Wednesday, 30 September 2015

There's no right way to drive past a gritter... #BritishDadStuff

Alright, this is a bit of an experiment.

I've done some of these posts before, but trying them out again on youtube.

Edited the whole damn thing on Youtube's video editor under the 'creator tools'.

What's great is that you can edit sequences...
...and then edit those sequences into your new editing sequences.
Like this, what has become the "Full theme from BritishDadStuff".
Eat your heart out, Ron Grainer.

The Full Theme from British Dad Stuff

Hit a problem where there was an instant copyright claim on my own material, even though I'd just uploaded it...
and turns out it's just a glitch where if a video is set to "Monetize", it won't let you import the sound into the video you're editing.

Anyway, grab your popcorn (still not found a recipe for making popcorn properly 'cinema sweet', instead of 'cinema with a grainy bowl of sugar'... - see also, why I am not a food blogger).
Here it comes.

Theres no right way to drive past a road gritter #BritishDadStuff

All my British Dad Stuff is here

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A picture of my new inner arm tattoo this week... its #ArmTattooWisdom

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Monday, 28 September 2015

The New Rules for comedy writers... nicked from Bob Lefsetz new rules for musicians #amwriting

Like the Seth Godin blog [my fave seth posts here], I'm subscribed to Bob Leftsetz

Here's a post with the points that resonated the most,
(with "live" substituted with "writing online"... "musician" with "comedy writer" and "music" with "comedy").

"1. You're a musician, not a recording artist.
It's 2015 and not only have recording revenues declined, the whole world of music has gone topsy-turvy. Yes, there are a few superstars who base their careers on successful recordings, but everybody else is now a player, destined to a life on stage. This ain't gonna change, this is the new reality. You can make an album, have fun, but don't expect people to buy it or listen to it. The audience wants an experience. You're better off honing your presentation than getting a good drum sound on hard drive. Your patter is more important than the vocal effects achieved in the studio... People love a good time. If you deliver one, you'll get more work.
4. Transparency.
Your goal is to get enough fans such that your guarantee goes up.
5. Hits don't guarantee live business.
6. Live is freedom.
You can do whatever you want on stage. As long as the people respond and come back, you're in control, you're winning.
8. Live lasts, hits don't.
You can find your fan base and grow it. Just don't expect it to include everyone and don't believe you're entitled to it. If no one wants to see you live, you should probably find another line of work. But almost no one wants to see you when you're new. Which means you must slog it out, paying your dues, until you find what makes you unique. And music is all about uniqueness, doing something everybody else does not. Me-too is for the radio, not for the stage. If you're not the type who perseveres, if you're not willing to forgo not only college, but creature comforts, you're never going to build a lasting career.
10. Chops are everything.
Practice. Once you're competent, then you can improvise, then you can take chances. And great art is always about taking chances.
12. Music is everywhere!
The public wants to graze online, they want tracks, not albums. And they want to be able to research you and know more about you, which is why you must have an online presence.
13. Know who your fans are.
It doesn't matter how many likes you've got or Facebook friends or YouTube views. Those are nearly meaningless statistics utilized to quantify something elusive. They can be faked and every few years we switch platforms and start counting all over again. Your career is forever. It's about knowing who your fans are and how to reach them. Not overloading them and playing primarily to them. Your fans own you, not the radio station or the media. Your fans will support you. And most of your fans are not vocal, they will not click or tweet or send you e-mail but they'll show up and buy merch."

It's tougher, and more oblique than doing music gigs, but for me, the parallels are striking.

I don't know if - working on other people's shows - I'm the equivalent of a session musician, or a songwriter.

But either way, enjoying stretching the analogies to breaking point.

Literally, do comedy writers have to become standups?
On stage?
Playing to live audiences?

Or is it something more figurative?

That comedy writers have the ability to "perform" online.

For free.

To build an audience.

That might lead to a gig that's paid.

Anyway the full Bob Lefsetz post is here:

Added this to the page where I add all of this kind of stuff about new frontiers in media, and called it The Great Disruption

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Put two wrong things together to write... my big fat list of what's sacred and profane...

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Put two wrong things together to write... my big fat list of what's sacred and profane...

Ice Road Truckers.

