James Marson

Writer of Comedy Writings

Author: James (page 2 of 2)

Meet the Team

We’re a small but dedicated team here at Lazy Planet.

Meet them. Go on.

Editor’s note. Due to time constraints and some problems with the email this morning the team weren’t able to submit their own bios so I have done my best.  Our Founder, Brian did manage to send me the following:

Do I look like I give a monkey’s bollock? Can’t you do it?

Brian Smudge – Founder of Lazy Planet

Brian2

Nice hair. Brian May.

Brian has been working in blogging for all of five minutes now and already knows he’s destined for greatness. Frequently hungover for no explicable reason, Brian has various allergies that impede his ability to interact with keyboards. He once met Lionel Blair, who is not, as far as we can tell, aware of the interaction and has resisted all attempts to rekindle the relationship. Brian lives with his mother, and has two cats. Or possibly that’s the other way round.

 

Linaeus

IMG_0080

Arty.

Linaeus joins us from Sweden where he recently graduated from a degree in plasticine modelling. He likes girls, talking, wearing scarves, coffee, photography and being admired by strangers from afar. Pet hates include Tube passengers who put their feet on seats and the serial mis-management of nuclear waste. He has several pairs of identical trousers.

Bethan

kitten

I don’t think this is her.

Bethan is the only girl on the team but she hates it when people draw attention to it, almost as much as we hate it when she uses it as an excuse for not getting a round in. She likes reading, travelling and meeting new people. Recently Bethan took up knitting, complaining about the Great British Bake off on Twitter and sky diving. Bethan will be celebrating her eightieth birthday this May.

 

 

Dean

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 12.42.56

Where?

Dean likes music. Mainly his own, which he records with his mate Ropey Pete. They are going to have a band. That’s what he says. A band.

 

 

Sidney
image not2.pngSidney is the only member of the team to have served time for armed robbery. He likes respect, crisp shirts and to be brought nice things. He has had a tattoo a year since he was five, although it’s impossible to tell how old he is as ninety percent of these are on his inside thigh and no-one has ever ventured down there as far as we can tell. Sidney is very excited about the project and is particularly keen to understand when his expense account will come online.

Emily

Emily

WTF?

Emily is the only other girl on the team but don’t tell Bethan. Emily likes horses, partying and the lesser well-known poems of John Hegley. A recent graduate of the University of Durham, Emily is excited about adding new skills to her CV and progressing into a proper career in journalism as soon as it humanly possible.

 

 

Visit the Lazy Planet

Hello

Right I’ve been doing this:

Lazy Planet2

 

Check it out and the other sillinesses that have been going on at the Lazy Planet Guides…

Go on. Go on.

History of London – Lazy Planet

And now this.

Which is 100% accurate. Guaranteed*

The History of London by the Lazy Planet

map of london

*not guaranteed.

Look! new! office! – the Lazy Planets’ Back!

Hello! It’s been a while.

Well –  it looks like its been a bit quiet up here at The Lazy Planet towers (basement) but we’ve all been very busy, haven’t we Brian?

Do you mean lazy? I looked them up in the dictionary and “busy” is a very poor desciption of what we’ve been. Especially you. You wouldn’t know “busy” if it punched you, nicked your adress book, then emailed you and all your friends repeatedly to let you know what a lazy f**k you are. Don’t publish that obviously.

While we haven’t managed to secure new funding, Stanley did manage to find some cash he’d “forgotten about”  in our accounts. Plus our new office space has given us a new lease of life and is relatively cheap at 126 pounds a month as long as you remember to get off before Seven Sisters.

IMG_1825

Safety in the office is EVERYONE’s concern. The signs AREN”T THERE TO MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY.

Sadly a positive upturn in the real job market meant Linneus and Bethan had to leave us temporarily which meant there was no-one to get the tea in. And staff morale was at an all time low with Brian producing over three hundred posts consisting of the words “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy” which I think is from a film or something.. It is with great joy however that I am able to announce that Linneus was fired for inappropriate behaviour and Bethan simply wasn’t as good as she thought she was, so they’re back! Add to that our plan to outsource content from people even less well informed than ourselves and we think we’re on to a winner.

Our New Direction: (Which is actually the old direction. Confused? Yes we were when we were told about it at this morning’s meeting in the car park but we were also told all will become clear so that’s fine, isn’t it?)

With our new lease of life we intent to re-focus our efforts on what we set out to do – bring you the world without actually having to spend any money, or time or effort basically going there and after the phenomonenonominal success of our FOCUS ON LONDON strand we’ve decided to look further afield.

But we have to say we couldn’t do it without you our loyal reader.s

Finally a big thanks to everyone who’s written to us offering to increase our web traffic and bring hundreds more visitors to the site! We’ve been touched.

Before we post again make sure you check out some of our favourite posts which are listed on the site somewhere. [Don’t forget to add the links]

On with the show!

Who’s doing the next one? Can you get on with it please or this could just be embarrassing.

Some Thoughts on Writing

Don’t know how much use this’ll be, but I thought I’d start putting down (up?) my thoughts on the writing process.

Cards Banner

This is where ideas go. Before they go wrong.

Everyone has their own process. Mine changes all the time. This won’t be a “how to” but rather an amble through the various things I do to get from blank page to polished script.  Yes there are “rules” I follow. Rules get me over hurdles. Once I’m over the hurdle, I’m free to break them. But they’re also like the teacher that stands over you and says, “You’re doing it wrong”. Annoying, but the sooner you realise they’re right, the easier your life becomes.

