Monday, 29 December 2008

Another new project

The James Bond screenplay is on hold this week while I write a radio sitcom. I've set myself a target of four pages a day -- and each page has to have at least four jokes on it.

Luckily the jokes don't have to be any good as it's only for radio, which is rubbish and not a proper medium.

(If you happen to be a radio producer and you're reading this, I'm not serious. Radio is an excellent medium - probably the best of all the mediums - and, if anything, jokes on the radio have to be much better than ones on the telly because there are no good looking people to distract you from them if they're crap. I love the radio. It is ace.)

Writing for radio is quite a bit more difficult than writing for visual media (see, I do really know the plural of medium), because you can't use stage directions such as "THEN THERE IS A FUNNY PICTURE THAT MAKES THE AUDIENCE LAUGH" -- the dialogue has to do all the work. You can't really use long pauses either, in case people think there's something wrong with the signal. All this means that you have to do a lot more work than you do when writing a cartoon. I was a fool to even begin.

5 comments:

Jeremiah said...

Not trying to be too critical here, but I think all this writing business sort of goes against the spirit of radio and audio media. You're...you're just not getting this, Mike.

(Sorry, someone had to say it.)

organicprankster said...

I don't want to be offensive here, but your momma's a big, fat, back-door tramp.

Sorry. But I just realised how useful these little pre-emptive qualifications could be.

"Look, I don't want to start World War III or anything, but I have just begun a ground invasion of mainland China."

With my new-found appreciation of politesse I may even make a rare visit to YouTube. "Not trying to be too critical here, but your video is gay, so you must also be gay..."

...And fade to black...

Mike said...

Isn't it just another form of "I'm not but racist, but..."?

Which was the theme of a great video I found through B3ta just before Christmas. It was a guy going into shops saying "I'm not being racist, but have you got any lemsip?" and "I'm not being racist, but do you know the way to Camden?"

It confused the hell out of people, and one bloke seemed quite annoyed.

Can't remember the link though.

Dan said...

Yes Jeremiah,I'm no expert but ... in fact I heard there were no writers in radio at all. The actors just made it up as they went along with a director occasionally whispering dialog in their ears (because they wouldn't dare even write a note to pass to them on air). Those sheaves of paper sometimes visible in the players hands shown in still photographs that survive the era were not as one might expect scripts but used only to fan themselves as the studios were quite warm in those days owing to the acres of electrical apparatus required for that medium. The fact that the players always seem to be gazing down at their fans has never been fully explained by historians and anthropologists of that era. Some have suggested they had images akin to those on french playing cards or Rorschach images that helped the players concentrate as they made up their lines on the fly. Careful Mike this job offer of writing for radio may be a clever ruse to lure you into a dark ally to be knocked upside the head and sold into a far away flesh market or worse.

Mike said...

Job offer? Nope. I'm writing on spec, as usual.

I realised another good thing about radio though - you can set your story wherever your imagination desires, and you don't have to worry about budget! There are simply no boundaries - spaceships, underwater palaces, psychedelic meta-dimensions; you're totally unfettered by economic reality.

My story is set in a small English town.