. They’re the ultimate fan engagement hooks that will distinguish your project package and contribute to your advancement.
  • Teams will have a minimum of six days to complete each mission and upload their content to their project by the mission deadline. If you miss a deadline, you’ll disappoint your fans and miss the week’s opportunity to promote your project on the website.
  • Teams will get direction and details about each assignment in the weekly “Mission Brief”, published on the MISSIONS tab of your project dashboard.
  • Each mission will contain minimum content requirements, usually one short video and a banner image that represents the mission.
  • Each mission also allow teams to upload other media relevant to the assignment. These optional uploads can help you connect with fans. For example, glimpses of your development and production processes or extended team members.
  • Every week, ComedyCoup will publish your new mission content on your unique project page on the ComedyCoup website on Monday nights at 9PM EDT.
  • Teams are expected to share links to their mission content to promote their projects (see next section).

Marketing & Social Promo

Social media provides powerful low cost marketing channels to engage the kinds of fans who will evangelize your project and help your team advance. During the 10-week advancement phase that begins October 2, 2014, you’ll share links to your ComedyCoup content on social media to get valuable feedback and build audience support for your project.
  • Teams are expected to promote their project and share link to their ComedyCoup content on their project’s Facebook page and Twitter account. 
  • The team’s social performance indicators will contribute to its advancement (as described below in “Top 50 and Top 15 Advancement”)
  • During the Top 50 phase, teams will also have the opportunity to submit other relevant content that demonstrates their marketing efforts such as event collateral, voting campaigns, earned media coverage and blog posts. The content will be aggregated on each Project’s “Press & Promo” page and will be considered during the Final 5 and The Big Deal evaluation (as described below).
  • Finally, teams are encouraged to leverage your real-life social networks. When ComedyCoup launches to fans, we expect teams to bootstrap support for their projects through friends, family and the communities they live in.

What is Social Voting?

Social voting allows your fans to flex their influence and support your project for advancement. Voting results are one of four criteria that contribute to a project’s advancement.

All registered fans will be allocated the same base number of votes at the beginning of each voting period. In between voting periods, fans can earn additional votes by completing “Fan Badges”. During voting periods, a Fan can elect to cast all their votes for one project, or they can distribute their votes amongst several projects.

There will be two scheduled social votes when registered ComedyCoup fans can login to the website and cast votes to help their favourite projects advance. Voting periods are 4 days, scheduled as follows:

  • Top 50 Voting Period: October 23 at 9AM EDT - October 26, 2014 by 11:59:59PM EDT
  • Top 15 Voting Period: November 6 at 9AM EST - November 9, 2014 by 11:59:59PM EST
  • All votes will be audited and verified algorithmically to identify and rectify any incidents of gaming.

Top 50 & Top 15 Advancement

Teams will advance based on the strength of their project package and their efforts to engage fan support. At the Top 50 and Top 15 gateways, teams will advance based on a weighted calculation of the following criteria:

  • Performance indicators on mission content
  • Performance indicators on social networks
  • Voting results
  • Gateway-specific criteria such as meeting the script and bible requirement for eligibility to advance to the Top 15.

Eligible teams with the highest performance indicators, and wildcards (as defined below), will advance to the Top 50 and Top 15.

While audience support is a key element to success, ComedyCoup is not a popularity contest. Our performance algorithms are designed to reward qualitative over quantitative engagement by measuring factors such as sentiment, trends, reach and retention within the website and on your project’s social networks. To prevent unfair gaming, ComedyCoup is unable to publish specific data points and weight allocations for any given criteria.

What Are "Wildcards"?

ComedyCop reserves the right to consider any project for wildcard advancement, regardless of its performance indicators and voting results. If ComedyCoup wants to advance a project as a wildcard, the eligible project(s) with the lowest combined performance indicators and voting results will be eliminated in place of the wildcard project(s).

  • Top 50 gateway: up to 10 wildcards may be advanced in lieu of the Top 41 through Top 50.
  • Top 15 gateway: up to 5 wildcards may be advanced in lieu of the Top 11 through Top 15

If your project misses the Top 50 cut, you can continue submitting content to your project on the website to be considered for wildcard advancement in to the Top 15.