As David Ogilvy famously said: “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”

So here we go, in no particular order, this is how I work…

Or at least how I’m working now…

How to Beat the Blank Page…

…Well, don’t have one in the first place.

No, not a trite answer, despite how it sounds. The trick is to always have ideas. Always let the ideas flow. They’re like butterflies and you have to catch them. And then you have to squeeze them into little boxes to make them look pretty to other people so they’ll go “Hey that’s pretty neat” and not recoil in horror at the half-crumpled dead insect you have in your hand.

Butterflies

It’s not cruel if they’re just in your head.

Okay, maybe I took that analogy too far.

Let me explain.

An idea for a show or a movie usually comes in two forms – an image or a “what if…” It comes out the blue, WHAM, and suddenly you feel like you have A GREAT IDEA FOR A MOVIE/TV SERIES. You SEE it in your head, or you imagine a situation – and your brain quickly extrapolates it out – you think “I want to see that movie!”.

That’s your butterfly. Catch it.

Because that is EXACTLY how you want people to feel when they read about your show in the paper or online. You want them to feel the way you did AT THAT MOMENT. Because at that moment it IS a great idea for a movie.

Basically in writing you start with a brilliant, perfect idea then stretch it into 30, 60 or 110 minutes without fucking it up.

But a great movie or TV show needs to do lots more than just be one great scene or image. A great script has to do lots, lots more. But, you need to catch your butterfly and WRITE it down.

Yes. Have a notepad with you. Or something like Evernote. Or iOS Notes. Capture what you thought.

Have a notebook. Yes it's an order.

Have a notebook. Yes it’s an order.

Now you need to fit in the presentation case, or if the dead butterfly with the pin in it analogy is upsetting you, you need to create a lepidopterarium, or butterfly house, and yes I did have to look that up.

I’ll talk more about that in the next post… but in the meantime, here are the key takeaways.

  • Carry a notebook with you
  • Learn to recognise story ideas
  • Learn to catch them in as few words as possible…

Back soon
photo credit: Pencil, books, and notepad via photopin (license)

photo credit: Specimen via photopin (license)

James’ Guide to the Enneagram Parts 1 & 2

Hello

I’ve produced a guide to how to use the Enneagram in your writing.

Part 1: About the Enneagram

The Enneagram – Part 1

 

And Part 2: How to Use it

The Enneagram – Part 2

Enjoy….

James

How Do I Know I’ve Got A Great Idea For a Show?

You don’t.

Here’s the truth: No-one does.

As brilliant screenwriter and guru William Goldman once said – “No-one in Hollywood knows anything”.

People think they do otherwise they wouldn’t spend millions of dollars/pounds/bitcoins making what they’re convinced is a hit movie or TV show. They just wouldn’t. Every penny invested in making a movie or TV show is done so because someone thinks it’s going to make them lots of money.

You’ll have realised that “making lots of money” isn’t the same as “being a great TV show”.  And there’s the problem. Unless you have an idea that someone thinks is going to make money, it isn’t going to get made. This is true of publishing, theatre or any other form of writing.

So if no-one knows anything, how do you give your brilliant idea the best chance of getting made?

Well, here is the curious dichotomy of the creative world. And it all comes down to the following:

Originality vs Forecast

I’ll unpack that statement.

One one side, audiences (and producers and commissioners) love originality. Who doesn’t? A new character we haven’t seen a million times before, a new setting, a glimpse into a world that we have no idea about, a new moral lesson about the world we live in now, a fresh perspective. We yearn for new experiences. The novel (as in new) is exciting! If you are going to write – YOU have to write. You have to write AS YOU. You have to write ABOUT THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT, about places YOU KNOW ABOUT. Your job is to come up with brilliant new ideas and stories from your imagination. NEVER FORGET THAT. This is yours.

On the other side, if someone is going to lay several million pounds on the table to make a TV Show or a movie then they better have some idea it’s going to work.

How can they possibly know that?

Well, this is where formula and forecasting come in. And here are the main rules:

  1. Things that were well received before, stand a good chance of being well received again. (hence Sequels and Franchises)
  2. Movies and TV Shows that follow certain formulas and tick certain boxes tend to result in higher audience satisfaction and therefore viewing figures/sales (more on this in later posts)
  3. Movies and TV shows that can be summed up in a single line that makes the listener or reader SEE that movie/show (and like it) are more likely to get eyeballs in front of it. (just as you felt when you had your idea).

And the rest is marketing. Stars are marketing. Big posters are marketing. Don’t worry about that now.

So suddenly your best chance of success is to be both amazingly ORIGINAL and DEEPLY PREDICTABLE. Or, if you prefer, RELIABLE…

How?

It starts with the idea. The idea needs to tick a few boxes to even get of the starting block. Here is what it needs to do:

  • Post itself in a GENRE
  • Have a great TITLE
  • Give a sense of CONFLICT
  • Have a sense of IRONY
  • Hint at the AUDIENCE

In one line.

How?

For this one, I’m going to turn to the experts…. You can read about it here.

Writing is simply starting with a brilliant, perfect idea then thrashing out 30/60/90 pages without fucking it up.

Newer posts

© 2018 James Marson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