Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Reasons not to be a writer 4322:

The woman (UPDATE: actually 'woman' sounds a bit terse - how about 'nice lady with a very pleasant-sounding voice'?) at Channel 4 who deals with writer's payments is only in the office three days a week.

Harrumph.


Later this week I have a meeting with a Top Comedy Exec* to whom I have, erm, 'referred' in this very blog. I used to worry about execs reading this blog before they met me. Then I realised most of them haven't even read the scripts before they met me.**

Anyway, I decided that deleting any references to said exec on this blog would be an act of utmost cowardice. So I went ahead. But now I'm writing about it anyway! I might be insane.

Apparently he is terribly nice though. And extraordinarily handsome. Either way, I suspect we're going to end up playing...

Buzzword Bingo

A game for two players. Player 1 ('The Producer') faces Player 2 ('The Writer') across a large desk.

The Producer has in his hand a sheet of paper, on which is written a list of words, known as 'Buzzwords'. These words are changed each financial year. The Writer is not allowed to see these words, although the rules do allow him to memorize a number of Buzzwords from the previous game.

The Buzzwords for last year, for example, were: 'grotesque', 'dark', uncomfortable', 'surreal', 'single camera' and 'trag-com'.

The Writer suspects that Buzzwords this year are: 'family', 'warm', 'silly', 'multi-camera', 'bold' and 'trad-com', but without being able to see the Producer's piece of paper, he has no way of knowing.

The game begins when Producer offers the Writer a cup of coffee, or glass of water. The Writer turns this offer down, or, if he wants to use the Tortured Genius Gambit and asks for a glass of water and a neurofen, then the game begins.

The Writer must attempt to use as many current Buzzwords as possible in the time allotted for the meeting. Each time the Writer guesses a correct and current Buzzword the Producer will Lean Forward In An Interested Way. Each time the Writer accidentally uses one of the previous years Buzzwords, the Producer will Wince Uncomfortably.

If the writer manages to get five Buzzwords in a row, the Producer will jump up from his chair and shout 'House!' (nothing to do with Hugh Laurie). The Writer will be declared the winner, and must return to his base to await news from his agent.

Agent will then contact Producer. A new game, known as 'Contract Wrangling' will begin. This will go on for some time.




*Not that one, the other one.

** Celine from Pathe did both. Go Celine!


UPDATE: apparently Buzzword Bingo already exists as an actual teambuilding game. Dear god in heaven. Possible alternative names: Cliché Seesaw, The Shibboleth Shuffle, Wanker's Tennis.

84 comments:

Pashmina said...

Do you get extra points for anticipating next year's buzzwords, or is that generally frowned-upon?

Don't forget "studio audience" by the way. That's very 2006/07. Or are you in 2007/08 in commissioning terms? It's all terribly confusing.

james henry said...

Anticipating next year's buzzwords is totally frowned-on as being unsportsmanlike. When it's time to use to use them however, Exec Producers will not only use them with great enthusiasm, but also claim to have made them up in the first place.

Hmm, I'm sort of counting 'studio audience' under 'trad-com', but maybe I should give it a separate slot all of its own. And I'm working on 2007/2008 terms, but you can see the possibilities for confusion.

The good new is, if your idea is totally out of fashion this year, there's a good chance it will be fashionable in the next. Known as 'Filing Off The Serial Numbers', although there's a limited number of times you can get away with this.

james henry said...

Too many 'use them's. Annoying.

Steve Dix said...

Buzzword bingo is also played by web-development freelancers, when meeting a prospective client.

This year's "hot topics" are "xajax", "frameworks", "Ruby on Rails" and "code refactoring". Bonus points are scored for the client dropping any of these into the conversation in a way that proves they don't know what the F**k they're on about.

james henry said...

I don't know what 'Ruby on Rails' is, but it sounds great.

Squarah said...

Totally unrelated to Buzzword Bingo (although sounds like fun!)I just found this on TV Scoop... http://www.tvscoop.tv/2006/05/set_the_video_t_5.html#more
"Surely the people who make GW are nice and will put us out of our misery"....so much pressure on your shoulders!!

Nugglymammoo said...

You could always call his bluff and think of some Buzzwords of your own. How about inflammatory, contrapuntal, nascent, snorkel or even chamfer. If he doesn't use any of them, snatch the script from his desk, tell him you don't want to compromise your art for some one who is so obviously out of touch and stomp out of the office without a backward glance.

