We love these FINE FELLOWS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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We love these FINE FELLOWS

The Internet is a marvelous place. There's a never ending supply of new geek delights out there, just waiting to be discovered, and this is one of them we stumbled across recently. This is the story of Fine Fellows.

'Fine Fellows' is an adventure comedy that tells the stories of an underground group of vigilantes, the self proclaimed 'Council Of Fine Fellows', who are sworn to protect the values and institutions that their town was founded upon...

The brainchild behind Fine Fellows is writer/director Ian Avery. I caught up with him to find out more about the project.

For a long time I had this idea for these characters that were brilliant idiots. A well meaning group of underground vigilantes, who were sworn to protect the values and social conscience that their once grand, now faded English town, was founded upon, ‘a magnificent seven in a decadent Devon’.  These four friends call themselves the Fine Fellows, and undertake elaborate plans and schemes for the purposes of saving the ailing institutions and vulnerable in the town of Munro.

The central concept of the show is what it means to be a ‘Fine’ Fellow and the comedy comes from the four Fine Fellows unflagging attempts to be true to this ideal. The Fellows are these eternally optimistic outsiders, forever looking-out for the little guy, and what I liked about them most was that although they bicker from time to time, they like each other, they think that they’re great (which they kinda are, but they’re also a bit shit). 

The idea was to write something that was laugh out loud funny, very high gag rate, but with its heart very much in the right place, something new and original and energetic and yet nostalgic with real atmosphere and warmth. I wanted it very much to have a timeless quality, mixing the energy of 80s high concept Hollywood with the creaking of a once grand now forgotten English town. With nods to all those Saturday morning shows I spent too long watching as a kid like  ‘Battle of The Planets’, ‘Defenders Of The Earth’, ‘Street Hawk’, 'The A-Team’, ‘The Raccoons’ all that stuff.

After thinking about all of this for far too long I ended up locking myself away and writing a complete 12 episode TV show story arc over 2 series, with back stories etc. I ended up deciding to film the Fine Fellows pilot myself. Now although it might appear that there was a crew and lighting and editing suites etc etc I can very much promise that everything was very much painted by my own fair hand. Everything. It was filmed in my living room, kitchen and the local hall. If that reads as an Avery ego trip its certainly a unintentional and I would wish to dissuade of such a view, as I would have dearly loved to have had other pairs of hands painting with me DEARLY! 

Making it myself was purely a needs must situation and the experience was so soul sapping that come completion it rather left me a bit Fine Fellowed out (which sounds like a euphemism). There was no Kickstarter or anything like that, it was people doing things for free, and having such huge time constraints... and pressure from the people I hired the wigs from... and the locations... cantankerous janitors wondering who these four crazies with a camera were; all this whilst trying to perform and direct, not ideal. 

My idea (the wrong idea) was to film a complete 28 minute episode to broadcast standard, clearly showing the format, style and world of the show, but I only had a week to get it all done and in the end I ran out of time and money. Ultimately I was left with half an episode, it was a nice place to finish the piece and it works ending it where it does, I was very pleased with what we’d got in the can but I was also so exhausted that once the dust settled I kind of just stepped back from it for a bit. 

But now I have a series of 5 minute web shorts scripted (which I should have filmed instead of the pilot) called ‘Time To Be Fine’, which are the Fine Fellows explaining and demonstrating the different skills required to be fine (to hilarious effect).

I suppose my hope, or aim, is to make the community that is Fine Fellows natural audience aware of its existence; to see if they like it and respond to it and hopefully generate a degree of interest and dialogue that might enable us to make more Fine Fellows. 

I’ve put a Fine Fellows page up on my website that shows some of the archive work that was produced for the show, there’s even animation tests. Hopefully that archive coupled with the episode of the show that exists will give a clear idea of what Fine Fellows is and may illicit a desire for people to see more - I’d love to make more.

We'd love to see more too. Let us know what you thought of Fine Fellows, and check out Ian's website for more information.

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