Writing With Silvia Hartmann
Specialisation, Serialisation & Intensification Leads To ...
... More Money
Yesterday, I was in a restaurant which overlooked a beleaguered petrol
station. Currently there's a "don't panic buy!" panic buying crisis on
There was police and the store's own security guards battling the
streams of cars trying to get in but the petrol station was out of
petrol now, so they cordoned the whole thing off and no more cars were allowed
onto the forecourt.
As I was getting towards pudding in my meal, the last car was filling
up - a silver estate belonging to an elderly gentleman.
I thought that if I was a reporter, here would be a perfect opportunity
for a really cool report. We would shoot the madness out on the road as
these hundreds of cars are being turned around and send away by the police, and
then zoom in on the silver car and the old gentleman, the last car at
the many, many pumps, all empty now, and I would go and speak to him and
ask him how long he'd waited and how he felt about being the lucky last.
Then we would film him driving out with the policemen lifting the cones
out of the way for him, and the last pan would be this deserted petrol
station with all the empty pumps.
It occurred to me that it would be good to have a tumbleweed in the boot
of my reporter's car, just in case you needed one, for that extra award
winning effect, you know.
You'd have to go to the car and open it up, and there'd be this
collection of props inside - a slightly burned flag, a kid's shoe, a
bedraggled teddy bear, you know the kind of thing. And of course, the
essential tumble weed!
I then started thinking about a whole series of comedy sketches
revolving around this reporter with these and much madder props (such as
a tear streaked ragged child, a Russian nuclear missile, an old lady in a wheelchair etc) and here
we come to the point of this story.
A stand up comic works his butt off for a beer, five quid and even if he has
a really good joke, it is over in 1 minute. Then he has to go and find
the next one. What stress!
Thus it is with many things, including internet articles and even
writing books and courses.
But there *is* another way.
If you take your single joke (the reporter who has a tumbleweed in his
car, just in case), apply it onto many different situations and change
the props, you get to tell THE EXACT SAME JOKE a dozen times or more -
for then, you have a COMEDY SHOW.
Indeed, that is how comedy shows work - a single joke gets simply put
into different hats and coats and so you can fill HOURS of "quality
entertainment" with three basic jokes, week in, week out.
Check it out - all comedy programmes work like that.
This is the secret of making a short, one-time something into a much more
extensive and EXPENSIVE serialised something.
This is also not a bad thing, please understand.
I think the tumbleweed is seriously funny and I will *look forward* to
seeing that mad reporter, every week. He'll be a highlight of that show
It also gives one a chance to expand on the topic, be much more
informed, really get into it and go deeper, become more involved, more
familiar, more expansive.
You get to work all the different angles as the reporter highlights
various social and societal problems, week in, week out ...
So, and using the same principle, how can you turn your "1 minute jokes"
that earn you a beer into something akin to Monty Python's Flying
Circus, that runs for 35 years and makes you a millionaire as well as
beloved by all (and possibly a cultural icon!)?
What idea might you have that can become an article (like this one!), and then a
series of articles, which makes a book, and then a series of books, which makes
a certification training ... or a TV series ...
Just have a think.
This is absolutely applicable as a full on reality principle
wide, wide range of occurrences.