Award-winning comedian and co-host of the Off Menu podcast, James Acaster, is launching a kickstarter to fund an independent scripted comedy podcast.
The 10-part limited series titled Springleaf will bring a comedic twist to true-crime shows, centering around the story of undercover cop Pat Springleaf, who uncovers his biggest case through a series of wire recordings .
“We've decided to go the independent route to fund it, because we want to have complete creative control and want to make it available for everyone to listen to, not stuck behind a paywall,” said Acaster. “However, it turns out making scripted comedy is not as cheap as I thought it would be - and we want everyone involved to be paid fairly - hence the Kickstarter.”
The show will be “a full on audio extravaganza with a huge cast of your favourite comedians”. At the London Podcast Festival in 2022, Acaster played a preview of the pilot during a live recording which featured comedians Kemah Bob and Kath Hughes. He also sat with Mike Wozniak to discuss the project and revealed that he pitched it as a radio show initially, but was rejected due to his comparatively low public profile.
Acaster previously launched another crowdfunded project with Turtle Canyon Comedy in 2016 to finance the second season of his comedy documentary, ‘Sweet Home Ketteringa: James Acaster's Epic Journey’, in which he returned to discover his hometown in 2014.
Backers of Springleaf will receive rewards at different price levels - some being limited edition - including exclusive video downloads, personalised videos from Acaster, tickets for online events, and more. The Kickstarter campaign launches on 1 November, and must meet its (currently undisclosed) funding target by the end of the month in order for the project to be made.
An unnamed donor has also offered to sponsor ten Tier 1 rewards for those that would like to support the campaign but can’t justify the financial investment. Applicants can get in touch via email to register their interest, with ten successful candidates to be drawn at random.
Springleaf will be created with the help of production company Mighty Bunny - by the same team who produced his successful BBC Radio show, James Acaster’s Findings. Producer Lyndsay Fenner said to British Comedy Guide that Acaster’s previous fan-funded project allowed him the freedom to do what he wanted and that this is what they hope to achieve with Springleaf.
"Getting your head around what's James and what's Pat, what's real and what's not, well, it takes me a while sometimes,” said Fenner. “Pat's a complex guy. But it's going to be really, really fun because James is great."