Modern Life Is Goodish. The pace of the work is relentless (there were a couple of days last week when I had to work through the night in order to have things ready on time) but the end result has, so far, more than justified the means.
And, actually, I sort of enjoy working like that. Sort of.
One of the reasons the pace is so intense is that we record two shows in a night. We can do that because we're not following the usual TV practice of over-recording. We make two hour-long shows by filming for, um, about an hour. Twice. It's far more fun that way because the live audience gets to see a show, rather than feeling like props at the recording of some stuff that will one day be a show.
It also means that the series is nearly done and dusted. Two thirds of it is in the can, or at least, on a hard drive, already. We've just got one pair of shows to go.
I'll be fine tuning the material at the Court Theatre in Tring next week - June 5, 6 and 10 - come along if you fancy it - and then the final recording is at the show's glorious home, The Tabernacle (above) on June 11th.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I'm working on Modern Life Is Goodish - a new series for the lovely folks at Dave. The thing with telly-people is that they're normally control freaks. They want to know exactly what's going to happen and exactly what's going to be said... and I don't enjoy working like that.
I've never really written a script for any of my stage shows. There's never been any words typed out and I've never learned the words. When we made the DVD of Googlewhack, people - and by people, I mean lawyers - insisted on their being a script. At first they didn't believe me that there wasn't one. Eventually we solved the problem by pointing a video camera at the show one night and having some poor sod transcribe it. The transcript was full of errors, but they didn't seem to mind that. They had a script. It might have been wrong... but it existed and that's all they needed to enable them to do whatever they had to do.
I find performing to an audience far more helpful than sitting, staring at a blank screen. The phrase that comes to mind when you're trying to write isn't necessarily the same phrase that comes to mind when you're talking to an audience. And often the phrase that comes out in front of an audience is better than the one you would have written.
And that's what's lovely about working on this show. Nobody's insisting on endless meetings where we discuss the minutiae - they're allowing me to work the material up live, which is the way my head works best. I find that if I perform some material a few times I refine the content without really stopping to think about it. The good words start to stick in place and the not so good words get replaced slowly and it all coalesces. In a meeting you'd only be guessing - but on stage you know for sure.
So, on Thursday and Friday night last week I performed shows at the Firestation in Windsor. I thought about it over the weekend. Performed it again on Monday night in Fareham and then on Tuesday night we taped it at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. That's a six day bootcamp for the shows (I'm doing two shows each night - both of which will become an hour of TV) and it's both more fun and more productive than any amount of meetings. Exhausting. But very, very satisfying.
And now my job is to forget that material and move straight on to the next shows. So I'll repeat the pattern on May 23, 24 and 27th - but all of those will be at The Firestation Arts Centre in Windsor - before the next taping on the 28th and then again on June 5th, 6th and 10th at The Court Theatre, Tring before the final taping on the 11th.
I think the remaining Windsor shows are close to selling out although there are still a handful of tickets for those. And there are more available in Tring.