Thursday, December 04, 2008

'It's like doing a big poo'

If there's anyone who hasn't seen it yet, Episode Three of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is still available on iPlayer, including interviews with Russell T. Davies, Paul Abbot, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, Tony Jordan, and Graham Linehan. Fifty minutes long, and well worth it for anyone who's ever wondered about the ins and outs of writing for television. General consensus seems to be: procastination is fine, don't write scenes set on aircraft carriers if you can't afford them, and think twice before throwing David Mitchell into a freezing cold lake, but basically do it if you think it'll get a laugh.

21 comments:

realdoc said...

Loved the poo comment but it all seems rather tortured. It must be much worse for writers who, unlike RTD or Paul Abbot, have no idea if the thing will ever be made.

james henry said...

I'm arrogant enough to assume absolutely everything I do will be commissioned, despite a frankly appalling amount of evidence to the contrary. Rather like Wile Coyote continuing to run as he goes off the edge of a cliff.

Only with a new baby to support.

Salvadore Vincent said...

Tea, solitaire, tea, solitaire, tea, solitaire, shit it's 4 o'clock and I haven't got anything done...

For me, watching it was a bit like thinking you have an awful embarrassing disease for years, then suddenly realising "I'm normal". Well, ish.

Also reassuring to see that there were so many different approaches to creating and naming characters, plotting out in advance/not plotting out in advance etc.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Great programme, and dangerously reassuring on the procrastination front... but every time I saw Russell T Davies I couldn't help wondering, "Is he slowly turning into Jonathan Meades?" [only a little bit younger and cheerier, obviously].

Anonymous said...

I love Screenwipe because I'm just so bloody fascinated by TV production, and I've been really looking forward to this special. It was great! I especially liked RTD's final piece of advice.

james henry said...

'If you can't think of an actor, use a copy of Heat magazine and a pin'?

OH YES I WENT THERE.

Anonymous said...

Super episode...but are there really NO women writing telly he could've interviewed? Surely there's one, somewhere...can't think of any...someone please highlight someone I've forgotten about...and let's hope Miranda Hart's Joke Shop transfers to telly!
C

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it but agree that there was no excuse for not having a woman in there somewhere.

Miranda's Joke Shop has got a telly commission and it will be on next year. Also there's Sharon Horgan who co-wrote Pulling and also wrote Angelo's amongst other radio shows. Georgia Pritchard who writes loads of stuff. Victoria Pile. Jennifer Saunders. Dawn French. Catherine Tate. Myra Syal. Lucy Montgomery. He could have found a woman if he'd wanted too. Maybe he did but they were busy shopping.

Also since it wasn't just pure comedy writers there are loads of women who write drama, in fact women are all over the place in drama.

Having said that in response to post above and having thought the same i did really enjoy the show. Particularly the places they were interviewed. I'm in the Tony Jordan camp of not doing much all day.

PS Sorry for awful spelling of names. I'm a woman so i can't write. Or remember my blog log in, its me beardedlady - now found at sheandme.co.uk (its all confusing so i went with anonymous)

Anonymous said...

Also I forgot: Julia Davis (Nighty Night), Ruth Jones (Gavin and Stacey) and my other half Fay Rusling (other half as in writer not lover!)

Karen's Mouth said...

Super. I guess it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise but I was really struck by how it's pretty much EXACTLY like coming up with/writing research proposals. The anxieties and assumptions about other scientists (I'm sure they don't do 30 drafts before submitting, one day I'm sure to be found out etc etc) as well as the process itself. But without the dialogue. And if I wanted to throw David Mitchell into a freezing lake I'd need a bloody good reason, informed consent and approval from an overly sensitive ethics committee.

james henry said...

That's still less hassle than it was getting permission for Bob The Builder to use a chainsaw.

