1. Feb 06

    While many are worried about the state of Australian drama, it seems that Aussie comedy is laughing! Free of traditional sit-com formats Australian TV comedy is more diverse, hybridised, and vibrant than it’s ever been and seems to be finding great appeal with international audiences. Moreover, TV comedy is once again serving as the great spring board for new creative talent as the YouTube generation find access to huge audiences and local production companies are thinking smart about how to generate high concept but low-budget productions. This panel will explore both the creative and business ends of TV comedy - making it, developing it, and selling it. At our first TV talks for 2018 MC Mike Jones will shoot the breeze with Rick Kalowski (ABC TV), Mike Cowap (Princess Pictures), Adele Vuko (Skitbox), Alison Bell and Sarah Scheller (The Letdown) and Jason Burrows (Jungle).

    • Jason Burrows: Executive Producer, Jungle
    • Mike Cowap: Senior Producer, Princess Pictures
    • Rick Kalowski: Head of Comedy, ABC TV
    • Adele Vuko: Writer/Director/Producer/Performer, Skit Box
    • Alison Bell: Producer/Writer/Actor, The Letdown
    • Sarah Scheller: Producer/Writer, The Letdown
    • MC: Mike Jones
    Guests Bios

    Jason Burrows established Jungle in his apartment and has built it up to be one of the top production companies in the country. Jason’s Executive Producer television credits include No Activity (the original in Australia and the US remake), the upcoming Mr Inbetween (FX), Squinters (ABC) and Sando (ABC) as well as Here Come the Habibs (Channel 9), A Moody Christmas (ABC), The Moodys (ABC), and The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting (ABC). In the factual sector, his credits include Between a Frock and a Hard Place and As You Dreamt It for the ABC, and comedy documentary The Super Dave Odyssey for Channel 10. In television commercials, he has worked for all of the top advertising agencies in the country, on spots that have received awards at AWARD, D&AD and Cannes.

    Squinters is Jungle’s latest comedy and it goes to air on the ABC on 7 February. The six part series, Created by Trent O’Donnell and Adam Zwar, is to set entirely in cars, featuring mutli-cultural commuters from Sydney’s western suburbs as they drive to work

    Mike Cowap is Senior Producer, Scripted & Unscripted, with Princess Pictures (Summer Heights High, We Can Be Heroes, 8MMM, It’s a Date). Previously, Mike worked at Screen Australia since it was founded in 2008 and before that with predecessor agency the Australian Film Commission since 2005. In his role as Investment Manager at the Federal Government’s key screen agency, Mike managed many award-winning projects including online content, TV series, feature films, apps, interactive drama & documentary, and video games, and conceived and ran many initiatives, conferences, and training opportunities. Mike had special responsibility for innovative digital production, exploring new platforms, finance, and revenue models. Amongst several special programs, Mike initiated and managed SKIP AHEAD with Google/YouTube to support content creators to grow online subscribers, and FRESH BLOOD with ABC TV/iview to find the next wave of comedy filmmaking talent.

    Rick Kalowski has been the ABC TV Head of Comedy since late 2013, Rick is an award winning comedy writer/producer, frequently named among The Age/Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Most Influential People in Television’. For ABC TV and iview, he has overseen some 40 TV and webseries of AACTA- and Logie award-winning, internationally broadcast comedy including the currently airing Rosehaven Season 2, The Ex-PM Season 2 and The Letdown, as well as Utopia, Get Krack!n, Ronny Chieng: International Student, The Katering Show Season 2, Upper Middle BoganPlease Like MeThe Edge of the Bush, the ABC Comedy Showroom pilot season and forthcoming series SquintersSando and Back in Very Small Business. His own credits as co-creator/writer/producer include ABC’s controversial hit At Home with Julia and late night political satire Wednesday Night Fever.

    Sarah Scheller is a writer. Her first television script, The Letdown, aired on the ABC as part of the Comedy Showroom series. Co-written with Alison Bell, the Letdown won the AACTA award in 2016 for Best Television Screenplay. The ABC commissioned a full six-part series in 2017, as a co-production with Netflix International, and the series aired  October 2017. Sarah and Alison are currently developed the second season for the ABC.

    Previous screenwriting work includes contributions to the ABC's The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting and Stan's No Activity. Sarah started her career in public relations and then fashion journalism. As a freelance writer, she has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, Harper's Bazaar and The Guardian.

    Adele Vuko is an actress, writer, director and producer and is one third of the comedy trio Skit Box, who have achieved over 100 million hits (facebook and Youtube) online for several viral videos including the parody music video Activewear and I Got That Flow Skit Box’s sketch television series Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am, which Adele co-created, co-wrote and co-directed, screened on ABC and SEESO in the US in 2016. The pilot episode of Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am was commissioned through ABC iView’s Fresh Blood initiative.

    Most recently, she has worked on Foxtel’s new comedy series The Slot as both the show’s host, and as a performer with Skit Box. The series features prominent Australian Youtube stars and comedians and will screen on FOX8. Adele is currently developing a feature with Jungle as a writer/director, The Hitchhiker. She and the other members of Skit Box are also in development on a self-titled original comedy webseries, which has received funding through Skip Ahead.

    Her writing began with Short + Sweet, the world’s largest short play festival. From this Sydney-based festival, her plays went on to win galas, and were produced in Short + Sweet festivals around the world, including Dubai, Mumbai and Bangalore, and the Fringe Comedy Festival in London. Adele has worked on various television productions and TVCs within Sydney, including producing the hit web series Bondi Hipsters and has starred on-screen in television including upcoming series Sando for Jungle, Underbelly: RazorSoul Mates IIDeadbeat Dads, sketch comedy shows The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting and This is Littleton, and in the Australian film Not Suitable For Children. In 2014 she appeared as the lead in the comedy feature Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse..

    Alison Bell is the co-creator/co-writer/associate producer and star of The Letdown, an ABC/Netflix International co-production. The Letdown is the first Australian comedy commissioned by Netflix International. The pilot episode won Alison and Sarah Scheller (co-creator/co-writer/assoc producer) the AACTA Award for Best writing for Television in 2016.

    Prior to The Letdown Alison, a multi-award winning actress was perhaps best known for her work on the MTC, Belvoir, STC, Malthouse and STCSA stages. She has also appeared in many Australian television series and starred in the AACTA award winning Comedy, Laid.

    MC Mike Jones is a writer, script editor, and story producer. He has worked in script development with companies including the ABC, WarnerBros, Porchlight, and Jungle. He has served as script-producer for Everycloud Productions and Princess Pictures, leads long-form script labs for Google/YouTube, and is story consultant to ABC Signature studios in the US.  Mike is also a regular collaborator with SweetPotatoFilms whose recent success in includes the multi award-winning mystery drama series, ‘The Kettering Incident’. Most recently Mike script-produced a range of projects for the ABC including youth-drama series 'Deadlock' and the 'Long Story Short' slate of comic-drama series including 'F*cking Adelaide', 'Other People's Problems', 'Wrong Kind of Black', and 'Edge of the Bush'.  Mike was co-creator of the virtual-reality detective-thriller ‘VRNoir: A Day Before the Night’  and is co-writer of forthcoming speculative-fiction VR thriller, ‘Awake’. He previously served as development consultant with ScreenAustralia and lectured in story & writing at the Australian Film TV & Radio School.


The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.