Ice (nature = Sacred)
Road Truckers (Profane)

Long hair
Scientific formulae

Hit men
Sex worker
Traffic warden
Loan shark
Burger flipper

The big fat list of Sacred and Profanes is here

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My list of stakes for sitcom scripts and screenplays... #writing

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

My list of stakes for sitcom scripts and screenplays... #writing

Tried looking up a "list of stakes" online for sitcom premises, and didn't find that much out there...

I knocked up a list of random sitcom favourites, to get an idea of the scope for series-wide stakes for the heroes...

Only Fools - financial security
Big Bang Theory - their relationship? and social standing (amongst their peers)
Cheers - Sam's financial security and his health
Father Ted - his sanity and his financial security and good standing and way of life
Good Life - their financial security
Ever Decreasing Circles and Keeping Up Appearances - their good standing
Dads Army - their way of life - their nation
Frasier - good standing and reputation and family and financial security

It resonated with a recent Seth Godin post about what it takes for someone to put something into action:
being ashamed
feeling stupid
being rejected
being left out
getting hurt
being embarrased
left alone

being seen
being needed
becoming independent
relieving anxiety
becoming powerful
making someone proud
fitting in
seen as special
taken care of

So the catch-all list of stakes I ended up with looks like this

Social standing
Financial security
Good health
Secure relationship/marriage
Safe community
Way of life
--> And/Or... The end of the hero's Dreams

Added this to my ever bigger list of writers links

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Another day, another new inner arm tattoo. Here's a photo of my arm tattoo wisdom #BritishDadStuff

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sacred and Profane... two extremities to put together for comedy stuff... #writing

(Do It On My) Twin Bed

Doing it (sex = Profane) your childhood bedroom (family home = Sacred)

Musical instruments

Yellow lines
Sex offenders register
Lift shafts
Police "Do Not Cross" tape

The big fat list of Sacred and Profanes is here

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

I've got the writers' equivalent of The Yips. Or dartitis. Where you can't let go of the dart.

I've got the writing equivalent of darts players not being able to let go of the dart.

I thought there were two processes with writing:

Generating (brainstorming, freewriting, vomit passing)

and Editing (shaping, honing, second drafting).

But there aren't.

There are 3 - The third is:

Outputting (printing, emailing, shipping or publishing).

It's letting go of the thing.

So I looked up what the condition is called in darts players
- (by Googling "darts players not being able to throw a dart")

It's called dartitis, or as Eric Bristow called it...
The Yips.

And here are some randomly chosen solutions pasted from "The Dart Thrower" fan forums that might help writers let go of their arrows.

Just replace the word "player" with "writer",
"throw" with "publish",
and "darts" with "ideas".
"In my opninion dartitis is most likely a matter of rigidness in technique - means many fixed points in the throwing technique and a lack of touch.

Your friend should try to relax and throw [publish] more by touch than following some technical scheme. Just take it easy, and I know this is said easier than actually done. Losen his grip may help in release. He should forget about technique for a while and just try to throw [publish] with flow and fun. Once the feeling for a dart throw [sending an idea out into the world] is back he can get more technical again."
"2 - Did you ever try to imitate a player [writer] for more than curiosity or for a longer period?
4 - Did you play [write] rather fast or rather slow?"

"4) I would say I was a relatively fast player [writer] compared to other players [writers] in the league, but I had the problem of playing [writing] slower against a slow player [writer] and used to get bad results.

This is a typical rhythm problem. I also have problems against very slow players [writers], although I play [write] a bit slow myself.

Not necessarily a source for dartitis, because I feel that it should strike more often players [writers] on the slow side. However, this diagnosis can be a wrong.

But I see a connection between dartitis [not being able to output] and fast players [writers] using many fixed points.

The reason is that it is unlikely - when you rely on fixed points you might want to take yourself time to get them. If you then play [write] fast it is difficult to get them, and things can get out of control, with a disastrous effect. You can't get your fixed points and naturally become uncertain, which can get to the point you don't want to or can't release the dart [script or idea or blog post] because something is missing.

This might actually be an unconscious problem, and it is quite possible that the problem is made worse if you have developped fixed points you are unaware of. This can lead to the brain saying 'no' to release because it hasn't had the required fixed points, and this leaves yourself puzzled because you thought everything was okay. Now if you play [write] slower the chances are high you can get such unconscious fixed points easier and have less problems.

