Archive

Monthly Archives: March 2016

WRX3

Photos of the WRX Public Read-Through kindly provided by Noted Festival.

The format of Writers Room X had two huge risks at the centre of it. Proving that the model in my head could work was entirely dependent on whether those risks would pay off. Thanks to the amazing group of writers that came together for the project I can soundly say that said model has legs (at least as long as you have amazing writers involved).

The first risk was the group-devised nature of the project. The classic TV-writers-room model that I was basing everything on traditionally hinges on one, maybe two people to devising the premise and vision for a show. I was asking my writers to do that part in the room together, eyeball to eyeball.

WRX1

The second risk was working around the individual work and life schedules of 6 independent writers. Our working week necessarily looked like this:

9.5 straight hours on a Sunday

Separate for three days to each write an episode draft

Reconvene for 3 four hour sessions over 3 days, in which every draft was reconciled with each other a taken to final edit as a group

Live public read-through on day 8

My hunch going in was that paying off both risks would come down to that huge long first day. We kicked off with several hours of framing- talking about all the thing that we loved about TV, as well as all the things that we haven’t seen in the medium and would like to. We set goals for what we wanted to achieve and spent time just getting to know each other. I’m pretty sure that time spent getting on the same page was what made the rest of the week go so smoothly.

And really, it went crazy smoothly. Sure, there was a fair chunk of staring at each other fearfully on the first day, but once we stopped trying so hard the premise and characters came quickly. The last big chunk of Sunday was spent beating out the plots for our 6-episode season (of 6 minutes episodes) and assigning each writer an episode. I was sure that our first drafts would be all over the map in terms of character and tone but when we read them through start to finish on the Thursday they were shockingly cohesive. The last three days were exactly my dream of what the format could be; a group of writers polishing and punching up the scripts as a group, everyone pulling in the same creative direction.

One of the great things about this format is reading a draft by a writer where you already know the plot and the beats that they’re working with, but being surprised and delighted by their execution. We did constant out-loud read-throughs of everything which meant these delightful surprises were experienced as a group right there in the moment. Unbelievably fun. Doing the final group pass on all the one-liner jokes was a highlight too.WRX4

So after 21 hours or group work and who-knows-how-much off-site solo writing, We completed Season One of Drunk White Friend, a sitcom by Writers Room X. We wrapped up the week with a live reading of the scripts at the Noted Festival publishing fair, and despite the variance in voice-acting experience among our group the reaction was great.

The next phase is moving toward production, watch this space for all the details. In the meantime colossal shout-outs to the other members of Writers Room X- Tasnim Hossain, Linda Chen, Khalid Warsame, Chiara Grassia and Emma ‘Make It Happen’ McManus! You guys are the bestestest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

WRX

Noted is Canberra’s independent festival of writing and writers. Nick Delatovic is a writer who likes to create insane challenges for himself. Put them together and you have Writers Room X, a week-long experiment in content creation/sanity destruction that begins this Sunday.

Like many folks I dream of being part of a professional TV writers room. Like many folks, I’m far removed from this scenario becoming reality. Unlike many folks I lack the maturity to accept my lot in life, so I convinced the producers of Noted to let me try and create my dream right here in Canberra.

I’ve selected a team of 5 writers (half from an open public callout, half from just approaching people I’ve been wanting to work with) plus myself. We haven’t all met in person yet, but from Sunday we’re going to be shut in a room together where we’ll write full scripts for a six-part web series from scratch. They’ll be a public reading of the scripts the following Sunday, whether we’re ready or not.

I have no doubt that we’ll succeed in completing the scripts. The question is, can we make themĀ good in just 7 days? I’m way too pretentious to just have a bit of fun with this, I want to create something that’s going to actually be shot and turn out well. I’ve got a killer batch of writers, so probably the whole thing hinges on how well I facilitate as the nominal ‘showrunner’. We’ll seeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Noted also have me curating an event called Binge Watch, a panel discussion in which clips from TV shows are screened and dissected on writing grounds. As you can imagine, I’ve been waaaaay overthinking the choice of clips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bomb Collar NZ 2

Here are some nicely blurry phone photos of my recent weekend in Wellington, where I performed two nights of Bomb Collar in the bar area of the Vogelmorn Bowling Club. VBC is the home of Barbarian Productions, a multidisciplinary troupe who’ve carved out an delightfully fruity arts hub within the leafy paradise that is suburban Wellington.

Bomb Collar NZ 3

Luckily the bowls club aesthetic is still strongly in evidence. It was fun to take the show back into ad hoc site-specific territory after the relative slickness of my Public Theatre season. I also got to debut some extensions to the ‘set’ in the form of portable lighting units created by Adam ‘My Light In The Darkness’ Thomas. I’ll go into more detail about those when I have some better photos, and maybe even get Adam to do a guest blog (that’s right Adam, I’m calling you out!)

I also got to do my alternate 20-minute time-travel-y version of the show as a late night Fringe Club slot. This version is a LOT looser and impro-y, all the better for rowdier late-night crowds, and my crowdwork skills have definitely improved somewhat. As in, they actually exist now. I couldn’t have achieved any of it without production costumer/co-star/emergency front of house and production assistant Adelaide Rief. Adelaide features in the show as battalion commander who introduces me to her troops (aka the audience) at the start of the show, a device that’s allowed me to effectively address so many of the expositional challenges inherent to a dystopian sci-fi cabaret musical.

My bowling club crowd was at least half made up of grandparents and grandchildren, not a crowd I would have thought to proactively court. It felt like a well-timed challenge to play to a less artsy demographic and the show seemed to play well. New Zealanders are so lovely that it’s hard to tell, but I think the 14-year old boys in the audience were vibing pretty hard on the sci-fi elements.

I’m toying with the idea of a Melbourne season next, I think I want to go extra-gritty with the location. Maybe a supermaket back dock.Bomb Collar NZ 1