Representing our Scripted Digital Series jury is Josh Poole from Above Average. A member of Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, etc.), Above Average produces and hosts a variety of comedy shorts and original series through its own website and through YouTube, and have developed many popular series including 7 Minutes in Heaven with Mike O’Brien, Puppet High, and Sound Advice. As Director of Development at Above Average, Josh oversees creative development and identifies up-and-coming comedic talent to create new series and further bolster Above Average as a haven for comedy online. Josh shares AFF’s passion for spotlighting and championing new voices and storytellers. We’re thrilled to have him on this categories inaugural jury. Check out Above Average’s digital series here. Check out all of our confirmed jurors here.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m the director of development for Above Average, so I suspect that just like everyone who works in development, it’s a little bit hard to describe what my day to day routine is. A lot of my job is being comfortable with straddling the line between creative and business. I find people and projects we should be working with and then figure out a strategy for convincing everyone else that we should make something together. I essentially work on either side of production, so before production begins my job is to search for, evaluate, and develop projects that Above Average will eventually produce. Once we’ve produced a project, my job is to figure out which of those series could be developed into long form. I then work with the creators to develop the concept and pitch that we eventually take out and sell. I also have a handful of projects that I produce hands-on. But like most other jobs it’s really just 70% emails and 30% drinking coffee.
What’s the best part of your job?
I feel incredibly lucky that I get paid to work with some of the funniest humans on earth, often before many people have ever heard of them. The best part of my job is watching the careers of those people I’ve been working with for years absolutely take off. Whether that’s them being staffed on a TV show, directing a movie, or just looking up and seeing somebody in a commercial while I’m sitting at a bar drinking a beer.
What’s your favorite movie and why?
It’s a weird, contradictory tie between The Big Lebowski and Magnolia. I love movies that make me feel something enormous. The Big Lebowski makes me giggle like a child for 80 straight minutes. Magnolia devastates me every single time. I feel compelled to share both of them with every new person that I meet.
Who’s your favorite writer and why?
Again, I’ll cheat and answer with two favorites. Joseph Heller for giving us Catch-22, which was probably the most important contribution to my understanding of the role of comedy in the world. And Philip Roth because he makes me realize that I’m alive and dying, human and just a dumb animal — all the same time.
What’s your favorite part about Austin Film Festival?
I love Austin’s emphasis on the writer – often the least visible and most important aspect of a film.
What was your first job or worst job?
My first job out of college was as a sidewalk and door-to-door fundraiser for politics. I hated it so much that I pretended to have a sprained ankle for most of the summer to get office assignments. And yes, it’s probably all my fault that George W Bush got reelected.