(admittedly it was ON THAT BLOODY SCARECROW, but still)

Yes, I suppose more women writers might have been nice. Female comedy writers tend to be writer/performers though, I suppose, which might have been a slightly different interview. Maybe. Perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon...I am very happy to feel stupid not having thought of those names by myself. Phew! There are women writers out there...just not worthy enough to interview?? Tsk.

Am thrilled the Joke Shop has been commissioned! Whoop!
C

Jayne said...

'If you can't think of an actor, use a copy of Heat magazine and a pin'?

OH YES I WENT THERE.


Surely you'd just end up with someone from Big Brother or the X Factor though? Think big next time and use Empire...

Steve Dix said...

Funnily enough, my sister described childbirth as "like doing the biggest, most consipated poo you've ever done".

Except a poo doesn't follow you round for the next 20 years begging money off you...

spacemonkey said...

It was like therapy. In both a good way and a bad way. I was literally rolling around the floor in agony/ecstasy to know I wasn't alone in the craziness.

@ realdoc: - exactly! These are the people who get PAID MONEY TO DO IT, and they are STILL mental and suffering and with bad hair!

PS. Apologies for my no-show to the Giant Meet Up. I actually texted with my sorry excuses, only to find the next day that I actually have another "James H" in my phone, who had no idea who I was or what I was talking about.

Mys-ter-i-ous.

Anonymous said...

Meh, I'm a writer-female, and I didn't even notice that Brooker used no writer-females in that. I was too busy being distracted by some of my writing heros, all of whom are men (apart from Julia Davis... and Victoria Pile). I wouldn't be interested in hearing from a woman JUST because she's female.

Anonymous said...

Neither would I but if he was only interviewing women it would be billed as a show about women writers. When it's all men they are just called writers with no referance to gender. They are just known as writers.

Sylvia said...

as a big fan of comedy, and enjoying it all, I am curious as to why over half the population is so unrepresented on all media. We can't all be rubbish. Do I have to start my own channel to get more women on? I'm thinking of calling it Karen. Are Jo Brand and Ronni Ancona the only females they can get on QI? HIGNFY has seriously blotted its copybook with regard to females - remember the Paula Yates debacle, anyone? I'm not surprised they can't get women on - although I thought Miranda Hart was fantastic last week. Even Sandi Toksvig seems to have given up on encouraging women on NQ - I noticed that not many appeared on the last series.
I actually heard Simon Hoggart say, to a room full of women, that women just weren't interested in politics which is why very few ever appeared on NQ. I left it to the more steely eyed in the audience to tackle him about that one afterwards....
And don't get me started on the Now show, which I think is fantastic (BIG fan of the Brigstock), but at times comes over as some public school review at the end of term.
Anyway, poor James' blog hijacked enough now.... it's not Greenham Common, you know!

james henry said...

Hijack away, I think it's a really interesting topic.

Anonymous said...

well its a difficult one. generally i think boys and girls are equally good. if only they were treated that way. i once wrote on a show for a woman comic where the male writers were being paid more than the women writers. it was only thanks to a lovely male writer on it that we found out and refused to do the job unless we got the same. it happens more than you think. lke Wimbledon. over and out x

Newf said...

(*Is the "Meh, I'm a writer-female" anonymous person*)

@Sylvia: I've always ranted about this to my uninterested friends. In comedy especially, male seems to be the default gender. This is one of many similar examples, but I remember going to a Dylan Moran (who, for the record, I adore) gig once and him saying to the audience "then you go home to your wife or girlfriend"... so every woman in his audience is gay, apparently.

My mum's advice to me has always been to send my sketches and pilots off to FEMALE producers. But is solidarity and bias amongst female comedians a good way to tackle the gender imbalance, or is it just as bad as other discrimination?

Re: "if he was only interviewing women it would be billed as a show about women writers" - Dawn French's "Girls Who Do Comedy" springs to mind.

I realise I'm getting carried away with rambling, by the way, but re: James: "female comedy writers tend to be writer/performers"... why is that?