Rose said...

"The Shibboleth Shuffle" has made me shriek with glee for no other reason than Martin Sheen said it once in an episode of The West Wing.

Welcome to my mind, ladies and gentlemen...

Steve Dix said...

"Ruby On Rails", far from being a TV show where a loud American woman makes a documentary about railways, is just another programming language for the web.

It is, apparently, very quick to develop in. This shows that it is an immature technology. It needs a few more years of people tacking unnecessary stuff onto it to slow it down before it can be considered "Mature".

frangelita said...

There is a lot of this going on in the newspaper industry too. Buzzwords that are big this year include DPS, holistic footprint and "action" it.

Spinsterella said...

'family', 'warm', 'silly' and 'trad-com'...

Another series of My Family? Re-runs of The Cosby Show?

Marvellous.

Jennifer said...

James, you've just made my day, I now feel almost famous...

'woman at C4 rights'who only works 3 days a week is in fact my colleague Sarah,and I agree entirely with your frustration as I often deal with her messages, try and answer the query and usually have to say well she's back next week can she talk to you then? which never really makes anyone happy

now I have a moral dilemma, do I remind Sarah of the utmost urgency of sorting out the gw repeat payments or, in an act of childish revenge (caused by just seeing the final episode of gw and being very very angry!!) do I delete your message and delay payment as much as possible?! hmmm...choices

p.s in case my boss should read this (not that she would have a clue what a blog or in fact the internet is) I am, of course, entirely joking and moreover am highly dedicated and professional, and don't spend all working day reading some writer's blog on the internet

Anonymous said...

Tch, I knew 'ruby on rails' when it was plain old 'ruby'. Times move so fast.

Jennifer said...

Harrumph.

Have just found out that Sarah's already spoken to you.

Damn my comments seem entirely irevelent now.

Although she is very pleased to be mentioned (you better watch it she's gonna start demanding whole comments devoted to her soon)

james henry said...

Jennifer - blimey, I really should be more careful what I write. But then I knew that.

I had a nice chat with Sarah yesterday in fact, and it all seems to be going through okay. And technically the 'last' episode of GW goes around christmas, so as long as it comes through by then....

Still, tremble all, before THE MIGHTY POWER OF THE BOG!

I suggest healthy pay rises for anyone who works in the payments section at Channel 4. With a little note on the payslip saying 'all due to JH'. Just to get those residuals whizzing along...

james henry said...

So how many people are there for actor's payments? I'm picturing a team of at least thirty people, working six days a week, wearing special uniforms and stopping once a day to kiss a big picture of Steve Mangan.

Which is fair enough, obviously.

Jayne said...

Did you really mean to trumpet "THE MIGHTY POWER OF THE BOG"? Is there something loo related we should be aware of?

james henry said...

Oh for the power to edit comments.

Anonymous said...

I thought you could do ANYTHING - aren't you god here? Or are you just god-like?

Jayne said...

Or is that Bod like? Showing my age here, sigh.

Elfgirl said...

The Mighty Power of the Bog sounds to me like it could be some B movie about a bog monster. (Bog of the peat variety, not a loo.)

Piers said...

Wasn't that Ghoulies 2?

Anonymous said...

I quote:

or, in an act of childish revenge (caused by just seeing the final episode of gw and being very very angry!!)

Now don't tell me that means Mac and Mabel get together in the end. Nooooooooooo. Dont be so boring GW writers. Please say it ain't so.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you old cynic, fellow anonymouse. It's not boring, it's romantic and lovely. I hope they get it together very much indeed. :)

Anonymous said...

There is going to be some sort of cliffhanger though (lets hope not literally this time) so we all tune in, in 7 months, not that i wouldn't if everything was all wrapped up nicely.
7 months! What am i going to do?!

gw fan said...

"...and stopping once a day to kiss a big picture of Steve Mangan."

...wait! that's what i do!

no, i dont.

or do i?

Anonymous said...

Everyone should kiss Steve Mangan once a day. Infact GW writers there weren't enough Guy kisses in GW. Bad writers.

flossie said...

I had a dream last night that I was trying to get Mac and Caroline together. I think I need help.

Hodmandod said...

In many ways producers I think are like editors. The same complete lack of originality, the same inability to see the point of the Internet. I really shouldn't worry about your blog - only people in search of NEW ideas read blogs.

Hodmandod said...

