Saturday, August 18, 2007

Where I done went last week.

where I went


S'nice, innit?

Anyway, the young promising writers did very well. It's quite unnerving to see that there's already a generation gap re pitching: whereas I would have shuffled in and mumbled 'dunno, something about monsters?', they're quite happy to illustrate their pitches with slide shows, music, videoing their mates acting out little scenes, and in one case, making a cardboard dog.

One interesting thing is how, when developing their ideas, they all started with a big dramatic image, then struggled slightly to find the narrative to back it up - not all that surprising when you've grown up able to flick between a hundred different channels, YouTube, mobile phone clips and computer games. You quickly become utterly adept at picking and choosing visual styles, referencing different genres and knowing what soundtracks to back up your idea - with the downside that the realisation that you have to come up with a narrative that will sustain (say) eight hour-long episodes is a bit of a shock.

They all did it though, and at the end of the week presented their pitches to an Important Channel Controller, who looked increasingly taken aback, and then impressed as flipcharts/video montages/cardboard dogs were shoved in front of him.

It got even better though, when Important Channel Controller asked them what sort of things they thought their age group (nineteen to mid-twenties) wanted to see on television. Did they feel their own lives were sufficiently represented in television drama? Should shows become even more specific to their age group/social demographic/postcode? (he didn't say the last bit, but that seems to be where it's all going)

YPW's: We don't want to watch stuff that is marketed to us. We want to see the same shows our parents and younger siblings want to see, i.e. West Wing, Life On Mars, Arrested Development. We don't care where it's set, who the characters are or what the soundtrack is. We just want to watch Things That Are Good.

I was so proud I could shite.

13 comments:

Kirsten said...

Ooh yes, that is very nice, though at first it made me think that you'd all grouped together to write yet another Austen adaptation.

cello said...

What joy. I know I come from a world that likes to parcel people up into little packages, but TV people have taken to 'demographics' like a new religion.

We spend so much time trying to establish the things that differentiate groups and prise them apart when staring us in the face are the great fat interests and concerns that stick us all together - an appreciation of quality being one of them.

nursemyra said...

nice pic. do we get one of the cardboard dog as well?

chatterbox said...

My 15 year old sons love many of the same programmes that I do, although I haven't yet weaned them off Mythbusters, or got them interested in rom-coms, so it seems that demographic only matters when quality doesn't.

james henry said...

Yes, chasing falling ratings by constantly dividing up to go after smaller and smaller demographics can't end happily, surely? Another problem with this is producers being assigned to chase a specific group (say for example, people in their early thirties in relationships) and then getting writers in to fill the gaps. Hence the proliferation of Man Stroke Woman style shows a few years ago.

With drama series, the Beeb seem to be moving to fewer, bigger-budgeted series, which would seem a step in the right direction. As long as one of them's mine, obviously.

Boz said...

In one blog post I have lost all my guilt for liking The Good Life. Clearly it was not designed with my demographic in mind.

I can't help thinking Victoria Wood was ahead of her time when she did that sketch about BBC Upmarket and BBC Downmarket channels.

Jen said...

Are you in the picture, James? Because it looks to me as if you're hiding in that bottom right-hand bush. (Right in the middle, looks like someone's head poking out)

Either that or I'm seeing an image of Christ (Bless 'im) in that there hedge.

But, you know... you guys are interchangeable.

Jayne said...

*gets Jen a nice cup of tea and a wet flannel for forehead*

Anonymous said...

I'm a young writer. How come when I pitch something it's mumbled and contains at least 4 dunno's and more er's than you can shake a stick at? Right, today I begin work on a cardboard dog!

james henry said...

I'm not a)in the bush, or b) Christ.

Cardboard dogs are the future.

patroclus said...

Technically, you *are* in the Bush.

james henry said...

I'm still telling people it's Chiswick, for the reverse-reverse-snobbery.

llewtrah said...

Very nice but I bet it's a bugger doing the hoovering and mowing all that grass. Not to mention the weeding!