One day down, seven to go. I think. But who’s counting?
I rocked up at Fox Studios smack bang on 9 o’clock this morning, after catching a bus with not one, but two Big Brother auditionees (apparently the BB auditions are happening at Fox Studios for the next few days). We chatted en route, until I stopped off. As they started to follow me in, I felt part cool and part wanker having to say “uh, sorry, this is the professional entrance…”
As I trundled on through the Fox back-lot, I had serious flashbacks to my time here during Tropnest, all the way back in 99 (for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Tropfest used to run a screenwriting program called Tropnest, which entailed spending 6 weeks writing in a cute little cottage right up the back of Fox Studios. It was very very cool of course; I used to walk past the Moulin Rouge set every single day) but since that time a LOT has changed! New sets, new buildings…but still that same sense of excitement of being a very small cog in the enormous filmmaking wheel.
Ian Simmons (The Glass House‘s Senior Writer) met me and gave me the grand tour of the Good News Week TV office – it’s up the back of a building full of other offices, with common essentials: you know, bathrooms, vending machines, cappucino maker. Aaah. The GNWTV office itself was quite large, rather funky (as expected) and colourful, with the walls being plastered with A1 pictures of Corinne, Dave & Wil (who, by the way, were not in today) plus special guests, not to mention old goodies from the Good News Week team. I haven’t even had a chance to check ’em all out yet. There’s also the enormous stash of newspapers and mags – i.e. the inspiration pile.
Ian sat me down then and went through the basics of writing for the show, i.e.
write exactly as you want it to be delivered (no abbrev. or bullet points) 😉
the shorter the better;
that said, don’t censor yourself as you’re writing.
He then went over the stuff we’d be working on for the day – the ‘summing up the year’ monologue for Wil, plus starting to source some focused stories of the week to write gags about. I was then introduced to the other guys on the writing team, Steve and the lovely Dave (who I met last year at TINA). We have our own writers’ office, three computers in a row all lined up together. Isn’t that quaint.
We all set to work going through the newspapers and mags and taking notes of possible stories. Ian came in at 10 for our first writers’ meeting of the week, wherein we all threw our ideas in the pot, made comments and spent the rest of the day continuing to write jokes and bits based on the stories that came up.
Of course, the typical writers’ neuroses came into play (from my end, anyway!)
Will I be able to write anything funny?
Will I be able to write ANYTHING?
And happily, the answer was yes. At least to the second bit. The first bit…well, I guess only time will tell. It’s amazing though – having the designated ‘job’ to write, with all of you in the same room, is very motivating. Even if most of my jokes don’t make it to the show (which obviously they won’t – we’re generating far too much material, the idea being that the more you write, the more chance you have of finding those bits of ‘gold’) then I’m going to walk away with quite a bit of new material for my stand-up!
They also operate on a trust system, in that you can leave whenever you feel that you’ve completely exhausted yourself writing-wise. “Some days it might be four o’clock, some days it might be two o’clock, and either is fine,” Ian told me.
At around 3.30, I printed out my three odd pages of gags, saved them to disk and handed them to Ian. Phew! Note that out of all those jokes, there’s probably only one that I feel really stoked with. But it’s a good place to start. And I’ve realised again how much I LOVE writing.
Tomorrow, it’s an early start – 8am we’re having a “headlines writing” session, followed by watching some video snippets. Or so I believe.
And then tomorrow night, my first Sydney comedy gig at Comedy On the Edge.