Now I want to play, what about argent, crinkly, slobber, tango and throstle? or do you have to mention cameras, singly or in groups?

Aimee said...

I kissed Steve Mangan's face once. I'm proud enough of this to have the documented evidence as my user picture, if you'll just look to the right of my user name..

I have a burning question to put to you, Mr Henry. Well you and all other GW affiliates, but they arent here. Someone on the GW livejournal community has stated that the Basingstoke hospital used for filming some GW bits has already been booked for the filming of more GW episodes. According to her mother who apparently works there.
My question is simple: Is this person just one of many internet fantasists who enjoys setting fellow fans up for huge disappointment? Or is this "no series 3" business a pack of lies?

PS - Just so you know before you answer, I'd really prefer it if the answer was the latter and that series 3 is currently being filmed as some dirty great secret..

patroclus said...

I think (not that anyone asked me) that the mythical GW Series 3 will always be infinitely better inside people's heads than it ever would be as an actual TV series. I just hope it's not going to turn into some kind of chimaera that hangs around for years and years, like the mythical series 3 of Spaced.

Aimee said...

Well its one of those things, like picking a scab. You just know it wont ever work out for the best, yet you cant prevent yourself from doing so. In the case of the scab that would refer to picking it and in the case of GW, that would be hoping/praying/casting all manner of spells for series 3.

Aimee said...

Actually, that scab analogy didnt work out quite as well as I'd hoped. But you know what I meant by it. Hopefully.

Elfgirl said...

I think I do. So, if we think about it too much our minds will get sore and start to bleed? Or something.

love's child said...

So how many people are there for actor's payments? I'm picturing a team of at least thirty people, working six days a week, wearing special uniforms and stopping once a day to kiss a big picture of Steve Mangan.

Possibly there's one employee just there for the sole purpose of kissing a big picture of Steven Mangan. You never know.

Good luck with all games of Buzzword Bingo, or Cliché Seesaw or The Shibboleth Shuffle or Wanker's Tennis.

Squarah said...

I apologise in advance for this, but you, Mr Henry, have an awful lot to answer for!

HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!

Word to describe that episode: WRONG!!!

(Although really liked the camper-van off side off cliff thing! Very clever!)

That doesn't make up for the rest of it though, you mean, nasty man! (And the rest of the writers obviously but I have no means of whining to them so you can take the brunt of it!)

Jayne said...

Hah! Are you hiding from all the irate Mac fans right now?

Lucy said...

If he isn't, he probably should be!

Jennifer said...

I COMMEND you, Mr Henry and fellow writers on that wonderful episode.

I know what's going on. OH YES I DO. Sue's a NASTY BUGGERINO. Hilarious, what with the Lion King capers (THANK YOU!) but evil, deep down unsuppressed evil...

Too bad I'll have to wait in excess of half a year to prove myself right.

The helmetless scene murdered my soul.

Hazel said...

Ooh!! You, you frippin' bugger! My insides hurt now. How could you do this? You'd better start boarding up your windows m'lad!

Jennifer said...

It was an absolutely HILARIOUS episode though. Aside all the romancey deathy stuff; Sue's performance was inspired. The writing was inspired.

EVERYONE WAS BRILLIANT. You know, usually I'd watch a show and just think about how good the actors are, but since cyber-meeting you, James (almost) I'm really more drawn to the quality of writing.

Thank you Mister Henry for a fantastic series.

Live long and prosper. :-)

Elfgirl said...

Fantastic episode, absolutely perfect! (Up until the last five minutes, when it decided to rip out my heart. :'(

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?

cello said...

You can come out now James.

leonie said...

you are very, very irritating. yes, you!


walking out of smoke?????? i mean, honestly.

Sophie said...

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS???? I love Mac! Everyone loves Mac!!! *cries*

Jayne Parsons said...

I've been reading the C4 GW forum and I dunno about coming out of hiding - I'd leave it for a little while if I were you James. You might want to stock up on canned goods and invest in a disguise...

cello said...

Would I be right to think that the very, very sweet model train scene had something to do with you, renowned as you are for your unrequited romantic scenes involving miniature transportation?

james henry said...

I'm back from London now. Model train not mine - and hospital not booked for a correctly-described-as-mythical-GW3. As far as I know.

I like that that the announcer didn't say that there would be a christmas special. But there will be.