Script & Show Bible Treatment

To be eligible for advancement into the Top 15, the Top 50 teams must submit script and bible treatments by Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 9PM EDT. ComedyCoup will not publish these written requirements at any time in any form. They will be used internally to help ComedyCoup evaluate the project’s overall quality, originality and viability in terms of budget and schedule constraints.
  • SCRIPT: minimum first draft of script for 22 broadcast minutes for half-hour special. Teams that do not follow a traditional scripted format can request permission to submit a treatment for their 22 broadcast minutes.
  • SHOW BIBLE TREATMENT: a reference document used to inform the series that include elements such as characters, setting and series arc.

How Are Options Negotiated?

After the Top 15 projects are selected, ComedyCoup will present the teams with a list of qualified entertainment lawyers to assist in the negotiation of the Option Agreement (including the option fee and all terms). Each team will be allotted one vote to cast for their preferred lawyer from the list. The lawyer who receives the majority of votes will be designated as the lawyer for all Top 15 teams.

Within a two-week period, the designated lawyer will negotiate the Option Agreement on behalf of all Top 15 teams with ComedyCoup’s legal representative.

Signing the Option Agreement is at the sole discretion of each individual team.

ComedyCoup will option a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of fifteen (15) projects in accordance with the terms of the negotiated Option Agreement.


Selecting The Final 5

ComedyCoup will evaluate the Top 15 projects using the criteria below to select five teams for advancement to the Big Deal event:
  • Cumulative performance indicators and voting results from October 2 at 9PM EDT through November 9 at 11:59:59PM EST.
  • The strength of their overall project including their mission content and marketing efforts.
  • Quality and feasibility of the draft script and show bible treatment
  • Originality of show concept and strength of scriptwriting
  • Viability to attach talent to the project
  • Viability to meet accelerated production schedule
  • Viability to meet $500,000 production budget

What Happens at “The Big Deal” Event?

The Final 5 teams and the ComedyCoup Uberfan will travel to a live event (the “The Big Deal”), at the expense of ComedyCoup in the period between Saturday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 10 2014. The date and location of the event will published when the Final 5 projects are announced on Monday, November 24 2014 at 9PM EDT.

During the event, each team will pitch their project to before panel of industry professionals from television and creative cultural industries, ComedyCoup producers, one advisory “Uberfan” and a live audience. Each project pitch will combine the following elements:

  • Live on-stage intro
  • Video highlight reel
  • Live on-stage close
  • Live Q&A with the panel

The panel and ComedyCoup will consider the following factors in their evaluation of each project:
  • The strength of the live project pitch
  • Cumulative performance indicators and voting results from October 2 at 9PM EDT through November 9 at 11:59:59PM EST.
  • The strength of their overall project including their mission content and marketing efforts.
  • Quality and feasibility of the draft script and show bible treatment
  • Originality of show concept and strength of scriptwriting
  • Viability to attach talent to the project
  • Viability to meet accelerated production schedule
  • Viability to meet $500,000 production budget

The ComedyCoup panel will be announced in advance of the Top 15. The panel will be made up of esteemed recognized professionals from both the business and creative sides of the Canadian Television community.One ComedyCoup Superfan will also sit on the panel.

Accelerated Production


The production cycle for ComedyCoup’s first greelit project is set to run January 2015 through Fall 2015.
  • ACTION! The selected project team works with ComedyCoup producers through development, pre-production, production and post-production
  • HYPE! ComedyCoup works with your team to turn on the hype machine across marketing channels.

Can We Shoot Anywhere in Canada?

ComedyCoup will consider any provincial jurisdiction that has an established and recognized film infrastructure. If your team happens to be situated in a region of Canada that lacks the traditional resources needed to execute your show production in a timely professional manner, your team will need to demonstrate a well-conceived plan to deliver on-time, on-budget and at a production level that meets ComedyCoup's quality expectations.