"Possible you are throwing [writing] differently in tournaments [publicly] than in practice [when freewriting in private], because you want to make things especially good in tournament [publicly], while you don't think much in practice and just let it flow. Maybe a subject of increased rigidness in tournament play [blogposting or script writing]?"

"...avoid getting rigid (some players [writers] tend to get rigid when they throw [write] slower). Again, learn visualizing and visualize the release phase. In addition a throwing [writing] exercise with a tennis ball [another idea] might help. Lay down on a bed or sofa and throw [write] a tennis ball [different idea] on the ceiling [another place] in a similar way you would throw a dart [write an idea] - with follow-through."

What helps?

Writing more freely - with fewer "fixed points".

One darts player noted "fixed points" on your body change over time, which throws your ability to throw.

Fixed points for a writer change with age too,
which I guess affects the ability to let ideas out into the world,
if you're writing how you think you should be writing...

Updated my "5 Ways To Bust Writer's Block and Procrastination"

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Another photo of my inner arm tattoo... it's arm tattoo wisdom #BritishDadStuff

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sacred and Profane... for comedy and drama with a twist...

"The pie" from the Oscar winning film, The Help.

Homemade cooking (Sacred)...
...and its "special ingredient". (Profane)

Every week, I try to add to my list of things which are Sacred and Profane

- link to full list (sacred) at the bottom (profane).

Clean page
Brain / The server
Your name
Blank canvas
Heart surgeons

Street bins/dog poop bins
Malfunction eg backfiring or itching

The big fat list of Sacred and Profanes is here

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Friday, 4 September 2015

More stuff that's Sacred and Profane... for coming up with new ideas for stuff...

Breaking Bad: about a chemistry teacher (Sacred) making drugs (Profane).

Or... "A terminally ill (Sacred)
chemistry (Sacred)
teacher (Sacred)
teams (Sacred)
with a former student (Sacred) manufacture (Profane)
crystal meth (Profane)
to ensure (Profane)
his family's future. (money = Profane)

I've not done one of these since June -- here are some more added to my list of Sacreds and Profanities...

The 3 women from the Blurred Lines video
Aid workers
Romantic verse
Children's hospital
Desert Island

The Man
Car Parts
Dismembered bodies

The big fat list of Sacred and Profanes is here

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100 Rainbows. Thats one hundred episodes of Rainbow, on youtube #BritishDadStuff

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

100 Rainbows. Thats one hundred episodes of Rainbow, on youtube #BritishDadStuff

Geoffrey, George, Bungle and Zippy... and Rod, Jane and Freddy.

This was the pre-school kids show I grew up with.

The theme, even the timing of that segue from the Thames ident into the theme is hard-wired in my brain.

It wasn't as edgy as Pipkins.
But it still had that un-BBC Thames tone to it.

Rainbow was to Play School as Magpie and CBTV Channel-14 were to Blue Peter.

And the archive owners have now put one hundred of them online, on youtube.

Here's a random one I tried out on the kids.

It was a few weeks ago, and I've still got that (slightly sinister) "We're clowns..." song in my head.

With Rod, Jane and Roger. I always remember preferring Rod, Jane and Freddy.
No disrespect to Roger, but the group's name obviously scanned better with Freddy.

All my #BritishDadStuff is here

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We've got no scripts! How the 1 o clock news almost stayed on the air in 1986

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

We've got no scripts! How the 1 o clock news almost stayed on the air in 1986

This is a chance to tell my BBC Newscaster Philip Hayton Story.

In a phenomenal act of generosity, he managed to help comedian John Gordillo and myself get The Recommeded Daily Allowance commissioned.

We bumped into him in the canteen at BBC Television Centre, late one evening when we were writing the proposal. Like a couple of fanboys we said hello and after a short chat he pretty much instantly agreed to walk-in to the middle of our pitch to Stuart Murphy at BBC Choice and ask John how the meeting was going.

He was cued to burst into the room by Shane Allen, (who's now Head of Comedy at the BBC) Shane told us afterwards that Philip was waiting in the corridor an incredibly long time and asked very politely if it would be much longer because he had a bulletin coming up.

Anyway, this is a recording of a behind-the-scenes control room talkback where the bulletin runs out of news.

"I've got no scripts Mike!"

"We're going to have to crash... we'll have to crash..."

Added this to my collection of control room talkback videos, right here

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My new inner arm tattoo... Hold the mayo. #BritishDadStuff

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