Off to have a look at the CZ forum now

*dons goggles and leather gauntlets*

gw fan said...

i heard somewhere (*cough*) that cast and crew got together to watch the last episode. last night i mean.
is that correct?

Rose said...

Safety in numbers, probably.

Reasons not to be a writer 4323: Rabid fans?

Jennifer said...

anonymous; what am I suggesting?

All I'm saying is that I'd kill to be that talented.

I'd also kill whoever had the idea to ruin Mac.

Richard said...

It was James! James Henry did it! Actually, I can't remember, but I don't think it was me.

Anonymous said...

Aww what id kill to be a fly on the wall last night at your little get together!

Sally said...

hello blue cat - I know you're going to hate this and you've probably had loads already, but ... why oh why did Caroline go off with Guy? Mack didn't let her down if it was Guy who sent the train !!?? Sorry but I just had to say that. On another note, the murder of the green dwarf with a stuffed heron was the funniest thing I have seen on telly in a long long time. Also, I loved the series, so thank you.

Sally said...

Me again, just bothered to read all the preceeding comments and so, yes, I guess you did quite a few. Mine was very polite really.

Jayne said...

Well, there is a thread titled "I am going to go shoot the writers" on there so I'd keep my head down if I were you. If you're not back by tomorrow we'll come and rescue you.

Elfgirl said...

Who else bought hula hoops today? I didn't. *coughs*

I have too many questions, none of which are going to be answered. This is very frustrating.

james henry said...

Oh, people are always threatening to kill me on the internet. I'm quite used to it.

*removes goggles and gauntlets*

Things to bear in mind:

1) The big gap until the feature-length christmas episode makes last nights look like an ending, rather than, as it actually was, 'episode 8 of 9'. I would prefer people didn't have to wait six months to find out how it all pans out*, but there we are.

2) Think not that we would casually break the hearts of committed GW fans. I mean, we do aim to break them. Just not casually.

3) That lion cub was a lot bigger than I was expecting.

4) Richard wrote the lollipop scene, which I loved. At least I think it was him. Maybe it was Stuart. Does anyone want this buck? I feel the need to pass it to someone...

5) Seriously, that lion cub was huge.



*Not that I really know how it all pans out. I mean I sort of know, but a lot changes twixt script and screen. Anyway, I'm sure Vic hasn't specifically set out to ruin everyone's christmas. There would at least have been a memo or something.

Jayne said...

It was a huge lion cub, but I just sort of assumed the boot stretcher worked, so no worries.

Elfgirl said...

One thing. What happened to Guy's tattoo? x_x

Richard said...

Re: lollipops; no, not me. I added the detail about the inappropriate box of celebratory balloons.

Anonymous said...

"Who else bought hula hoops today? I didn't. *coughs*"

I saw them in the vending machine and got all sad so avoiding making a total fool of myself and bursting into tears in my staff canteen i opted for Squares instead. :)

james henry said...

Ohhhhh... sorry, I thought it was the other way round. Did you write the afore-mentioned 'fresians' scene though? If not, I may have to hand in my 'Ability To Spot Scenes Richard Wrote' scouting badge.

Had the actual tattoo vanished by 8 then? There was probably half an hours worth of scenes about home-made laser tattoo removal or something on the cutting room floor. Or maybe being consistent about characters and events isn't one of the things GW is best at, and by that time bits of gears and springs were already metaphorically littering the office floor.

[/end snark]

Anonymous said...

Get the distinct impression that the writers have had a hard time of it today! But all is not lost, at the risk of sounding complete facetious, one of the team has a completely lovely, sexy voice (the one who talks about Karl having a lovely body and something else about not pinching a cigarette joke on one of the commentaries) and should branch out to doing VO’s immediately.

james henry said...

I think that too.

cello said...

Hey, nobody made us stay until our hearts got broken - in a totally non-casual way. We knew it was coming. We willed it to come. We could have got out of the way. We're just pathetic masochists.

But we still love you all and we know you won't fail us in the end. *crosses fingers*

Loved the lollipops by the way, and the balloons. And now I'm not all tense I've laughed at loads of stuff today. Alan's boxes are sublime.

liathe said...

Hi James, I haven't commented in here before, but I want to congratulate you and all of the writers for creating characters that we all care so passionately about, to the point of us being emotionally affected when things go badly for them.

