With the end of season 14 production of the Splat! Show now complete. Pete, the founder and director of the site sat down with a interview with Ash. The interview was not filmed but here is a transcript of the interview. We hope you find the interview informative and we hope it gives you more insight into the workings behind the show!
When you look back over the past ten years, how do you feel?
"When I look back, it's hard to believe what has happened, the show, the brand and the support. It's one of those pinch yourselves moments. When I started the show with Rob I would of not believed that the show would still be in production to this day. Even more, it's grown into something that I've had trouble managing, so much so over the past two years since I started taking full control over production"
Yes, can you tell us more about how that came about?
"Well I've said before that I was not completely happy with the direction of the show when Charlie took over the shows after season two. But, it's important for me to stress that, while I was not entirely happy with the direction of the show during seasons 3-10, I am immensely grateful to Charlie for stepping in to provide a production area. The content that Charlie produced is great, but the theme of the show and the direction lost it's way after the fantastic second season. I know that many of the fans enjoyed the show during Charlie's tenure as show director. The sales were robust but I would get feedback from viewers and many were not happy. It's important to state that I was never present at the shoots while Charlie was shooting. I would of course give directions before the shoots and Charlie did his best, and I was pleased when I reviewed the footage after retiring home after the clean ups but I knew that this was not what could of been"
As I've said. Charlie and the shows he directed have his place and they are a part of our history. I am thankful, and always will be for the lifeline he gave us. Afterall, if Charlie did not come forward to offer a place to film, the show would of been cancelled after the second season"
Many feel that the second season of the show was the best until season 14. Was the second season your template for the shows you have produced in season 13-14?
"Actually, I see the first and second season as our best until recently. They were the original format for the show and the shows that were shot followed the brief. Basically a gameshow that you would of watched on TV but with a model taking part. After the second season we lost the Gunge Tank and the tone of the shows changed. It was a pretty stark contrast if you watch season one and two then move on to the third season. Sadly, the first Gunge Tank was destroyed in the move from the second to the third season. I would say the tone moved away from the actual show format to the model. We focused on the model more. That was a mistake. Ive learnnt since that the show makes the model. Well, to a certain degree. I think we can all agree, we want to to see the best looking person taking part. But I think you would be surprised by one of the top selling season one show. Yes, Lee's Splat! Show from the first season is the biggest selling show of the season. By a wide margin, and Lee is not your typical buff model"
Can you tell us how you became the director and of the shows from season 12 present?
"Yes, not many people know this but towards the end of season 11 I was actually present at the shoots that were shot at Charlie's location. This was the first time I actually worked on the shoots apart from the Ally (Ash) shoots that took place. I shot with Jack Mason and Dan B. Charlie informed me he would be moving in the next year or so and I thought what would be the next step. As it happens, I was about to move into my own place and after wrapping up the shoots with Charlie I was thinking about taking on the shoots myself. To be honest, I was thinking about ending production of the shows after Charlie pulled out but the show was still suffesull and I know I wanted to do more, so I took the decision to carry on the shows myself"
How did you feel?
"Nervous. Very nervous. I remember the shoots I had done with Jack Mason and Dan B. Before they arrived, I was a nervous wreck, especially with Dan B who was a minor celebrity. But after they arrived I just got on with it really. I knew what I wanted to do, what direction I want to take the shoots in. I also knew that I could not just shift gear and start producing new shows. Many people think these shoots are easy, but let me tell you, they are not. So I followed the rule that Charlie did. I had a pool and then did some games. The first shoot I did fro season 12 was the Danny skater show, and lets just say it was ok. I had to learn on the go. The lighting was awful, we shot in a bathroom. The only good thing was that we had a great model. Then Jon happened and then things started to blow up. I started to foster a great relationship with the models, something that I feel is important"
Let's talk about the Gunge Tank
"Ah yes, the Gunge Tank. This was at my number one of things to do on my lift after I took control of production. I started a Gunge Tank fund for viewers to help support the creation. Here is the thing, I am sure there are many people out there that think we make a huge profit. Well, let me tell you, we don't! During the course of season 3-11 we were "lucky" if we broke even. Yes, there was the odd shoot that would turn profit but that would support other shoots that made a loss. With Splat! we don't just pay for the shoots and everything that comes with it. The model fee, a model worth anything won't work for less than £200 plus expenses, then you have the gunge for a shoot which runs close to £200 and then you have the clean up expenses of £20 and thats not even mentioning the running costs of the actual site! The annual running costs on the site and admin of things runs close to over a grand! Anyway, so we wanted a new Gunge Tank and we only could get one with the support of the viewers who donated. Season 14 was the first season with the Gunge Tank, and while some may say it's boring. The figures speak for themselves. We are on course for record breaking sales this year. Thats sales, not profit mind you"
Can you tell us what challenges you have to face, business wise?
"Oh, yeah thats another area that many people don't think about. When we first started out the internet was young. Broadband was not as widespread, there was no red tape and actually I was a little blind to the challenges we faced. Since then things have become more complex, actually a lot more complex. I spend most of my free time, while still holding down another full time Job, dealing with the paperwork. It's not just filming new shows and that's the job done. I have to deal with complex tax codes, not just UK tax, but I have to make sure the business is compliant with tax regulations worldwide. For example, I have to record quarterly VAT Tax reports to EVERY European country. If I did not do this, and I know for a fact that other sites DO NOT DO THIS, and trust me, there are currently some active campaigns being run by many countries to weed out non compliant clients which include jail time and unlimited fines, then we would breaking the law. I also have to deal with UK law which has some of the most complex digital tax laws in the world, model release forms and other such things. My time is mostly spent dealing with red tape and staying compliant to the laws and not time on actual shoots"
Wow, whats kept you going?
"What's kept me going, apart from the support? The fans. At every shoot they are alway at the forefront of my thoughts. This show has nearly killed me. Actually, thats wrong, the show hasn't nearly killed me, it's the whole package. I am not sure how long the show will show will stay in active production but I know I've given it my all.
Part two coming soon...