Sapphire’s Wayne Blair to direct Jungleboys sketch show

Wayne Blair

One of Australia’s most sought-after directors has signed on to a new ABC sketch comedy series, Encore can reveal.

The Sapphires director Wayne Blair will direct sketches in The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting, produced by The Jungleboys for the public broadcaster.

Last week Blair received the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts award for best direction for his work on The Sapphires, which also won best film.

Jason Burrows, co-founder and executive producer at Jungleboys, told Encore: “Wayne is obviously an awesome director and he’s good with comedy. He’s one of our directors and has a great profile.”

“He’s obviously quite in demand and will be even more so once The Sapphires releases in the States next month. But he’s still into doing commercials and fun projects like this.”

Jungleboys added Blair to their books at the end of last year for work as a commercial director.

Production for the sketch series begins on February 11 and also working on the project are directors from Jungleboys’ stable including Trent O’Donnell, Christiaan and Connor Van Vuuren, best known for the online video series The Bondi Hipsters, 2012 Tropfest winner Alethea Jones and Laid director Abe Forsythe.

“It’s just awesome to be able to do a team project and every single director will bring their own thing. There will be an overall tone but it’s a real collaborative project, from directing to writing and cast,” said Burrows. Each of the directors attached to the project have selected sketches they’d like to direct while some have written their own work. Last year there was also a call for submissions from up-and-coming writers and comedians which saw more than 2,400 sketches submitted. Fewer than 100 were selected for the series.

In late 2012 Jungleboys received Enterprise Funding from Screen Australia, partly off the back of their aim to work with new talent on this project. “It was part of our Screen Australia enterprise funding to work and develop new comedic talent and to experiment with different ideas,” said Burrows. “Through sustainable production companies, sketches are a great way to do that. It was nice Screen Australia saw potential in what we were trying to do.”

This feature first appeared in the tablet edition of Encore. To download click on the links below.


  1. Mort Polymer
    7 Feb 13
    2:22 pm

  2. Cool, go Wayne – but did u know Jungleboys sought sketches in January (albeit in paragraph form which IMHO is counterintuitive to gag writing) received 2400, culled them to 90, only to have the ABC reject them all?

  3. jason burrows
    8 Feb 13
    2:26 pm

  4. Hi Mort,

    Sorry but that’s not correct. Yes , we had a huge response and the ABC could only have us produce about 90 but those 90 were approved.

    Jason Burrows

  5. Mort Polymer
    11 Feb 13
    9:24 am

  6. @Jason… That is to be hoped for – maybe the confusion comes from the email you guys sent out viz:

    “There was a huge response to our call out for sketches with over 2400 sketches submitted from which only 90 could be chosen. Unfortunately the ABC’s final list has come back and your sketches have not made the list. ”


    “It was a tricky one. Nobody had time to read 2500 scripts so we had to ask for one paragraph descriptions, and when someone is quickly reading through these, and making a very quick judgement, not all decisions are going to be the right ones. I have no doubt that some of you will see sketches going to air that are not as funny as some of the ideas that you had in your head. ”

    Asking for “paragraphs” is a bit like expecting someone to submit “A man walked into a bar and something funny happened” – with sketches you really need to write them out and craft them for the humour to come thru…

    That said, the ABC are notoriously unadventurous…