On reflection, last night's episode was an emotional rollercoaster and you have played it brilliantly for maximum emotional impact. I'm just about to toddle off and catch the repeat and enjoy the humour and drama with the benefit of knowing what's to come!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you've got in store for us in the Christmas special, and I'm delighted to hear you say 'feature length' ... :)

Cowbag said...

Hi, I haven't posted here before either but the mention of "feature-length" has put a spring in my step too! Great blog btw :)

Kate said...

Buzzword bingo - gets you through meetings too dull for you to actually absorb their contents. Key words this year - global, rationalisation, interface, ethics and opportunity. As the word "bingo" rarely occurs in these meetings, the word "optimum" is used to inform other players that "bingo" has occurred. This is not teambuilding, but a form of employee subversion.

Have very much enjoyed both brilliant series. Currently concerned about Karen, Joanna, Harriet, Alan, Caroline and Martin as well as Gingernut, so am trusting (still) that the fate of all the characters will be resolved in the 9th episode.

Who is this Dave? said...

Well, by the time I managed to watch my video, the above had said it all.

Thank goodness there will be something good on the box at Christmas.


ps James, if you have time, you might enjoy the robot over at my place [yesterday].

Pickled Princess said...

Well this is the first time I have posted a comment on here, although I have been a lurker for some time (I'm not a cyber stalker....honest).

Just wanted to annoy you for a bit, Oh and tell you how worried I am about Martin. You know he reminds me an awful lot of my hubby.

Meh, I'm such a fangirl.

Richard said...

James, you can relax- the Friesian tattoo scene was mine.

leonie said...

i LOVE the frisian scene. one of the best ones ever. especially the repetition, "what is?"...

but i think i've said this before.

Hayley said...

Okay... I have a confession to make: I didn't have the time to watch the first series of Green Wing (I worked v.odd hours) and was eventually convinced how good it was by my sister who also bugged me into buying it on DVD. I'm now so glad I did and have loved it ever since!!
You guys have done such a great job and the last series had me laughing, cheering, "aaww - ing" and even at one point clapping (guy fan here)
upset about Mac but not enough to b threatening to kill you tho'.
This was supposed to be just to say Thanks for all the great work and even if GW 3 doesn't appear I appreciate the fun thats been had WooHoo!!!
C Ya H.

dizzi said...

I'm also jumping on the bandwagon and coming out of my lurking hiding place (which was very cosy it has to be said) just to say it was a great series but that last episode made me cry. Lots. Seriously I started crying from when Guy proposed right through to the end of the episode. You writers put me through emotional turmoil!

And that lion cub really was huge.

Elfgirl said...

Oops. Didn't mean to be picky when I mentioned the tattoo, I actually thought I'd missed something important. I think I read too much into things...

Searingidolatry said...

One thing I wondered whilst watching the ast episode, was the 'Clangers' bit yours?

james henry said...

I don't think that was mine - although for some reason I think the 'shark' bit was mine. It all blurs a bit on series two.

To those who asked: the sordid, gossipacious and sexually-charged events of the GW live screening thing will remain forever sealed, I'm afraid. However I think I aged about ten years.

Jennifer said...

Sexually-charged eh?

Interesting. So - Did Steve's ceremonial shaving of Julian ever occur?

Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker who's also going to jump on the bandwagon (I hope it's strong as there's quite a few of us on it now) and pop my little head out to thank you and the other writers for such a wonderful series. The fact that people feel so strongly about what happens to your characters is down to the life you and the actors have given them.

In the last episode I started crying at the Circle of Life (ok, I'm weird, but that song does it to me every time even when sung in a silly voice) and carried on for quite a while after the episode had finished. What can I say, I have no life!

I'm looking forward to the Christmas episode, but I have to say I'm one of the people who would be happy with many more seasons of GW.

Finally, that cub was BIG! and ceremonial shaving?

Anonymous said...

Amazing series and its been wonderful to see the slow build on Caroline and Guys relationship. Loved it.

Helen said...

Am jumping out of obscurity to say just how much I loved both series. I was sitting on my seat for the second half of episode 8 and boy was it great. The literal "cliffhanger" made me laugh so much! Poor Martin!

Just wondering if you know: will the final episode of this series ever be released on DVD? I ask since the DVD for series 2 is supposed to be released in October but the final episode is supposed to be shown at christmas. *is confused*

Anyway just to reiterate: Great show. Great episode. Am Looking forward to the last one and congrats on making us all care so much!

~*helen*~